Yesterday, the Tampa Bay Rays visited Clearwater to play the Phillies in a St Patrick’s day matinee at Bright House Field. In attendance were 11,222 fans – a new Spring Training record for Bright House Field. The facility’s previous record was 10,724 set on March 22, 2010 in a 2009 World Series rematch between the Phillies and the Yankees.
The Clearwater Threshers regular season record attendance is 9,966, set on July 3, 2015.
Last year, the Rays also visited the Phillies on St Patrick’s Day. That game drew 9,572, 1,650 fewer fans than 2016. The Phillies average spring training attendance last year was 7,967, 1,605 fewer than their St. Patrick’s Day attendance.
Through 3/17, the Phillies Spring Training average attendance was 7,931.
We can expect Phillies Spring Training games against the Rays to draw better than games against almost any other team, as the Rays’ regular season fan base is in Clearwater and the surrounding Tampa Bay metro area. Rays fans, like other fans, are eager to see baseball, and will spend their money to root on their favorite team, even if they are the road team.
It’s good to have some positive attendance news coming out of the Tampa Bay baseball market. Not surprised the news involves Clearwater, where the single game record was broken in 2015 and the team finished second in all-time Florida State League attendance in 2014.