Welcome to our 12th analysis post on Tampa Bay Rays attendance from 2007-2013. This post examines the Rays home attendance versus American League opponents by day. We will show average attendance against each American League team that has visited Tropicana Field by day of the week. We will then show the percentage of attendance increase or decrease for those games over or below the per game average attendance for that day from 2007 to 2013.
This chart shows by day Tampa Bay Rays home attendance trends versus American League East opponents (click to enlarge).
The “Overall” column is the overall attendance against all opponents for that particular day from 2007-2013. “vs Team X” is the average attendance against that particular team from 2007 to 2013. “Team X +/-%” is the percentage of change attendance versus the opponent is above or below the overall average. Against the AL East, of 28 possible scheduling opportunities, 17 had positive changes in attendance and 11 had negative changes in attendance.
The following graph depicts the Tampa Bay Rays home attendance trends versus American League East opponents.
Notice the wide variance between attendance per opponent. On Mondays, games versus the Yankees and Red Sox have drawn more than double what games versus the Blue Jays have drawn. Tuesday games versus the Yankees have also nearly drawn double Tuesday games versus the Blue Jays. Games versus Baltimore is only AL East Friday scenario that does not average 20,000 fans. Saturday is only day games versus the Red Sox outdraw games versus the Yankees.
Now for a look at the Tampa Bay Rays home attendance versus AL Central opponents (click to enlarge).
Of the 35 possible scenarios, 13 had positive outcomes and 22 had negative outcomes. Games scheduled versus the Kansas City Royals and Chicago White Sox only have above-average attendance on Saturdays, an outcome shared by every team in the division. The Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins had the most above-average days with four.
The following graph depicts the Tampa Bay Rays home attendance trends versus American League Central opponents.
Variance in attendance for AL Central opponents is far more narrow than it is for AL East opponents. Friday is exceptionally narrow with the average attendance ranging from 18.8K in games versus the Royals to 20.5K in games versus the Tigers. The widest difference is on Wednesday, when an average game against the Royals draws less than 13K and an average game versus the Indians draws over 21K. That is a nearly 8,500 difference in attendance for the average game versus these opponents.
Now for a look at the Tampa Bay Rays home attendance versus AL West opponents (click to enlarge).
Of 28 possible scenarios, only one, Sunday games versus the Texas Rangers, averages above the overall average Sunday attendance (24811.5 > 24360.92), and even then only by 1.85%. Average attendance against the Oakland A’s and Seattle Mariners has been especially bad.
The Rays front office can take solace in the fact that many of these are small samples. In many cases, the “average” attendance is drawn from one or two games. For example, the Rays have only played one Monday game versus the Mariners since 2007. That game, played on April 30th, 2012, drew 9,458 fans.
The following graph depicts the Tampa Bay Rays home attendance trends versus American League West opponents.
This graph also better depicts an unusual-looking spike in attendance against Seattle (purple line) on Tuesdays. We can explain that. The Rays have played five Tuesday games against the Mariners since 2007. In 2008, the Rays opened the season against the Mariners. Opening Day that year drew 36,048 fans to Tropicana Field. Excluding that game, the Rays average Tuesday attendance since 2007 versus the Seattle Mariners is 11,258.5, which is 34.7% lower than the 2007-2013 Tuesday average.
But Opening Day is a real factor in attendance. The Rays have to open the season against someone every year. Since 2007, they have often opened against AL East teams, which lowers the effect of the sell-out with other games throughout the season.
Overall, of the 91 possible scenarios – the Rays could play any team on any day – the Rays have positive attendance outcomes in 31. To the Rays advantage, of those 31, 17 outcomes are against the AL East, which comprises a majority of the Rays annual schedule.
The Rays also have 9 to 12 games versus National League opponents during the season. Attendance in those games varies greatly on opponent. However, since the Rays don’t play those opponents often, it is not prudent to examine those games as closely as we do games versus annual opponents. In 2014, for example, the Rays will play the Pirates and Brewers at Tropicana Field. Neither of these opponents have visited St. Petersburg in last seven years.
Hence, we can keep analysis on attendance versus National League opponents to a comparison to the annual average, as we did here.
We are almost to the point were we can make some judgements on the Rays 2014 attendance and see where it compares to the previous seven-year trend. We are not yet to the point of making a prediction, but we may be able to judge soon.