Just by the very nature of the topic, we are more likely to right about attendance when the news is bad. So we wanted to take this moment to point out something positive.

On May 12, 2008, the Rays began a series at The Trop against the New York Yankees. It was a Monday night. The Rays were only a half-game out of first place.

And the attendance was 13,932.

Fast-forward three years to May 16, 2011. Another Monday night game against the Yankees. The Rays are in first place.

And the attendance last night was 25,024.

A nearly identical situation and the attendance was 79.6 percent higher. Obviously that is the exception and not the rule. But it is something to hang our New Era caps on.

Attendance is not something that is going to blossom overnight. And it may never happen in The Trop. But there are signs that it can be much better than it is. And in at least some regards, it is already a lot better than it was.

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9 Comments

  1. Matt says:

    Nice idea, but there are two big things working against you there:

    1) In May 2008, the Rays had never been a good team. And it was too early in the season to tell that they were going to be different that year. They were still the 'Devil Rays', if not in name, in spirit.

    2) That was the second series against the Yankees that season, not the first. The first time the Rays played the Yankees that season it was also a Monday. The attendance? A more respectable 18,872.

    3) Last year the Rays played the Yankees at home on a Monday. The attendance? 26,907. Granted, that was near the end of the year.

    Don't get me wrong, 25K for a Monday is HUGE. I just think it represents a return to the 'normal' bad attendance, not the 'really, really bad' bad attendance we've had this year.

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    • Matt says:

      Err, three big things?

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    • Cork Gaines says:

      But I think #1 is basically where I am going with this. This isnt the Devil Rays anymore and people know that now. And this is no longer a team that will do 13000 on Monday for a Yankees game.

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    • Gus says:

      In terms of attendance and season ticket sales, 2011 started off lots like 2008. In both cases, the team got off to a lousy start and in both cases the Rays were not expected to be a serious contender. I've said long and often in this space that the toughest job in Tampa Bay is selling Rays season tickets when your owner keeps cutting you off at the knees just when you think you've turned the corner. Now the Rays were coming off of 3 winning seasons and 2 divisions, so 2011 should have a little edge over 2008, but not much because all the off-season news was terrible.

      Plus, the x-factor is that you've had 1 of 9 Yankees games and few (if any) Bosox games. If they stay in it, they'll draw about what they had last year, even though they sold fewer season tickets and management keeps telling people what a lousy location it is in (a self-fullfilling prophecy).

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  2. Don says:

    Just more evidenve that the "franchise " continues to build! To most fans the Rays are 4 years old....fantastic job in a short period to build this"Franchise".
    I would like to ask people like MATT what they think "good " Attendance IS.....The Bucs have been here for 30 yrs and can't sell out..
    SO what IS GOOD ......Please explain

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    • Matt says:

      Well, 'good' varies by sport.

      For the Bucs, and every other team in the NFL, 'good' is selling out every game. Every time.

      For the Rays? Given that they are a small market team in a non-optimal location? If they could average 20th in the league, I think the Rays would be happy. It's obvious that the Rays are never going to sell out every single game in that stadium. So 'good' will always be measured by their performance vs. teams in like markets.

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      • Don says:

        Ok, well where do they stand now IN "like Markets"

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        • Matt says:

          Oh, definitely still not good enough. My point is that I think the Rays would be happy if they competed with like markets...but they aren't (and probably won't in their current stadium).

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  3. brett says:

    Nice cowbells.

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