Way back in February, I wrote an article on Fangraphs that looked for correlation between high weekday/weekend attendance splits and population within 30-minutes of Major League Baseball stadiums.
Although many people had stated it before, by emphasizing weekdays versus weekends, my blog post pushed the importance of the 30-minute population to a new level.
Using this theory, friend of the blog Jacob Rosen, part-time Indians attendance analyst, writer at WFNY.com, and sports business guru, looked at 30-min driving population surrounding a few of the bigger market AAA teams. In order to find this population information, he used freemaptools.com. Jacob sent me this information, and I added some metro population data via wikipedia and calculated the percentage of population within 30 minutes.
(Note: Durham radius includes Raleigh, North Carolina as well. Buffalo’s 30 mile radius includes Niagara Falls and several other suburbs.)
Unfortunately, breaking down Minor League Baseball attendance is far more difficult than dissecting Major League attendance. There is no Baseball-Reference.com schedule and results page for the Minor Leagues. So looking at weekend/weekday splits for the above teams would be difficult and a lot of research.
That said, this data shows us something very interesting. Even without looking at attendance, we can see Tropicana Field is in a worse location in regards to local population than several Minor League Ballparks. So when those teams have well-attended promotions and outdraw the Rays on a weekday, there is a decent reason.
It might also be worse torturous study to see if there are any other stadiums in worse locations population-wise as Tropicana Field.
Also, absent location, and not saying it is geographically possible, but if a Rays stadium was located with the average 30-minute population of the above listed cities, 94% of Tampa Bay would be within 30 minutes of the Rays. That would be 2.5 million people.The Major League average is 1.9 million.
The only other cities with 2.5 million or more potential fans within 30-minutes of their stadium:
- White Sox
If fans don’t buy tickets to those teams, there are usually other reasons involved, such as performance or opponent.