*Deep Breath*

The last couple of days were a whirlwind for the Rays and their fans. In the span of about 24 hours, the team went from tied 1-1 with the Rangers and coming home, to eliminated from the playoffs. And while we knew Stuart Sternberg and Mayor Bill Foster were tabling their discussion of a new stadium until after the season, we didn’t think that meant five minutes after the final out

“I am frustrated this year…We’ve replicated last year [on the field] and our attendance numbers were down 15 percent and our ratings were down. The rubber has got to meet the road at some point here…This is untenable as a model going forward…When I came in here in ’05 and ’06, I saw the stars, and I was confident that we could put a winning product on the field — and I was told by you guys and others that all we needed was a winning team…Well, we won. We won. We won. And we won. And it didn’t do it.”

He’s frustrated. That is understandable. Still, it seems like a strange time to point that out after selling more than 63,000 tickets to a pair of afternoon games on short notice. After all, it is not like fans were making plans to attend playoff games two weeks ago.

But then Sternberg took it a step further. He suggests that the Rays might have done better in the playoffs if attendance was better…

“When you’re sitting here at this point and you lost by a run, you know another X dollars might have changed things…Three or five million wouldn’t have changed things necessarily but 15 to 30 might have. That’s where we were. And for the foreseeable future that’s what we’ve got.”

We can all have that same discussion we always have about whether or not the Rays are really making money, and whether or not Sternberg should be spending more money. We are not sure that is important right now.

Rather, this all just sounds like typical rhetoric by an owner that wants a new stadium, and he wants the people to help pay for it. It always starts with frustration. And then moves to threats of selling the team to an owner that will move the team somewhere else.

Oh wait. Sternberg has already moved on phase two...

It won’t be my decision, or solely my decision. But eventually, major-league baseball is going to vaporize this team. It could go on nine, 10, 12 more years. But between now and then, it’s going to vaporize this team. Maybe a check gets written locally, maybe someone writes me a check (to buy the team). But it’s going to get vaporized.

We’ve been down this road before. Major League Baseball is not going to contract the Rays. They (MLB) are just making too much money. But moving the team is a real possibility.

We’ve always said that this stadium situation will get uglier before it gets better. The uglier has begun.

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115 Comments

  1. Dew says:

    I'm sick and tired of all the complaining. Tell him to just take the payroll down more. That should work. Say $20M.

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  2. Martin B says:

    The team isn't moving any time soon. There are no viable markets that will perform any better than the Tampa/St. Pete area.

    Stu can take his attempt at blackmailing the taxpayers of Florida and shove it.

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    • Marc says:

      Ding ding ding.

      This petulant attitude from Sternberg and his lemmings (some here on this thread) is amazing. Every time he bitches and moans about attendance, he turns off another sector of fans. I know, because I'm one of them. Went to 10-12 games last year...1 this year and then I decided enough was enough with all that attendance gripes.

      Nobody thanked me for spending my $$ last year, all I heard was that it basically wasn't enough. So I will spend it elsewhere...where it is valued and appreciated.

      There are no other options for Stu. This team is not moving. There is nowhere they can go. He is the one who bought a team with an insane lease in a dump of a stadium in a very inconvenient location from the population base. He is not getting a new stadium anytime soon unless he builds it.

      If he doesn't like the way his investment is turning out, he can sell it. Insulting and constantly griping about his customer base just lessens the value of his own investment even more.

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  3. Martin B says:

    I guess we shouldn't be surprised though. People from the financial services industry love living on government money.

    Privatize profits, socialize losses. Stu is no different than the Wall Streeters who got the country into its current mess.

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  4. Michael says:

    It sounds like he would like to sell.

    Sounds like someone who thought that he would buy the team, squeeze every ounce of blood from the stone (which, to his credit, he has), and expect people to throw rose petals at his feet.

    The Rays are a team that give hardcore baseball fans and baseball purists wet dreams.

    However, that team, and the team that the casual fan wants to see may indeed be different teams.

    If Stu is in the business of making money, and not winning, then he should have looked at the Twins instead of the A's.

    The Twins are in a market that happens to also be struggling to sell football tickets, their team is abysmal, and yet they fill that beautiful stadium quite often.

    If my goal as an owner was to just fill seats, I would look at whatever they are doing.

