From time to time we are going to take a look at the 2011 attendance and see how this season stacks up against last year and average attendance in Major League Baseball.

Click “Read the rest” below for notes on the attendance…

Notes on the 2011 attendance…

  • In 2010, the Rays averaged 23,025 per game and drew 1.86 million fans. That was down 0.5 percent from 2009.
  • So far in 2011, MLB is averaging 27,631 fans per game. That is on pace for an average of 2.24 million fans per team this year.
  • This year the Rays are averaging 16,312 and are on pace for 1.32 million. That is 29th in baseball, ahead of only the Cleveland Indians.
  • After 19 home games last year, the Rays were averaging 23,123. That means Rays attendance is down 29.5% from the same point last last year.

Do you want us to point out that the Rays have yet to play the Red Sox or Yankees at home? Certainly that has had some effect, but at what point does that stop being an excuse? Because the Rays do have to play other teams.

And what about the Lightning playoff games? Home games have coincided four times. If that is the excuse then you are saying this area only has enough baseball fans to support a hockey team. And that just ain’t gonna cut it.

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17 Comments

  1. Matt says:

    Alright, let's break this down.

    The obvious differences are:
    1) In 2010 we had a series versus the Yankees. That's an extra 10-15k people per game.
    2) In 2010 we had an extra weekend series. That's an extra 5-10k per game.
    3) In 2010, we started out blazing hot (12-4 after our first road trip). In 2011, we started out 1-8.

    Not saying attendance still isn't down overall. Just think that 30% number is a bit inflated due to record and scheduling factors.

    I think you'll find out that as the season progresses it doesn't drop more than a few percent...if they keep playing well.

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  2. Jordi says:

    Sorry, I've missed a few games. Working in Sarasota kills my ability to go to games. It won't happen again.

    Regarding the Lightning, they take precedent in the area over the Rays right now. That's the truth. They are more established and people would rather stay at home to watch hockey than go to a baseball game. It might not be a one-for-one seat exchange, but it's an interest exchange. The Rays are not relevant right now.

    And the 6:40 time stinks.

    Also, Longoria was hurt. That kinda hurts too.

    You might want to check the Minor League teams in the area to see if the Lightning are siphoning from their averages as well.

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    • Chris Mooney says:

      but wasnt there a story recently that Tv ratings for the Rays killed the Lightning? that was the first round, but it shows that baseball is still king. i bet if you add up the number of people at the games with the number of people watching on TV, baseball wins. And Tampa/StPete is not the only area with an NBA/NHL team in the playoffs.

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  3. Jeff says:

    2/3 of Rays attendance comes from Hillsborough and beyond (its on Rays web site). Earlier start times kill that, no way to make it by game time (backfired on Rays IMO). Pinellas cannot/will not make up the difference. When will we all just comprehend that the location of the stadium is 90% of the problem. It's inconvenient (not inaccessible!), just damn far from most in the area and that dampens desire to go. It's as simple as that. Every other metric indicates a huge and growing fan base and everyone loves a ballgame at the ballpark. Use some logic folks.

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  4. alan says:

    You add in a home stand with the Yankees and/or Red Sox and those numbers will change significantly. I am not saying that is good but that is the reality. Attendance will average itself out once the normally bigger drawing teams have come to town.

    There is also no question that the Lightnings extra games for "Playoffs" has siphoned off some of the "sports dollar" due to the fact that they are playoff games and not just regular season games. I do not follow hockey at all but it just makes common sense that some people are having to make a choice due to the playoffs. The 6:40 time is obviously an attempt on the Rays part to help those on "school night" to be able to get home a little earlier. Would you rather see the first inning or two or the last inning or two if time was an issue?

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  5. Eli says:

    The truth is that the Trop has the lowest percentage of fans within a 30 minute drive in all of baseball. Just like all types of real estate, it's all about location. It has nothing to do with the economy, nothing to do with the team's on-field performance. You know why there was never an upscale shopping/restaurant area developed by the Trop like there are by so many other MLB stadiums? Because downtown St. Pete is just not a good location for the residents of Tampa, north county, and Sarasota/Bradenton. And St. Pete does not have nearly enough white-collar residents. Tampa does. They are the lifeblood of fan bases because they can shell out the money for season tickets and boxes, and St. Pete simply isn't rich or business-oriented enough for that.

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  6. Beth says:

    Yes, I know all the arguments about why the Rays don't draw.

    But even I have felt a little depressed looking at all those empty seats every night. I admit that ugly first week made me a little slow to click on the "buy tickets" button, but since then they've been an exciting team. What gives?

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  7. James says:

    I like to associate their attendance to their payroll. Didn't they cut payroll 40%? If payroll is down 40ish% and attendance is only down 29% then they're making more proportionately! They turned a lot of fans off with their slashing of the payroll. To the casual fan they were just dumping payroll and they sent away some very popular players. There are repricusions. Don't forget the whole Manny thing. He would have brought more fans out. Losing him lost them some attendance too.

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    • Eli says:

      Baseball is a business, James. The Rays made a $4 million profit in 2008 with a similar payroll to this year. But last year, with the payroll around $70 million and attendance not improving, I can guarantee you the team lost money. So why did they slash payroll? To cut their losses. They can't help it. The team would rather struggle with attendance than continuously lose money.

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      • James says:

        I understand it is a business. I was talking about payroll and profit wouldn't that translate into me understanding it is a business?
        You seemed to miss the main point of my post.

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  8. Don says:

    Just like the used car business there is an a ASS for every seat (opinion)

    Attendance is down in just about every ML Market, is their stadiums too far, games too early, no population close to the stadium, Hockey games..ok you geniuses which is it??

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  9. Pinto says:

    Cleveland has the best record in baseball and has the lowest home attendance in all of baseball. Where is the national outrage???

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    • Sarah says:

      Have you checked the April weather in Cleveland? Average temp was 50 degrees. We don't have that excuse.

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  10. Indiana Rays Boy says:

    Not only the Rays attendance are down, I noticed a lot more MLB stadiums are having a lot of empty sets. For the past couple of years, MLB attendance have decreased and Bud Selig claims that it is not a issue.

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  11. Raysfan137 says:

    ZZZZZ - I for one would appreciate it if this site focused on baseball.

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    • Don says:

      not too many Fans(bloggers) can "talk baseball"..but ALL fans and Media are experts on "attendance"...therefore these discussions

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    • Cork Gaines says:

      Attendance affects the team's revenues. Revenues affect how much money the team can spend on player salaries and where the team will play in the future. This is about baseball.

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