Exploring Rays Attendance Under 10,000: UPDATE

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This post is an update to other posts I’ve done exploring the Rays’ lowest attended dates since 2007. This post will look at these dates and try to determine any patterns or trends.

The following chart depicts the 30 times the Rays announced less than 10,000 tickets sold since 2007. This list does not count the May 1st-3rd relocated games between the Rays and Orioles.

Rays under 10000 2015

Rays attendance failed to reach 10,000 fans the following amount of times per year:

  • 2007: 15
  • 2012: 4
  • 2013: 1
  • 2014: 1
  • 2015: 9

Rays attendance failed to reach 10,000 on the following days of the week:

  • Tuesday: 9
  • Thursday: 9
  • Monday: 6
  • Wednesday: 6
  • Friday: 1

Rays attendance failed to reach 10,000 during the following months:

  • April: 4 (2014 x 1, 2012 x 1, 2007 x 4)
  • May: 11 (2015 x 2, 2013 x 1, 2012 x 2, 2007 x 6)
  • June: 1 (2007 x 1)
  • July: 2 (2007 x 1)
  • August: 6 (2015 x 3, 2012 x 1, 2007 x 2)
  • September: 5 (2015 x 3, 2007 x 2)
  • October: 1 (2015)

Rays attendance failed to reach 10,000 for the following starting pitchers:

  • Shields: 6 (2012 x 1, 2007 x 5)
  • Archer: 3 (2015 x 2, 2014 x 1)
  • Moore: 3 (2015 x 2, 2014 x 1)
  • Hellickson: 3 (2013 x 1, 2012 x 2)
  • Kazmir: 2 (2007 x 2)
  • Smyly: 2 (2015 x 2)
  • Sonnanstine: 2 (2007 x 2)
  • Fossum: 2 (2007 x 2)
  • Seo: 2 (2007 x 2)
  • Karns: 1 (2015)
  • Odorizzi: 1 (2015)
  • Colome: 1 (2015)
  • Jackson: 1 (2007)
  • Hammel: 1 (2007)

The Tampa Bay Lightning played on the following dates:

  • April 16, 2007 – attendance: 9,157 (Lightning Playoff)
  • April 3, 2014 – attendance: 9,571
  • May 7, 2015 – attendance 8,701 (Lightning Playoff)
  • May 26, 2015 – attendance 9,628 (Lightning Playoff)

There is a history of attendance conflict due to Lightning games. I wonder if the Rays front office calculates potential attendance with and without scheduled Lightning games.

Even with a Lightning game scheduled, the Rays rarely schedule additional promotions. They do not try to directly compete with the Lightning. One idea might be for the Rays to eliminate parking cost on days the Lightning play. That might draw more people to Tropicana Field. Or the Rays could do $1 hotdog night or kids get in half price. Anything to bring in fans.

However, 2015 raised additional concerns. The Rays sold less than 10,000 seven times in August, September, and October 2015. That’s not good. There have to be reasons why interest decreased since 2014. We can’t point at transportation, record, or the other typical reason. We know attendance does decrease from July to August if the Rays are not competitive. But to what level?

2015 also had the first time the Rays drew less than 10,000 for an interleague game. Perhaps the allure against the Marlins is not as strong as Major League Baseball would like. Even worse, one of those games featured Jose Fernandez, perhaps the best Tampa-grown baseball talent since Dwight Gooden. If Fernandez isn’t a draw in his hometown, I question if any visiting pitcher could be.

Bottomline: There were 0 games in August and September 2014 and 2013 where the Rays drew under 10,000. In 2015, there were seven.

The Rays have a new front office president coming on board. Perhaps he can increase interest and 2016 will at least be more like 2013 and 2014 than 2015.

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