    It's discouraging that he feels like the stadium situation is hopeless.

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  5. Jeff says:

    Where exactly did Sterberg blame the loss on attendance???

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    • Sarah says:

      He said that they lost because they needed more hitting, but that he wasn't able to add those additional hitters because of low attendance. His exact quotation from Shelton's column:

      • "As the owner, I could have affected things today. Today, and a couple of games where a thumper would thump. I could decide to mortgage the future and trade all the young guys, but the truth is that we would only get $9.82 extra at the gate. So what's the sense?"

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  6. jim says:

    stu, lets start by being honest. with a $40 million payroll, what kind of profit did you turn? you generated somewhere around $150 million in total revenue this year.

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  7. Tyler says:

    Stu man, you're brilliant but you're a mean bastard, always toying with my emotions. I hope part of this rhetoric is just scare tactics 'cause if I lose this team, well, that would be a tragedy from which I may never recover.

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  8. mike says:

    My kids love the rays. We went to game 3. We went to 9 reg season games. If you love baseball you'll go. The problem is the "I can take it or leave it" crowd is missing. Winning does not necessarily equal "entertainment." For example, the fringe fans were interested in seeing manram early this year. I really wanted to see pujols. Moneyball, sabermetrics, and the extra 2% win, but are kinda boring.

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  9. Matt says:

    So, I mean...he's right, right?

    Yes, it's bad timing. But it's never really 'good' timing to complain about your fans.

    His point is completely valid: no matter what kind of product he puts on the field, there is a point of diminishing returns for him. There is absolutely NO POINT in him spending an extra $10-30M/year on this team. He might as well do what he's been doing, field a wild card team, and gripe about making very little.

    The fact of the matter is, this team will continue to make little money until (a) baseball's revenue sharing model is changed or (b) the team moves into a fancy new stadium and draws an extra 5-10k people per game. And neither of those things are happening (a) ever, probably or (b) in the next 5-10 years.

    This is a team with a great owner, GM, manager, and players. The only thing they don't have is a good stadium and enough good fans. This issue will continue to surface until one of those things changes.

    In all likelihood, this team will get worse before they get a new stadium and that will make getting the stadium nearly impossible.

    Until then, it's Stu's job as owner to gripe and complain because that's the only chance he ever has at getting his way. Let's just accept it and move on.

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    • jim says:

      the tv contract is around $13 million a year. in 2007, the rays turned around a $10 million profit with a $36 million dollar payroll.

      in 2011, we had a $41 million payroll, 200k more fans, higher ticket prices, more merchandise sold, more parking revenue, more concessions, 2 home playoff games. so how much profit is necessary to be happy?

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      • Matt says:

        Very good question. I don't know...as much as possible?

        But as a businessman, it's his job to maximize his profit, right? And when he sees teams like the Twins getting new stadiums and great attendance, he's got to think 'why not me?', right?

        I truly believe that many other owners with good stadiums are satisfied that there is little more than can do aside from winning to increase profits.

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        • jim says:

          matt, i guess the problem is this. in todays economy, any business should be happy with a profit.

          according to the listed numbers the red sox, mets, and tigers all lost money in 2010. while the A's, pirates, and marlins both made over $20 million in profit.

          the smaller teams with the worst attendance got over $400 million from the big boys. stu is completely full of crap and made more than the red sox did in total profit in 2010 according to forbes.

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    • Sarah says:

      No, Matt, I don't think it's Stu's job to gripe. I think it's his job to find more customers. What other consumer or entertainment business deals with disappointing results by publicly berating their potential customers? I don't see how his venting helps anything.

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      • GeneralAntilles says:

        After a certain point it just becomes self-fulfilling. Frankly, attended far fewer games this year than last primarily because the owner, the management, and even Maddon can't help but bitch about the attendance, the stadium, and its location at every turn. If you don't want me as a fan, then fine. Move the team. The Pinellas and Hillsborough taxpayers aren't going to build you a new playground.

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      • Matt says:

        I'd say griping and threatening worked pretty well for the Glazers, right?

        And you and I both know sports works differently than most businesses.

