Welcome to our first post comparing Tampa Bay Rays attendance to the attendance of another Tampa Bay area sports team. This post looks at Rays home attendance at Tropicana Field while the Tampa Bay Lightning are playing home games at the St. Pete/Tampa Bay Times Forum. These facilities are 21.6 to 23.4 miles apart depending on the route. Without traffic, travel between the two should take approximately 30 minutes.
Since 2007, the Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Lightning have played on the same day 14 times (4 times in 2007, 3 times in 2010, 4 times in 2011, 1 time in 2013, and 2 times in 2014). Of these, 7 occurred while the Lightning were in the playoffs and 2 others occurred on the Rays home opener. They will play at least once more on the same day in 2014 (4/5/2014). This total may increase depending on the Tampa Bay Lightning upcoming playoff schedule.
The following chart depicts the days the Tampa Bay Rays have played on the same day as the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Highlighted boxes = Lightning playoff games.
D/N = Day or Night game.
“Rays Avg Annual Attendance/Day” is the Rays average attendance on that day during that year (for example: 19,452.31 is the Friday average attendance during 2007).
“% Difference” is the percentage difference between the Rays attendance during that particular game and the Rays average attendance on that day for the year.
Of the 4 times Rays games matched or drew over their average attendance, 2 were on Opening Day (4/6/2007 and 4/6/2010) and 2 were against the New York Yankees (4/10/2010 and 4/24/2013). We have already shown the Yankees impact on Rays attendance here.
Of course, attendance at the Rays game and the Lightning game is not an “either/or” proposition for all fans. While the fans in attendance made a choice to attend one or the other, many fans may have stayed home and watched both games on their TVs or went to a sports bar. These fans chose to attend neither. It can probably be assumed fans who attend neither but watch both are in the majority in the Tampa Bay area.
We will publish an update to this chart following the end of the Tampa Bay Lightning 2014 postseason.