vitaleThe Big Lead conducted a Q&A with Dick Vitale and asked him about the Rays ongoing fight for a new stadium…

I think there’s no doubt it would be great here if they built a modern stadium, but it gets down to dollars. And fan interest and putting people in the seats. I dont blame the owners – how you going to spend csh and you’re not getting people out? That becomes a domino effect. That becomes a problem. I think eventually we’ll get a new ballpark. I’m trying to be optimistic. with a new ballpark and the environment to make it so exciting to come. I mean, Yankee stadium is like a museum.

“Trying to be optimistic.” Ahhh, ’tis the life of a Rays fan.

Q&A with ESPN’s Dick Vitale [The Big Lead]

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18 Comments

  1. Gus says:

    Even if Fenway Park or Camden Yards were magically dropped down in the middle of Downtown Tampa or (insert preferred location 5 minutes from author's residence), the Rays aren't going to draw 35k on a Monday night in August v. the Rangers unless and until they increase the season ticket base through a sustained period of success and tradition. I'm not sure they can build a season ticket base if they dump contracts that would help them win while they are 3 games out of the playoffs.

    The stadium is a dead issue for 2 years, and then when other local governments can take a serious run at the Rays (both locally and throughout the country), Pinellas County and the City of St. Pete will have to make a tough decision to fork over another $500M to some guys who may or may not be around in 5 years.

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    • jim says:

      how do you expect higher attendance when you raise prices? Are they really trying to get a new stadium?

      there's 2 major flaws with the new "plan"
      1. the number of season ticket/plan holders are going to go down. there were a lot of "fans" that had to put down deposits for season tickets last year because they bought the postseason packages. i would guess that a large pct of those aren't going to renew. also, the weekend 40 games packages have gone up 35% in some cases. so they may be gone also.
      2. i thought the goal was to fill the trop in order to justify a new stadium. let's be honest here, you could make tickets free and your still not putting 30K in the trop against KC on a tuesday night. now with the increase in prices and parking, will friday start looking like tuesday, wed, and thursday? especially if we're not in the thick of a playoff hunt.

      if we're 11 games out of the playoff this year, the trop will turn into a ghost town again. the upper deck will be empty by mid season, and the management will be whining about the attendance. look at this year, we went into the season with hype and hope, coming off of a world series, and we still didn't meet the "unrealistic" attendance goals of this management group. when you factor in the price increases, this year may be a huge attendance bust, so say bye-bye to any new stadium hopes. and possibly bye-bye to the rays. but i'm not sure that the management would be that disappointed in a new area.

      they're basically jacking up prices to make another run at the playoffs. given that, this years attendance was "disappointing", then why wouldn't it make more sense to keep things affordable and keep the fans in order to stay on course for a new stadium?

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      • Beth says:

        I'm not sure where you get the idea that they are "jacking up" prices. I thought the new pricing plan had modest increases (mostly on prime games, so Yankee and Red Sox fans can pay those). And for those of us who don't mind seeing a Tuesday night game against KC, there are still some bargains.

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        • jim says:

          my 40 game packages went up 35% each. that's pretty "jacked up". plus now it will cost you $20 to park on saturdays and against the red sox or yankees, no matter how many are in your car.

          earlier in the year, it wasn't yankee and red sox fans at those games, it was rays fans.

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          • jim says:

            just seems pretty odd that they think that more fans are going to show up if they increase ticket and parking prices. don't you think?????

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  2. Don says:

    Dear Jim...What don't you understand about the Rays games are the "most affordable in all of sports" (not just baseball)????
    How much cheaper would you like them to be?....and still stay in business?? start saving your pennies....we need more "cheap" fans!

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    • jim says:

      this "cheap" fan has given them over 6K in the past 3 years. youself? $100 in chips in front of the TV??

      that "affordable" was based on last years prices and free parking. i don't want it to be cheaper, just not a huge increase. and 35% is a huge increase. just because they don't want to deal CC and made a huge error in signing and scouting burrell, then i should have to pay more?!?!

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      • jim says:

        hey GM don,
        explain to me how raising prices is going to put more butts in the trop? please.

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        • Steve-o1285 says:

          The Rays were the most affordable franchise in all of sports...and were STILL below average in attendance. Even with the increase, Rays games are still a far better deal than Bucs or Bolts games.