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  10. Gus says:

    The Rangers got an $80M check in March as a "bonus" on their new $80M a year TV contract that starts in 2014. Stu and the 2% crew got snookered on their Fox TV contract IN 2006 and clear somewhere closer to $10M a year on it (Cork: Is my memory right there?) . THAT IS THE DIFFERENCE. THAT IS WHAT MATTERS. 1M MORE FANS EQUALS $20M IN ADDITIONAL REVENUES. THAT WILL NEVER BRIDGE THE $70M GAP IN LOCAL TV REVNUES, EVEN WITH SOME REVENUE SHARING PAYMENTS COMING IN.

    Again, good luck selling season tickets when your owner is poisioning the well. Stop scapegoating the fans for your lousy TV deal.

    http://www.dallasnews.com/sports/texas-rangers/headlines/20100927-Rangers-new-20-year-2344.ece

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    • Matt says:

      Is there any chance in hell the Rays could get the Rangers' TV contract, even if it was signed now?

      I mean, we're talking about the Dallas market, which is one of the largest in the U.S., and a team that has been around for a lot, lot longer.

      What is the value of the TV deals from like teams (Oakland, Minnesota, etc.)?

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      • jim says:

        in 2008, we made around 13.5 million off of tv and radio, the marlins made about 16 million.

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      • Gus says:

        http://www.tvb.org/media/file/TVB_Market_Profiles_Nielsen_Household_DMA_RANKS.pdf

        Dallas is 5th; Tampa Bay is 15th, and about 2/3rds the size of Dallas. That TV contract is based on other markets in Texas also, and this is one area where the Rays can't cry poor. They have nice-sized secondary TV markets all around -- Orlando,Ft. Myers-Naples, even Jax. Florida is the 4th largest state in the USA and they have one of 2 franchises. If their TV contract stinks, it is not the fans fault. It is ownership's fault. Somebody in the media needs to call them on that.

        Part of it is timing. The Rangers came out of bankruptcy court last year and they are the first new one I think (until the Dodgers ink their new one). The Rays signed theirs at a low ebb in 2006, as the new owners were looking for cash. Maybe Cork has the data on the regional TV contracts, but I know the Rays and Marlins were the worst at one point. Given their ratings, the Rays have outperformed this TV contract in a big way.

        But the material difference between the Rays and Rangers revenues isn't the attendance gap. It starts with the massive difference in the TV deal, which gives them revenue certainty, which allows them to buy expensive players like Beltran which also helps you win and sell season tickets.

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  11. JJ Blaha says:

    This is a horrible argument in a time of recession... Alot of us are in hard times, and rely on our Rays as a way to step out of hardning reality if only for the 4 hours the game is on. I have gone to games, and I can tell you alot of us love The Trop... So who wants a new stadium more? The team owners (millionaires) or the fans (recession sufferers)? I dont think we were even expected to make the playoffs by the owners this season after losing all the free agents last season, it was the magic and heart of Joe Maddon and the players that put us there with a very small payroll... So i refuse to believe that Sternberg was a part of that magnificant playoff run... Speak for yourself Sternberg, dont speak for the fans.

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    • Jeff says:

      Give it a rest with the hard times garbage. We did not pack a playoff game. You think that happens in Detroit??? Times are even harder there.

      I went to dinner the other night, spent 50 minutes waiting for a table and for 4 of us I spent over $90. I have spent less at a Rays game. I know where to park for free, bring in my own food, etc. etc. Guess times aren't so hard that people still go out to dinner and that is fine. It is their choice where to spend their money but then understand that when the Rays leave the reason why.

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  12. CC says:

    Hey Stu. Quit your whining. Open up the books and be honest with the fans. You are making a profit but just not as much as the others. We are a competitive team with our payroll. Be happy about that. Why not thank the fans that did come out instead of chastising the whole community? If you want to bitch about something. Why don't you and the other small market owners push for a salary cap like the other major sports? Seems to be working out just fine for them. But we all know you don't want to upset the owners of the large market teams like the Steinbrenners. GFY!

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  13. jim says:

    the only way the big owners would consider a salary cap is if they stopped with the revenue sharing. there's no way that stu would want that, mlb strokes the rays and small market teams a $35 million dollar check every year.

    and if there was a cap, then there would also be a floor. and it would be well over $40 million a year.

    mlb basically covers our payroll. and that's not counting the national TV money on top of that.

    like i said, we generated at least $150 million in total revenue this year, you can't tell me that we didn't turn at least a $10 million profit.

