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May 09, 2011
Rays in first place, nobody there to notice
- The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox haven't come to town yet.
- Fans would rather watch on TV.
- The Tampa Bay Lightning are in the playoffs.
- People are mad at Rays owner Stuart Sternberg for threatening to move the team after he promised he wouldn't.
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!