Tampa Bay Rays Attendance Review: June 2014

This post will explore Rays home attendance from June 1 to June 26, 2014. In case you missed it, here are the April and May Attendance Reviews. Previous years’ month-by-month breakdowns are covered here.

First, the overall figures:

  • Total June 2014 Tampa Bay Rays home attendance: 263,306
  • June home games: 18
  • Average attendance per game: 14,628
  • Highest attendance: 23,996 on Sat, June 7th
  • Lowest attendance: 10,400 on Mon, June 9th
  • Highest average attended series: 17,207 vs Pittsburgh, June 23-25
  • Lowest average attended series: 10,670 vs Miami, June 4-5

Competing area sporting events:

  • Tampa Bay Storm Arena Football home games – June 7 & 21 (att: 11,062 / 11,890)
  • Tampa Bay Rowdies home soccer game – June 7 (att:4,132)
  • 33 Minor League Baseball games (avg attendance: 1,832 per game).

Since 2007, June has been the 2nd closest month to Rays overall average attendance. June was the least attended month in 2009 and 2010, but was the second-highest attended month in 2008 and 2011. June has never been the highest attended month. Since 2007, the average June attendance is -0.9% lower than the overall 2007-2013 average attendance.

  • 2007-2013 Average Attendance: 20,475.72
  • 2007-2013 June Average Attendance: 20,288.97
  • Difference: -186.75
  • Percentage: -0.09%

We will be using this June difference when we calculate how the Rays drew in 2014 compared to past results.

Note: This is a very difficult month to analyze attendance. Due to the irregularity of games against the Cardinals, Pirates, and Marlins, we are using the overall average of interleague games separated only by weekdays or weekends. So we will have to live with the error of bumps resulting from the popularity of one National League team over another.

  • 2007-2013 Rays interleague avg home attendance: 22,225
  • 2007-2013 Weekday interleague avg home attendance: 20,299
  • 2007-2013 Weekend interleague avg home attendance: 23,234

(All numbers include annual games vs FLA/MIA.)

We also don’t have much data regarding the Houston Astros, as they were a National League team until 2013. So we will use their data from 2013 as a small sample size “average”. We are using the 2013 Astros vs Rays Friday attendance in the Thursday “average” due to lack of data for that day.

The following chart shows the percentage difference between the mathematically predicted Rays attendance and the actual attendance.

  • 2007-2013 Avg = Rays average attendance vs specific opponent on that day since 2007. Calculated here.
  • Post-game concert = Average increase in attendance due to post-game concerts on specific days since 2007. Calculated here.

2014 June breakdown

Rays attendance exceeded their past average four times (June 7, 9, 20, 25). They failed to meet their past average fourteen times.

On the positive side, the day that stands out the most is the final home date: June 25th. The Rays exceeded attendance expectations by 17.16% and the date was the only weekday the Rays drew over 20,000 fans. The only answer we found for this was we were told June 25th was “Parks and Recreation Day” at Tropicana Field.

We also have to acknowledge that Wednesday, June 25th was speculated as the last time David Price would pitch for the Rays at Tropicana Field. With such a large influx from the promotion, it is impossible to isolate any bump in attendance due to the David Price speculation.

Comparing June 2014 with Previous Years

We will now compare the June 2014 average attendance to June attendance in other recent years.

Rays June 2007 2014

June 2014 was a historically bad month at the gate for the Tampa Bay Rays. It was the worst month of average attendance of any month since June 2007, when the team drew 13,999 fans per game.

Coincidentally, June 2007 also had a significant day in the Rays – Don Zimmer relationship. On Saturday, June 23, 2007,  the Devil Rays celebrated the long career of Don Zimmer with figurines and throwback jerseys in a game against Zimmer’s first team, the Dodgers.

Don Zimmer passed away on June 4th, 2014. The Rays held a pre-game ceremony and celebrated the life of Zimmer on June 7th. Because of the Weezer concert following the game, we cannot extrapolate how many fans were in attendance to pay their respects from how many were there to see the concert.

Looking at the small chart below, we can see the games played, record, and average attendance of the June 2007 Devil Rays and the June 2014 Rays were similar.

2014 2007 June

Through Game 44

We can’t only compare attendance by past averages and overall months, we have to look at the trends based on where we are in the season. Currently, the Rays have played 44 of their scheduled 81 home games. The following chart depicts the Rays average attendance through Game 44 from 2007 to 2014.

2007 2014 through Game 44 chart

2014 is the earliest the Rays have reached Game 44, five days earlier than they did in 2008. The latest they reached Game 44 was in 2011.

This chart shows the Rays 2014 Game 44 average is below their 2007-2013 Game 44 average by 2,500 fans per game. The average attendance at Game 44 in 2014 is the second worst since 2007, trailing only 2007. However, the average attendance after Game 44 in 2014 includes the least amount of weekend games and the most amount of weekend games on this chart. The 2014 season to date has also had one less game versus the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, the Rays’ two highest drawing opponents, than the average season.

Comparing 2014 to 2013, the Rays are drawing 887 fans per game less in 2014. However, they have played two less weekend games and five less games versus the Red Sox or Yankees.

The following graph shows how the Rays 2014 Game 44 attendance compares to previous years.

2007 2014 through Game 44 graph

As we enter July, the Rays franchise is facing a crossroads. The window for having a winning season might be closed and several familiar faces might be on the way out, traded for younger, cheaper talent.

The Rays/Devil Rays haven’t often made big trades of popular players during the course of a season, so how attendance might react to a trade of David Price is unknown. Our closest comparison is the 2009 trade of former ace Scott Kazmir, although by the time he was traded, Kazmir was barely the third best starting pitcher on the team.

On Aug 29, 2009, the day they traded Kazmir, the Rays had an average home attendance of 24,169. Following the trade, and as the team faded from contention, the average home attendance was 19,574, ending the season at 23,148. The average attendance for Scott Kazmir’s 11 home starts that year was 25,357.

Looking forward, July is traditionally the Rays best month for home attendance, although it was not in 2013. The Rays play 12 home games in July, which is right on their average of 11.86. Three of the 12 games are a weekend series versus Boston which includes Comic Con Night and University of Florida night. There is also a Joan Jett concert on Saturday, July 12th.

2 comments for “Tampa Bay Rays Attendance Review: June 2014

  1. Jack Dahlstrom
    August 28, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    I grew up in Boston and am a lifelong Sox fan. I went to the Trop last year and won’t be back. The Rays will not let their baseball speak for itself. They constantly have gimmicks that the true fan finds cheap and unprofessional. This combined with the “stupid” cowbell craze is a distraction from the game itself. Sensory overload and loud music have no place at a MLB game. Could this be the reason that the Rays are dead last in home attendance again. Your demographic is primarily seniors who just want to see a good ball game. I am not alone in my thinking. Many of my friends feel the same way. This is an easy fix.

    • Mike Lortz
      August 28, 2014 at 7:46 pm

      Thanks for the comment. Definitely appreciated. Although seniors (65+) are a large segment of the Tampa Bay population (and growing), there is a concern that the baseball audience is getting older. In order to attract younger audiences, baseball is taking practices from football and basketball – both of which have younger audiences. Balancing the needs of the demographics is not “an easy fix”.

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