          Price is clearly not the main issue in this area. If the Rays can make a little extra money, I am in favor of it. I'm willing to pay a little more to go to games, because the product is fantastic. Anybody who lets this price increase affect their ticket purchases...well, I fart in your general direction.

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  3. jim says:

    ""Anybody who lets this price increase affect their ticket purchases"

    so i should just gladly accept that it's going to cost the same for 2 season tickets that i bought 3 for last year. fart away!!! i just don't want to here them whine when the attendance is down over 10% from last year. like i said, and none of you will address this, please explain to me how you can justify trying to get more fans in the seats when you raise the prices for tix and parking. the new stadium will die when the attendance does, and they'll look elsewhere.

    all year, last year, all we heard was how disappointed they were with the crowds. and hell no it wasn't just for the "bad" teams. i went to many red sox and yankee games that were not close to sellouts, especially the last sox series. it was a joke. now they're going to increase the prices for those games, yeah that makes a hell of a lot of sense. those games are now going to be full of yankee and red sox fans who only go to 3 or 4 games a year. and once again they will outnumber the rays fans, and the players and management will start bitching about us not showing up.

    "Price is clearly not the main issue in this area"
    management must surely think so, if not why did they drop the price for the crappy teams during the week. they seem to think they can draw more fans by offering an $8 ticket.

    hell the only sellouts were basically saturday nights, opening and closing day, and free t shirt days. but let's raise prices and watch the numbers drop. good luck with that. great research there.

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    • Steve-o1285 says:

      I am not getting this argument again...it's a wasted effort. Just keep complaining, it's what people like you do about everything anyway. If the Rays keep winning and attendance drops 10% (which is absurd), we really don't deserve this team.

      You could always become a fan of another team. Let me know how many winning teams have cheaper tickets.

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  4. Don says:

    Dear Jim...If attendance is down 10% next year I'll buy your cheap ass seats for you....but if they are not down....you stay home and save your money !

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  5. jim says:

    no you guys are right, i should be thrilled that my seats went up 35%. i shouldn't complain and question the logic behind there new policy.

    once again neither on of you addressed my comments, you only took shots at me. you're both a joke, enjoy sitting on your couches and watching your tv.

    i have contributed financially and emotionally to this team, and hell yes i have a right to bitch. it's fans like me, not you, that actually help pay the bills at the trop.

    if you can't address my posts or issues, then don't reply. pot shots aren't needed. do you do this to make up for a lack of manhood???

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  6. leningan says:

    I think the strategy here is to maximize the return on the games they are most confident in selling out (i.e. BOS, NYY, and saturday concert series)... The price for these tickets won't affect the Red Sox or Yankee (especially after a world series victory) fans' desire to attend these games and spend a week in Sunny Florida. This makes sense to management, me (admittedly, I am not a season ticket holder), but (understandably) not to a long-time season ticket holder.
    Moreover, the issue is not necessarily how many fans are in the seats, rather it is how much money is in the bank. I think the DRO believes the best way to counteract poor attendance (and let's be honest it was pretty poor, better, but poor), is to raise the price for the potentially best attended games.
    Dropping the price for midweek games against "crappy" teams also makes sense from DRO's perspective. These games will not be heavily attended, even if they were free. So less demand, lower price. While it seems that the two strategies are couterintuitive, the DRO is simply trying to get the Yanks and Sox fans to subsidize the rest of the schedule, which is concurrently being offered at a discount to (hopefully) increase attendence at these "lesser" games.

    Now, whether the Rays are succeeding in nuturing a growing fan base, is another issue entirely. And, I think it has everything to do with on-the-field success.

    Will this price game work? I hope so, as the Rays need to make as much as possible to put a winning team out there, which is the only way to increase the fan base and get more of them to attend regularly.

    hope this helps jim

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    • steve-o1285 says:

      WUT U MEEN? TICKITS R MOAR $!!! NOBODY WILL GO TO GAMEZ!!1111

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    • Don says:

      "Now, Whether the Rays are SUCCEEDING in nuturing a growing fan base is another issue"......
      Moron , do you know what the attendance figures for the Rays the last
      three years....are they growing or losing fans?.....is baseball growing or
      losing as a whole???
      Find these answers before you write stupid opinons!!

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  7. ben says:

    complainign about parking? there is a public park across the street from the Trop, every game i went to whether we had four people or 2 we parked for free there never got a ticket, never got towed never bothered, just had to walk a little bit farther than if we spent 20 bucks to park in the stadium lot. Don't complain about parking park somewhere else and walk.

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