Rays FanFest was Saturday, February 21. Like previous fan fests, the event was a chance for fans to get excited about the upcoming baseball season. There were games, merchandise booths, autograph stations, several live media interviews, and numerous games for the kids.
According to Tampa Bay Times Rays writer Marc Topkin, Rays FanFest 2015 drew approximately 16,000 fans. From personal experience, there were a lot of people there and the field was covered in fans. Although movement wasn’t impossible, there was a steady flow of people throughout the event.
Of course, there will always be people who attempt to prognosticate the Rays game attendance by FanFest attendance. Here are five reasons why that is a foolish idea and people who do that should be cast out into the bay:
- FanFest was on a Saturday. The Rays drew an average of over 21,000 fans for weekend games in 2014. There is no time restriction on either side of the event. Fans didn’t need to rush to FanFest nor rush home.
- FanFest was open all day. Fans could arrive at 10am, at noon, or at 4pm. They could spend five hours or five minutes. They could be late and not miss a thing. Time was not an issue at FanFest.
- FanFest was free. Everything about attending FanFest was free, from parking to admission into the stadium. No matter the size of the group, from one person to a family of five, the event was free.
- FanFests are not indicative of regular season attendance for other sports. Last season’s Bucs FanFest drew approximately 30,000 fans. The Bucs per game average was nearly 60,000.
- Corporate attendance is not counted in FanFest. Yes, the Rays are lacking in corporate ticket sales. But at FanFest, the number is zero. Those corporate ticket sales will count during the season.
There are probably many other reasons why there is no relationship between Rays FanFest attendance and Rays game attendance. The only commonality is that some of the same people might attend both. Not that FanFest isn’t a great and fun event, it just has little to do the attendance of the actual games.