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Can Tampa Bay support the Rays?

Nov 26, 2010, 2:34 PM EDT

Image (1) Tropicana%20Field.jpg for post 3560

The Tampa Tribune commissioned a study to determine whether the Rays attendance problem (i.e. they win and people still don’t show) is fixable.  There isn’t an ultimate conclusion — like so many things the journey is better than the destination — but the upshot is that it’s not just a function of the economy or the team winning.  Winning, the study founds, is the strongest predictor of attendance, but very, very close is the population within a thirty-minute drive of the ballpark, which is a category in which the Rays are dead last in all of baseball.

Makes sense to me. I love baseball more than most folks, but I don’t know that I’d want to travel an hour each way to the ballpark 81 times a year, and that’s what you’re asking season ticket holders to do.

  1. Robert - Nov 26, 2010 at 3:30 PM

    Las Vegas Rays sounds good……Las Vegas is full od sunshine.

    The Yankee and Red Sox fans on the West Coast and in the Desert will pack the venue.

    Bring em to Vegas…

  2. aious - Nov 26, 2010 at 4:03 PM

    MLB should move the team to a city that appreciates them

    They have had a GREAT team, GREAT minor league system, and a great future yet their fans absolutely have no interest in their team

  3. ta192 - Nov 26, 2010 at 4:11 PM

    This is not a function of regional population, but rather a matter of the relative isolation of the stadium from that population. Things could probably be fixed by a new stadium on the east/Tampa side of the bay. That option doesn’t look so good in these economic times, but a new Repugnican governor and both legislative houses dominated by the same party COULD produce a you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours type of stadium deal for the Florida fat cats under the guise of economic stimulus for the region. Stranger things have happened…

    • Old Gator - Nov 26, 2010 at 4:57 PM

      Not in Macondo, they haven’t.

      YeeeehahahahahHOOOOOOhahahahahHEEEEheheheheheNyuknuknyuk,,,,,

      But there’s another dimension to this, namely, that pulling up to that repulsive gunite wart of a stadium when you’re looking forward to a ballgame on a beautiful afternoon is a lot like waking up on a sunshiney morning with the dust motes dancing in the shafts of sunlight filtering through your diaphanous curtains, birdsong in the garden and the smell of hot fresh coffee wafting in from the kitchen…and then looking to your right and finding Jan Brewer asleep beside you. It doesn’t matter where you put that building. People will find someplace prettier to go.

  4. professortwain - Nov 26, 2010 at 4:21 PM

    The Rays are on the rise… they have had a steep increase in attendance, and have the fifth best TV ratings in all of MLB. You can’t expect a team that has only had three winning seasons in their history to immediately bounce up into the top half of MLB attendance. See the following for more information, that is if you care about the facts.

    http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/twocents/content/rays-tv-ratings-fifth-highest-majors

    http://www.9equals8.com/2008/08/understanding-attendance-tampa-bay-rays.html

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/386188-in-rays-case-42-is-an-a

    It’s not an easy matter for an area populated mainly by transplants from other parts of the country to develop a loyal fan base, but it is happening. It used to be that Yankee and Red Sox fans outnumbered Rays fans when we played them but those days are long gone.

  5. Walk - Nov 26, 2010 at 4:55 PM

    Tampa bay has managed to have a successful team despite low revenue from fan turnout. Thats pretty amazing tome, well done folks. To me that seems to scream of great management from the front office down through on field management. Over the last year or so i have seen plans for a new stadium, location, and even blueprints on hbt. Did it fall through? Small admission on my part but i only watch the rays on local sports network but it is extremely depressing to me to see the camera pan around and the park is almost empty. My father was watching with me one night and said its not as bad as i thought. Why i reply and promptly told we could go see a game buy some nosebleed seats and then sit pretty close to home plate.

  6. simon94022 - Nov 26, 2010 at 11:38 PM

    Granting St Pete an MLB franchise was insanity. If Selig had held off from the poorly planned expansion in late 90s, eventually the A’s could have moved to Phoenix, and MLB wouldn’t have any chronically ill franchises.

    But they’ve got to make it work now, because there are literally no alternatives. Vegas has zero ability to support a major league team — it’s tiny by major league standards and surrounded by miles of empty desert. And it has probably the least recession proof economy around. The few US markets that pass the laugh test — Portland, Memphis, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento are small, politically unable to build a stadium, and part of another team’s TV market so that an Angelos style payoff would be required. So the Rays will have to build a viable facility in Western Florida, just as the A’s will in Northern California. There’s just no way out.

    • gogigantos - Nov 27, 2010 at 9:57 AM

      an unwarranted expansion led to a schedule mess and
      teams changing leagues, was willy nilly or bought and paid for??
      absolutely true, nowhere else for the A’s to go
      a wild card added, and soon another??
      the laugh test is that there was never a plan beyond tomorrow for anything, sounds like a Bush White House,, does anybody in the front office think an idea through before it becomes a problem,, or solve a problem without making more,,,,

  7. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Nov 27, 2010 at 9:25 AM

    You forgot to mention that after one hour drive, you get to watch the Rays in the dirtest, worst stadium in US professional baseball, not just MLB. The concessions are not for those with delicate immune systems.

    • Old Gator - Nov 27, 2010 at 11:44 AM

      I’ve been saying that on here for a couple of years now. See above, for example.

      And you forgot ugliest.

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