This post is an update to a previous post I did last year with added 2015 data.
In this post, I will answer the following questions:
- Is there a difference between baseball attendance in each month?
- What months draw better? What months draw worse?
- Is the pattern of better months and worse months the same for both the Rays and the four Minor League teams in the Tampa Bay area? Do they follow different patterns?
- What can we learn about fan ticket purchasing behavior by looking at trends in average monthly attendance?
I have posted this before, but here are the Rays monthly attendance patterns from 2007 to 2015. In seasons where the Rays played regular season games in October (2009 and 2012), I have combined those games in September attendance.
(1= Highest drawing month of the year / 6= Lowest drawing month of the year)
Since 2007, Rays monthly average attendance has varied every year. But averaging the entire range, attendance follows this pattern from highest to lowest:
Here are the total monthly attendance patterns for the four Minor League Baseball teams in Tampa Bay from 2007 to 2015 – the Tampa Yankees, Clearwater Threshers, Bradenton Marauders, and Dunedin Blue Jays. We are taking all four teams together, although we can probably safely assume they draw from at least three different fanbases, with Dunedin and Clearwater having probable overlaps. In seasons where teams played regular season games in the first week of September, I have combined those games in August attendance.
Minor League attendance monthly patterns have not varied as much as Rays attendance. This might be because winning and player recognition means less to Minor League Baseball attendees than it does to Major League Baseball attendees. So Minor League fans are more likely to follow the same attendance pattern year by year.
Averaging the entire range, Tampa Bay Minor League Baseball average attendance follows this pattern from highest to lowest:
- April / Aug/Sept
The following graph plots the Rays and the Minor League average patterns.
Here are a few facts we can derive from this graph:
- May is bad for the Rays, but very good for Minor League baseball.
- June is a bad month for both the Rays and Minor League Baseball.
- July is the best month for baseball attendance overall in the Tampa Bay area.
- The beginning and end of the season draw similarly.
Does this tell us anything about fan behavior?
Possibly. It shows us Tampa Bay area baseball ticket buyers prefer Minor League Baseball in May and July. We have talked before about the effect of fireworks, so 4th of July games may be a big part of July’s average attendance. The Rays don’t play many July 4th games due to their dome. What if we took away July 4th?
May is also when Minor League teams do “School Days”. These promotions usually draw thousands of local kids. The Rays, on the other hand, hold a Camp Day in the summer where they invite thousands of kids from local organizations. So that might explain the May spike for the Minor League teams.
I would be curious to see how other Major and Minor League teams trend. Are Tampa Bay ticket buyers unique in their behavior?
All this research does is show us possible relationships. Although we can’t specifically say this specific fan bought tickets to this specific game for this specific reason, we can start to make assumptions based on the overall behavior of 2.8 million possible ticket buyers.