Last week, another interesting poll was published by the Tampa Bay Times and 10News/WTSP. While their last poll was very Rays-related in regards to where a new stadium should be and whether residents care if the Rays stay or go, the more recent poll asks about regional transit. While transit affects everywhere and every business, it is particularly important for baseball in the region, especially since distance and traffic is cited as one of the many reasons fans don’t attend games at Tropicana Field during the work week.
According to the poll, 67% of respondents believe traffic has gotten worse recently. Only 4% believe traffic has gotten better. The article also mentions 110,000 people have moved to the area in the past 5 years and with gas prices lower, traffic is getting worse.
That’s a recipe for disaster if your business is difficult to get to, as the Rays’ business is. Meanwhile, Minor League and other alternative entertainment venues are much closer to the population center.
I like to make the comparison to pizza. The Rays might be the best pizza place in the region, with the best food and quality ingredients. But if it is difficult to get to, people would rather get a lower quality product when time is of the essence. Remove the time variable, then they will seek out the better product. Keep the time variable, and they might request the product to be delivered, which is equivalent to watching a game on TV, which Rays fans do well.
So what is the solution to the increasing transit trouble?
That’s the multi-billion dollar question.
According to Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn:
“It’s a recognition that as we continue to grow, in the absence of doing something, it’s only going to get worse and worse,” Buckhorn said. “Our quality of life will diminish each and every day if we don’t do something.
“People are frustrated because they have no options other than their cars. And I think they want solutions.”
Not only do people need solutions, but so do businesses such as the Tampa Bay Rays. Otherwise, they will keep losing the battle for butts in the seats.