Over the past year, I have explored many Tampa Bay area zip codes. I have looked at these regions by population, determining how many baseball fans live in each and how many of these fans are teams of what team. Then I determined how far each of these fans are to each of Tampa Bay’s baseball stadiums.
This post is the second of several to combine zip code demographics and look for patterns and trends.
Again we will start with a list of the top 25 most populated zip codes in Tampa Bay per the 2010 census database on census.gov.
Of the top 25 most populated zip codes in Tampa Bay, 12 are in Hillsborough County, 5 are in Pinellas County, 5 are in Manatee County, and 3 are in Pasco County.
Now let’s look at the amount of Yankees fans per zip code by using data from Facebook/New York Times. This is calculated by assuming 50% of the total population is baseball fans. For example, if 50% of Zip Code 33511 are baseball fans, and 20% of those are Yankees fans, then 5,200 people in zip code 33511 are Yankees fans.
The biggest difference is that the three St Petersburg zip codes in the first chart (33710, 33713, 33702) are not in the second chart. However, 5 more Hillsborough County zip codes are among the most populated with Yankees fans.
These 25 zip codes have a population of 909,553. The total amount of Yankees fans in these zip codes is 81,295, or 9% of the population. Now let’s look at how far each of these Yankees fan-heavy zip codes are from Steinbrenner Field.
These zip codes average less than 21 miles from Steinbrenner Field. This is 7 miles closer than the 28 miles Rays-heavy zip codes were from Tropicana Field. So Tampa Bay area Yankees fans live closer to Steinbrenner Field than Tampa Bay area Rays fans live to Tropicana Field.
Now let’s plot Yankees fans per distance. The following graph depicts the amount of Yankees fans per distance.
A few observations:
- The two zip codes with the most Yankees fans are under 30 miles from Steinbrenner Field.
- Proximity to Steinbrenner Field does not seem to have an effect on the amount of Yankees fans per zip code.
- Only 6 of the most Yankees-fan heavy zip codes are beyond 30 miles from Steinbrenner Field.
- Most Tampa Bay area Yankees fans live within 30 miles of Steinbrenner Field.
There are many Yankees fans in Tampa Bay. Many have moved into the area from New York. Others are children of Yankees fans. Yet others root for the Yankees as they have been spring training in Tampa since 1994. The Yankees presence in the area is undeniable.
That 9% of the population of Tampa Bay roots for the Yankees poses a problem for the Rays. It also poses a dilemma for Tampa politicians. These are the fans attending Yankees Spring Training, Tampa Yankees games, and supplementing Rays attendance in games versus the Yankees. Based on recent attendance trends, we can guess local Yankees fans are no longer making the drive to Tropicana Field as Yankees vs Rays attendance has dropped severely in recent years.
But that these fans buy Spring Training tickets hurts the assumption that Spring Training is only for tourists. These fans are spending their local dollars on the Yankees product. To believe that they are not is dishonest.
Even if the Yankees moved their Spring Training from Tampa (where they are contracted until 2046), there would still be Yankees fans in Tampa. There are Yankees fans everywhere. The Yankees are a global brand.
That the Rays have to compete in their own market against a global brand is a problem Major League Baseball has created and shows no intention of solving.