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    • CC says:

      If set up correctly there still would be revenue sharing that would allow "ALL" teams to compete and make a huge profit. It would only make the sport that much better to have competition throughout the league.There are billions of $$ involved in MLB. There would be no problem with any team meeting a salary floor.

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  14. MarkE says:

    This Rays ownership is one of the best in sports when it comes to extracting success out of so little year after year. When I think back to the Naimoli years, my stomach turns. If Sternberg sells the team, the most painful loss would be Andrew Friedman, who would surely be gone as well (and still might be lost this offseason).

    So I give the ownership its props for incredibly successful baseball management performance. That said -- Sternberg, shut the #### up! For such an intelligent businessman, you seem to have no clue as to what NOT to say publicly. You have stupidly created a culture of "us against The Man" between the fans and you respectively. You have made the hungry, unemployed, desperate, baseball-loving families of Tampa Bay feel OBLIGATED to spend their limited income on YOUR PROFIT. And you seem to be defiantly waiting on the edge of your seat for the next New York media pulpit to afford you a chance to impetuously explain to the world what a victim of the cheap, stingy, sports-hating fans of Tampa Bay you are.

    Mr. Sternberg, your shots over the fans’ bow about “baseball finding another place for you and your team” are blanks. You’re mostly shooting at fish in a barrel.

    Please, just once, publicly acknowledge the economic atmosphere in Tampa Bay. I know you’ve never been hungry Mr. Sternberg, but try for just one moment to put yourself in the shoes of the baseball fan who is working 2 part time jobs to feed his/her family, and imagine watching Stu Sternberg on NY television brashly complaining about that fan not buying tickets to your investment. Please take a moment and let that sink in.

    You took a business risk making an investment in a team that was in the smaller half of baseball city demographics. You took a business risk that that city (who took an even bigger risk than you) who built the stadium for the team would allow you to default on, or renegotiate your lease. Just like most investments, your risk doesn’t pay off when the economy downturns. Particularly the worst economy many of us have seen in our lifetimes. It’s a lousy deal that you’re not making the projected profit numbers because of the terrible, coincidental timing, but please, to put it in terms you may understand: don’t blame the fans for your bear market.

    The Bucs proved that this IS a respectable, viable sports town. They sold out every game for almost a decade. Then two things happened: they stopped investing in their product, then the economy fell apart. So they too are suffering the effects of a downturn in their investment. That’s all it is Stu, a lull in the economic atmosphere. You purchased an investment that provides ENTERTAINMENT – the first thing people trim out of their budgets when money gets tight. If you’d have purchased a dollar store chain or a grocery store, it would have been less risky, yet more profitable in the current economy.

    Mr. Sternberg, I believe that under your ownership we will lose OUR baseball team. And if anything you say about your childhood history of baseball adoration is true, let me appeal to whatever sense of traditional baseball loyalty your capitalistic success may have spared: there ARE fans in Tampa Bay Mr. Sternberg. There are enough baseball fans to fill the Trop many times over. There are fans that are more loyal and fanatic than you ever were, even in your childhood as you watched Koufax pitch and dreamt about playing for the Mets. There are men, women and children who would give almost anything to attend any Rays game they could – they would give anything -- except food on the table. Please pause for a moment and try to comprehend that.

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    • Jeff says:

      So sad how wrong you are.....

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      • MarkE says:

        Really Jeff? Enjoy your secure employment. I'm happy for you. Count your blessings. I won't get too personal, but a lot of people in my life would love to be able to make the "choice" of baseball over other "things".

        Like I said, I believe the Rays WILL leave some day, and it will be incredibly sad for myself, my kids, my dad... but I'm certainly not going to blame myself or other fans that they left.

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        • Jeff says:

          There is no doubt that these are trying times and those who are unable to have a choice of where to spend there money should never consider a baseball game over food, shelter, etc.

          But come on now, there are plenty who have a choice and choose not to go to the games. Whether it is b/c they do not like baseball, are fans of another club, or choose to only go to 1 or 2 games. Restaurants I go to are still packed. People are spending their money. That is fine and that is their choice. But TV rating are down over 30% from last season as well so the money argument becomes weak.

