Attendance Review: 2015 Tampa Bay Rays

Welcome to our first attendance review of 2015 and our ninth annual attendance review of the Tampa Bay Rays. Today we will look at the home attendance of the 2015 Tampa Bay Rays.

Total attendance: 1,247,668 (down 198,797 tickets sold (13.74%) from 2013: 1,446,465)

Per Game Average: 15,403 (down 2,454 fans per game from 2014: 17,857)

Highest attended games: 2 x 31,042 (Opening Day 4/6 vs BAL, 8/8 vs NYM.)

Lowest attended game: 8,701 on Thurs, May 7th vs TEX.

Lowest point of average attendance: June 23, Game 37 (Avg attendance: 14,141)

Average Time of Game: 2 hours, 56 minutes


(red shading = below annual average of 15,403)


2015 Rays total attendance

By Month:

2015 Rays attendance per month chart

Because the Rays played four games in October, I created a line for Sept/October. July was the Rays best month and May was the worst. Click here for a breakdown of July attendance and here for a breakdown of May. May was the worst attended month since 2005.

The following graph depicts the average attendance by month.

2015 Rays attendance per month graph

By Day of the Week:

2015 Rays attendance per day chart

Following typical trends, the Rays drew poorly during the week and better on weekends. Monday’s average attendance was aided by the Opening Day sellout. Rays attendance increased 30% on the weekends compared to their average Monday through Thursday attendance.

  • Mon-Thurs average attendance: 12,688
  • Sat-Sun average attendance: 18,328
  • Increase: 30.7%

The following graph depicts the average attendance by day.

2015 Rays attendance per day graph

The following chart shows how often each day outdrew the day before.

2015 Rays attendance per day up percentage

As to be expected, no Monday game outdrew a prior Sunday. Although 38% of Sunday games outdrew the Saturday before it, every Saturday game outdrew the Friday game played the day prior. Half of Wednesday games had higher attendance than Tuesdays and 55% of Thursday had higher attendance than Wednesdays. Only 62% of Fridays outdrew Thursdays.

By Opponent:

2015 Rays attendance per opponent

The biggest surprise of the 2015 season was how poorly games versus the Yankees were attended. I covered this a few months ago, but attendance versus the Yankees was 44% lower than it was in 2014. In total 120,742 fewer tickets were sold to games versus the Yankees at Tropicana Field. That total is 61% of the Rays total 2015 decrease.

The highest drawing opponent of the year was the other New York team, the Mets. As I predicted in March, the attraction of seeing their team drew many New York transplants to Tropicana Field. Add in the Mets place in the standings, and it is no surprise the series drew well.

By Starting Pitcher:

2015 Rays starting pitcher

Despite all the injuries to their starting rotation, only 8 Rays pitchers started home games in 2015. The Rays drew best for Matt Andriese’s starts, although Chris Archer was not far behind with three times as many starts.

As I mentioned in a previous post, we have to be careful with saying Archer was the draw. He also pitched in three games that preceded post-game concerts.

On the other side of the spectrum, games Drew Smyly pitched drew the least amount of fans.

Our next chart depicts how attendance reacted from one starter to the next. If a pitcher is a great draw, the percentage between he and the prior starter should be higher.

2015 Rays starting pitcher up perct

Once again, games started by Matt Andriese led the way, outdrawing previous games in 4 of his 5 starts. Chris Archer games outdrew the game before 8 of 16 times, with Archer also pitching Opening Day.

By Promotion:

2015 Rays attendance per promotion

Although “First Friday” is not a Rays promotion, it is a nighttime block party hosted by the City of St. Petersburg several blocks away from Tropicana Field. We include it here because the two events could either aid or detract from each other.

As we see on the chart, Camp Day, Bobbleheads, and Alumni promotions did very well. Each promotion outdrew the day before. That’s what promotions are supposed to do, provide incentive for fans to come to the ballpark. They should outdraw games without promotions.

Alumni days were promotions catering to alumni of University of South Florida, Florida State University, and University of Florida. These promotions usually involved a giveaway for fans who bought a special promotions-based ticket. Among the three universities, the University of Florida promotion drew the most fans.

  • UF Saturday Night: 31,042
  • USF Saturday Night: 24,327
  • FSU Sunday Day: 18,613

However, UF Night coincided with the Mets and their visiting fans and USF Night coincided with a Kasey Musgraves concert.

Day Game / Night Game Splits:

2015 Rays attendance day night wkend wkday

As shown, the Rays drew better on weekends than weekdays. Among weekday games, day weekday games outdrew night weekday games by over 9,000 fans per game (possibly aided by the Camp Day promotions).

On the other hand, night weekend games outdrew day weekend games by 3,500 fans per game. As the Rays didn’t play any Sunday night games, we can fairly say that Saturday was the most attended day/time of the week for Rays fans.

Overall, in their 41 home wins, the Rays drew 15,369 fans per game. In their 40 home losses, they drew 15,438 per game.

And although wins and attendance are not correlated at all, here is how the Rays performed at various levels of attendance.

2015 Rays attendance w_l

We will have further breakdowns of these attendance numbers and how they relate to long-term trends in upcoming posts.

(For analysis of the Rays 2014 attendance, click here. For analysis of the 2013 Rays attendance, click here. For a look at the 2012 Rays attendance, click here. For a look at the 2011 Rays attendance, click here. For a look at the 2010 Rays attendance, click here. For a look at the 2009 Rays attendance, click here. For a look at the 2008 Rays attendance, click here. For a look at the 2007 Devil Rays attendance, click here.)

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