Field of Schemes
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May 09, 2011

Rays in first place, nobody there to notice

Tampa Bay Rays attendance is still dropping like a rock (down 6,811 fans per game through yesterday), and Noah Pransky's Shadow of the Stadium blog has some theories why:

All good theories, with much overlap with the similar list proposed for why the New York Yankees (down 3,418 per game) aren't selling tickets this year. (Though at least no one in Tampa Bay is proposing lousy weather as an excuse, given the Rays play in a dome.) I'd add in the fact that the Rays ditched many of their highest-profile players last winter — Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena, and so on — which probably dampened enthusiasm among fans, even if doesn't seem to have hurt them much on the field. And then there's also those 65% price hikes for some seats that the team instituted last season, though they did lower some other prices as well. Still, not exactly the kind of thing that's likely to give your fan base the warm fuzzies at ticket renewal time.

In any case, Pransky indicates that hope might be on the way: "they can expect a significant boost in their next homestand when Darius Rucker kicks off their summer concert series on Saturday night." Now there's a marketing slogan: Come for Hootie, stay for the baseball!


I think it's partly due to the fact that Sternberg has alienated some fans. People are probably curious as to why it's okay for him to not have "enough money" to build the stadium or hold on to certain players (especially during these economic times), but yet everyone else (the public) is supposed to have enough money to build him a new stadium and spend money on attending sporting events.

Posted by Ben on May 9, 2011 11:18 AM

One more thing, I think people may also have lost trust and faith in Sternberg because of his insistence on the fact that a new stadium is needed so that the team can "compete." Oddly enough, the Rays have won the division two out of the last three years, all the while playing in the "Dome."

Posted by Ben on May 9, 2011 11:23 AM

Attendance is a problem for the Rays because of the economy and the fact that almost all of their games are televised. Summer concerts and the return of Red Sox and Yankee teams will increase attendance figures so my guess is attendance figures will balance out to numbers similar to the past few years by seasons end.

One more thing... the Darius Rucker concert isn't the first post-game show of the season. REO Speedwagon kicked off the concert series.

Posted by Jeff on May 9, 2011 07:16 PM

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