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          • Hal says:

            Really? Packed? I live in Pasco and restaurant after restaurant has closed in the last two years. And not just mom and pop breakfast places - Outback, Denny's, Lone Star - big national chains. Hell, Target closed 4 stores nationwide a couple of years ago and the Port Richey Target was one of the unlucky few on that list. I too occasionally go out to eat (and attend occasional Rays games), and places are no longer near as busy as years ago. But congrats on all of your money.

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          • MarkE says:

            Exactly Jeff. TV ratings are down. Why do you think that is? How do you explain that? Did tens of thousands of 2009 and 2010 fans just move out of the viewing area? No, of course not -- they stopped watching.

            Did they stop watching because they can't afford cable TV? Did they stop watching because the offense was unprecedentedly poor and boring (to some) this year? Did they stop watching because Sternberg has created this "us against them" climate that is counter productive to customer relations and sales? A combination of all of the above?

            How would YOU, Jeff, explain why ratings are down? Do you expect us to believe that in '09 and '10, the best-in-baseball TV ratings increases were due to the Bay Area suddenly being a baseball town, then in 2011, suddenly not? That's not even a "weak" argument.

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          • Jeff says:

            Hal, you are right I am loaded. Thank God my wife don't realize that. LOL.

            I don't live in Pasco so cannot comment about there. I live in Palm Harbor and every establishment I attend is doing quite well. Like I have said before, just went to dinner Saturday night and waited 50 minutes to sit. I work in Tampa and it is the same. As I keep saying. If you can't afford to go please don't. But there are plenty in this area that can and choose not to for what ever reason.

            Rays tickets are cheap, you can park for free if you don't mind walking, and can bring food and water into the game. They have gone out of their way to make it as affordable as possible. I have taken 4 of us to plenty of games and not spent a dime over $50.

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          • Jeff says:

            Mark - I watch the Rays because I love baseball. Could care less what Stu has to say. He can say whatever he wants and it will NEVER stop me from watching the Rays as long as they are my hometown club. I love the sport but also realize it is a business and Stu is in it to make money.
            Lots of it. I am a firm believer in capitalism so he can make all he wants for all I care.

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      • MarkE says:

        Hey Jeff, don't look now, but I agree with everything you just said. I also could care less what Stu says... until he starts threatening that our team will be "vaporized" and blaming the fans for it. I am also a firm believer in capitalism... it's part of what made this the greatest nation on Earth.

        I'll summarize my initial point: Stu: YOU took a business risk (capitalism); YOUR investment is experiencing a very ill-timed, unprecedented economy dump; despite the economy and attendance woes, YOUR profit this year is more than I or my entire generation will make in our lifetimes; So please don't walk into the enemy's camp (NY, BSPN...) and use their national exposure to point a judgmental finger at me because I didn't purchase more of your product while my family's actual quality of life is in jeopardy.

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        • Jeff says:

          You see there is a difference. You say you don't care what Stu says and then add "Until". I really could care less what he says.

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    • Sarah says:

      Nicely put!

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  15. Katie says:

    I was at Tuesday's game. Mostly because I don't have a job, and therefore have nothing to do in the middle of the afternoon. My sister came because her birthday is this month and all she wanted was to go to a Ray's playoff game. My dad couldn't come because when the game time was announced he didn't really have a choice except to go to work; so we called a friend who we were sure had nothing to do at 2 o'clock on a Wednesday to tag along with us.

    The people who were there in our section were fantastic fans. Really lovely people who didn't complain, or bemoan every home run; people who stood and cheered the whole way. We made "game friends" with the people sitting around us. We thought the energy was there, and the people were there (especially considering the time slot). Plus, they were there until the last out. There weren't a lot of people abandoning ship in the middle of the ninth. We stayed, we stood, we cheered. It was fun.

    People in the Tampa Bay area love this team. I live in Tampa, my sister in Brandon, and our friend in Plant City. It's a pain getting in and out of Tropicana/St. Pete but we make it work for the team; and, you know, because baseball is so glorious to us.

    I don't know what the solution is here, but on the interstate last night my sister said, "I know I'll be a Rays fan for life. Until I die. I want to travel around the world in my Rays shirt so everyone knows. I wish I was a kid again so I could run the bases at the Trop on a Sunday. This is my team, and I'm so proud of them." Me too. I'm proud, and I was proud to be there at the end.

    PS - We sat in right field and saw Rangers batting practice and that Hamilton home run into the Pepsi advertisement was really, kind of scary...and really, kind of awesome.

