Before the first round of the NHL playoffs began, the Tampa Bay Lightning issued two unusual policies. According to the Tampa Tribune, the Lightning restricted ticket sales to Florida residents and also told those who purchase tickets that those wearing opposing team logos would not be allowed in certain areas of Amalie Arena.
The new rules caused quite a tiff in Detroit, home city of the Lightning’s first round opponent.
From the Lightning’s perspective, the policy makes sense. They want to ensure their fanbase, the fanbase that supported them the entire season, gets priority for playoff tickets. With 1,170,000 Florida residents hailing from Midwest states, and an unknown percentage of those rooting for the Red Wings, it makes sense that the team would want to ensure a pro-Lightning environment.
This policy will not concern the Lightning in the least, as they know they will sell-out playoff games no matter the opponent. And the team has no obligation to cater to Red Wings fans.
Such policies are also not uncommon in baseball. At Chase Field in Phoenix, the Diamondbacks have caught heat for their policy that mandates fans sitting behind home plate wear either Diamondbacks or neutral attire.
Could the Rays ever enact such a policy? Would it behoove them?
Despite over 3.5 million people New York baseball fans living Florida, the Rays would be foolish to ban Yankees attire at Tropicana Field, even if it is visible behind home plate. Yankees fans have increased average game attendance by an average of 30% since 2007. At approximately 9,000 Yankees fans per game times 9 games a year versus the Yankees at Tropicana Field, the Rays sell roughly 81,000 tickets to Yankees fans each year. At approximately $25 per ticket, that’s $2,025,000 generated by Yankees fans visiting Tropicana Field.
Or more than the combined salaries of Kevin Kiermaier, Jake Odorizzi, and Brad Boxberger.
Given the Rays’ current economic situation and stadium location, inconveniencing Yankees fans would be a bad idea. They have proven to be well-attending and well-spending guests.
Except for last night.