How much of a role does the economy play in the lack of attendance at Rays games? St. Pete Mayor Bill Foster thinks it plays a huge role and he points to the Bucs non-sellout on Sunday as evidence

“There’s no reason, of all 16 games, that opening day isn’t sold out. That does send a message that people don’t have that expendable dollar any longer,” said mayor Bill Foster…The current recession is seldom mentioned in public discussion but Foster said “It’s not being overlooked in my conversation, especially my conversation with the Rays organization.”

We are sure the economy has something to do with attendance at Rays games. But if it was the biggest factor, then Mayor Foster is admitting that St. Pete will only support the Rays when they are winning. Back in 2006 and 2007 when fans still had disposable income, they still weren’t going to Rays games.

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18 Comments

  1. JP says:

    Mayor Foster is admitting that the WHOLE REGION will only support a winner, no matter the location! Where were the so called "Tampa fans" in 2006 and 2007 at the Trop?!? The whole situation is effed and to blame St. Pete fans is ridiculous.

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    • Cork Gaines says:

      Who blamed St. Pete fans? All I said was that Mayor Foster needs to bring more to the table than the "economy sucks." There is more to this than just the economy. And no, "St. Pete fans suck" is not the only other possible excuse.

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      • John S says:

        JP did you struggle with Reading Comprehension in school? Or even go?
        The article does not say that pretty clearly

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  2. d-money says:

    Every time this guy opens his mouth he sounds more and more like an idiot.

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  3. nate says:

    I think you are missing the point. Attendance is not driven by one variable. Not in this town. Not in any town. Disposable income, and quality product both play a part. Foster is not saying that St Pete only supports a winning Rays product. He's actually pointing out that other cities in the Bay Area a grappling with similar issues, and that the Rays should not fool themselves into thinking that Tampa is uneffected by the current state of affairs in the economy.

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  4. Gus says:

    In 2006 and 2007, the D-Rays were completing a 10 year run as the worst expansion team in the history of American team sports. Noboody came except the most loyal and deep-pocketed fans because the product was rancid and had been for a while.

    As Sternberg has noted in several interviews, the Rays took their big leap forward in the year of the worst economic calamity most of us will ever live through. Bad timing for them, but as we've all noted here, Stu is still making lots of money, covering his debt service, etc.

    Winning the AL East crown is the hardest accomplishment in all of team sports (you can fluke your way into a Super Bowl run or even a World Series). Look at the last 15 years -- no flukes in any of those AL East Champions. Rays need to stay focused on that, and the home playoff gates that will follow.

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  5. Leighroy says:

    What cities sell out for or really do support losing teams anyway? Certainly not Toronto, Baltimore, Oakland, Kansas City or Cleveland just to name the AL cities. In fact the teams in the top half of attendance in MLB who have losing records are the Cubs, Brewers and Mets.

    San Diego is in first place in the NL West and they only get 3k more fans than we do per game. No one is up in arms over them AND they have a new ballpark!!

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    • Preston says:

      the Midwest economy was hit much softer than the rest of the country. My home state, Iowa, has 6.2% unemployment opposed to I think Tampa Bay's combined 11.4%. That's why the Cubs and Brewers have larger crowds. To be honest, I don't know why anyone really goes to Cubs games anymore at all. That is one depressing team, moreso than the Devil Rays of old, they didn't have any money.

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  6. Drew says:

    Might wanna change the title...it's "prove"

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  7. Don says:

    Moving the team to Tampa is NOT an answer to Rays attendance..I've have said this for years....since the subject came up...
    Building a "fan base" is the answer to attendance...
    and it is NOT built in 2/3 years of success...the Rays are doing all the right things ( can always do More) that budgets will allow..
    Attendance is up EVERY year, TV is up, Rays gear sales are up.... what does media types want???...to get off Rays back..
    Plus this will get you...We HAVE one of the very BEST stadiums to watch a ball game in Florida in the summer... Plus it is one of the EASIEST stadiums to get to.....
    But don't believe me...ask the guy next to you.... if he is comfortable, can he see, did he get in the park ok, did it cost too much...see what HE tells you.....Amen!

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    • Preston says:

      I don't think attendance is up every year. Just off the top of my head I think attendance is down 5% this year, opposed to last year.

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    • Preston says:

      And the Trop Sucks. I feel like I'm watching baseball in jail. It's not easy to get to, some of those downtown routes are downright confusing to someone who doesn't spend a lot of time down there. I'd rather sweat my ass off in the open air than sit in a windowless, sunless stadium to watch, of all sports, baseball.

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      • Don says:

        Well lets see... you feel like "your in jail".. and you would rather "sweat your ass off" while watching a baseball game...
        You are JUST the person I would ask if I wanted advice/opinion about the baseball business!
        The Rays season (attendance) is not over for 2010 as far as I know...BUT if they should miss an increase... they will still beat 90% of MLB teams that can't increase attendance!
        You know I haven't heard much from those geniuses that said we couldn't compete with the Yankees (Red Sox) because of their payroll..what happened to those morons??

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    • Steve-o1285 says:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U43Ate3Itjs

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  8. John S says:

    This makes no sense sorry. We are dealing with 2 different areas.
    The Bucs are an ugly product that people in the area are skeptical of.. Hell, the Coach and GM are being made fun of throughout town and the Owners are being called tightwads. The Rays are winnning and with the prices that they are offering, the people in Tampa would come to see a winner. The Bucs are a lousy product and are losers right now with higher than average prices. People are not going to go.
    Would the "imaginery" Tampa baseball stadium produce sellout, ABSOLUTELY NOT. Will it provide HIGHER attendence for a winner, ABSOLUTELY WILL.
    The power of winning is amazing for selling a product. It is sad that residents of Tampa would not make the drive to St Pete, but from a marketing aspect they can not be expected to. Sports Marketing 101 states that a majority of the people that will fill the seats of a stadium will live within a 30 mile radius of the stadium. A great majority of the 30 mile radius within the Trop belongs to the fish. And well they do not have any disposable income or any interest in baseball. Maybe to visit the Sting Ray tank and hang out with the Sting Rays and talk about old times in the Bay and Gulf of Mexico.

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  9. Steve says:

    I don't see how you can have an informed discussion about attendance without considering the economy. Other than ESPN commentators who have never paid admission to a game in their lives, real people actually have to make pocket book decisions about going to a game and buying $9 beers.

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