The Rays attendance is an old story. It is a tired story. We have heard all of the excuses. And we have heard all of the jokes. But what we didn’t realize was that is could actually get worse.

With just nine home dates left, the Rays are now dead last in Major League attendance, averaging just 18,374 tickets sold per game.

Of course, six of the remaining home games are against Red Sox and Yankees, so the Rays are not likely to finish the season last. But there aren’t enough Yankees and Red Sox fans in the area buying tickets to hide just how bad attendance has been this season.

After 72 games a year ago, the Rays were averaging 22,919 per game. That is a one-season drop of 19.8 percent.

The Rays are also on pace to sell just 1.49 million tickets this season. That would be their lowest mark since 2007 when attendance was 1.39 million. That year, the Rays lost 96 games.

 
 

19 Comments

  1. David says:

    Attendance is down 20%. Stu cut payroll 50%. Still looks like he came out ahead.

    • SeanDubbs says:

      So you would have resigned CC and Pena? Seems as if the Rays got the better end of their Free Agency.

      • David says:

        No. I am saying the ownership cut payroll by 50% and until unless attendance drops by 50% they should just shut the hell up. What did they expect to happen after degrading their product?

      • Sarah says:

        Surely the only off-season options weren’t either signing very pricey veterans like Crawford vs. going with an AAA lineup featuring Elliot and Dan Johnson? Rays may never be bidders for top free agents, but this year they really seemed to be determined to keep payroll extremely low. Whether this means they are acting in bad faith and pocketing huge profits, or they are simply following a wise business model is not something I can determine, but there’s no doubt their approach this offseason was to save money and not to construct a pennant winning team.

  2. Don says:

    Sorry Rays you have to participate in our misery of giving away our players
    and finishing 3rd in the division….MAYBE you learned something?

    • Matt says:

      They made the right business decision. You can’t blame them for being part of a sport with horrible inequality between teams.

  3. Task Force says:

    It had nothing to do with the smear campaign put on by the Rays and the media against the Trop and the City of St. Pete. How on earth could they expect the people to come out if they do nothing but badmouth the very place they are trying to get people to come to???

    They don’t want to be there, why should we??

  4. Gus says:

    Payroll down 57.1%. Attendance down 20%.

    Stu wins. He always does.

  5. SeanDubbs says:

    They warned us that they were robbing from this season to compete last year. No hiding from the truth or sneaky cover-ups. The path the Rays must take is developing young talent and evolving trade trees (such as Delmon Young’s) to stay both competitive and profitable.

    They brought on Manny and Damon and did a great job building a bullpen from scratch. Everyone thought Jaso, Brignac, Rodriguez, and Dan Johnson would build off last season and be better than they actually were. If those guys had played up to expectations this season we’d be bragging about how it’s 2008 all over again and not “Greedy Greedy Selfish Owner” fodder which is an uneducated excuse for bashing an owner. I’m sure you’re longing for the days of Vince Namoli.

    • Gus says:

      “Robbing”his own profits? I guess that is one way to look at it.

      Long for Naimoli? Well, yes, I would like a $60M payroll like Naimoli averaged in 2000-01 before he lost control to MLB and McHale. A reasonable payroll with a smart GM like we have now would be swell.

      $40M payroll when his central fund check is north of $50M is indefensible, even for the biggest Sternberg defenders. But people do try.

  6. Amanda says:

    Cork, I saw your Tweet about tonight’s game being only about 100 people over the season’s average. Is that a telling sign that maybe it *is* the economy when Rays fans and (as much as it pains me to say it) area Red Sox fans don’t show up? I mean, it’s not like it’s just Red Sox fans in the stadium tonight. (I don’t mind if someone tells me I’m full of crap on this one … I’m just trying to put a few twos and twos together.)

    I also wonder if this is a sign that the cord can be cut with the AL East (if reallignment happens) because the Rays aren’t guaranteed 30k anymore when the Yankees or Red Sox are in town.

  7. DL says:

    Ok, the comments about $$$ is ridiculous. Who gives a damn about the payroll as long as the team is winning? Rays have a shot of getting their 3rd 90 win season of last 4 years? With 3 weeks left in the year, the Rays are not yet mathematically eliminated (although this weekend could put the final nail in the coffin)…the Rays play in the same division as Yankees and Red Sox, and yet despite all they’ve lost, they’re still standing…why can this area not support the team? No one is asking Rays to be #1 in attendance, but absolutely no reason to be DEAD LAST either. Not for a team that plays good baseball. People want to whine and complain about not beating NY and BOS…how many teams can actually do that in any given year? Remember what the Rays go up against, and be proud of another winning season.

    • Amanda says:

      I heard someone on one of the 620 shows (I can’t remember which) and said they wouldn’t buy a ticket to the Bucs because they’re not spending money. He was asked, “What about last year?” and he replied that it was a fluke and Morris is a terrible coach. Really? Do they want the Bucs to be the Cowboys and the Rays to be the Mets? Cause money doesn’t always buy happiness and doesn’t always buy wins.

    • Wizzle says:

      Until Selig introduces an extra playoff spot just for teams that win 90 games, no matter of where they end up in the standings, winning 90 games a year means nothing. It’s about how you compare against other teams, most importantly in your division. If the Rays can win 90 games a year with a $50m payroll, but the Sox/Yanks win 95 games a year in the $150,000,000+ range, then it doesn’t really mean much, does it? Unless we are now playing for pride. It’s a shame, because if the Rays even “only” added $15 million (alot for the rays, but compared to NY/BOS…..) they could surely fill another hole or two and bump that 90 to 95 wins. For example, even a league average SS would have brought an extra 2 wins after the garbage performances the AAA trio put up for most of the year, and that’s if he just played league average, it would be more if he were an actual good player who had a moderately good year. The cost of a veteran SS would have been absolutely justified.
      And I don’t care about how other teams can’t beat NY/BOS. Most of those aren’t in the division (who cares what the orioles do against the division…) and can get by without it. The Rays CAN’T. They have to at least hold their head above water against them unfortunately. It’s nice to say that it doesn’t matter what those 2 teams do and we can just do our own thing…but we know that’s not true.

  8. pcbigd says:

    If the ownership didn’t care about winning this year then one should not care if people choose to not spend money.

  9. Morgan says:

    Not related to the attendance blog/article…but is it my computer or is this blog hard to read w/ the grey background?

    Anyway, I’ve done my part as an area sports fan…Bucs season tickets, about 20 Rays games, about 10 Bolt games, season ticket for Bulls, even a couple Magic games every season.

    Do I win a prize? No – but I’m really getting tired of the lack of support for local teams – can our area even support so many teams?

    • Cork Gaines says:

      The background should be white. Occasionally when there are a lot of people on the site at the time same time, the site loads slowly. We’re working on correcting that. In the meantime, just try reloading the page. That usually fixes it.

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