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    • Gus says:

      As a wise man (Lee Elia) once said about weekday baseball:
      "85% of the people have real jobs, the other 15% come out here and boo our a**." Tough to skip out on work for most people.

      People have been pretty good fans despite being crapped on by onwership since the day the franchise was awarded (and by MLB for years before). We'll outlive Stu's ownership reign. Forget him.

      Go Rays.

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  16. Russ says:

    How are you going to bash Stu? They have the lowest ticket prices in MLB, free parking with cars that have 4 or more, and you can bring in your own food and drinks. How many other places say that? He spent money on the Trop when he first bought to make it a little better. He then put money into the team. He asked for a new stadium and everyone told him win before asking for a new stadium. They have been in the playoffs for 3 out of the last 4 years, but still no one goes to the games. Don't give that crap cause of the economy. The Lightning sold out every playoff game, the Bucs sold out Monday night football and the Rays sold out all their previous Playoff games.

    For anyone that says anything about not selling out yesterday's game with the excuse that it was a 2pm game just remember they had a 1:37 game last year for the playoffs and they sold out.

    People here in Tampa just love to complain about everything and blame everyone else except themselves. And for the record I do live in Clearwater and not from up North or from a different area.

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    • CC says:

      Hey Russ. Have you gone from team to team sites and compared the ticket prices. You have not because they are not the least expensive. You are repeating what others have said. Look at this comparison.
      http://www.fansnap.com/blog/2011/03/30/mlb-ticket-market-prices-higher-in-2011-because-of-phillies-and-red-sox-tickets/

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      • jim says:

        the rays probably turned around a $20 million dollar profit this year. some of the larger market teams lost money!!!! stu could have easily spent that $20 million on payroll instead of his pocket.

        so does he want to compete or turn a profit. yeah i know both. but in this economy, he may have to chose. is he a baseball fan or a businessman.

        either way bashing the fans isn't going to do a damn thing, except to resent his rich ass.

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      • Sarah says:

        CC, I have no idea whether Rays tickets are cheaper than others, but I would definitely not use the website you cited as evidence either way. They don't provide a source for their information or anything explaining how they collected the data. So according to this site, in 2011 the average Marlin's ticket was $25, and the average Rays ticket $60. Really? And the same site claims that the average Marlins ticket in 2009 was $100!

        So -- let's agree that we have no idea how Rays ticket prices compare to others, and leave it at that.

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        • CC says:

          Sarah yes,i quoted that site. But i personally have gone from team site to team site to check prices. I did that earlier in the year. And we are not the lowest. Somewhere in the middle.

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      • Russ says:

        CC yes I have gone through other team sites. Hell I even just did a little research to show how wrong your little team ave ticket prices are. According to your graph the average ticket prices for Tigers went down from $56 to $54. Here is a link from the Detroit newspaper (http://www.mlive.com/tigers/index.ssf/2010/11/putting_tigers_2011_ticket_pri.html) talking about raising prices and they did lower some tickets. In the article they say Outfield Tickets go for $19 - $28. They also have $5 limited seats that would help bring that average down. The Rays you can get an Outfield/ Party Deck Ticket Ranging from $9 - $27. You have to remember they are talking about Average. Yes there Rays do have some expensive Ticket Sections. The point I was trying to make you can buy a $9 dollar Outfield Ticket to get in the door. There were plenty of games that there was hardly anyone sitting in the Outfield. You can not find a $9 ticket for a lot of Teams that are not limited.

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        • CC says:

          If you did like you say you did you would see that we are not the lowest like you say. And damn near every team has a cheap ticket.

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          • Russ says:

            CC and if you actually knew how to research you would actually see I am right. The article for the Tigers ticket prices say that the average ticket would go up over $2 yet your site states they went down. A lot of teams offer limited (key word) which means not many. While the Rays offer the enitre Outfield for $9. Just having the limited will bring people average down there tough guy. If you don't support the Rays or Stu then go some where else. Like I said previously people in Tampa Bay love to bitch and complain. They blame everyone else expect for themselves. They offer cheap tickets and ways to see games cheaper then other teams. It is hard to say they make enough money to get high price players when they have a horrible TV deal (CC you will notice in previous articles that is a fact) and prior busines deals by Namoli have hurt this team. If you do not have a big attendance then it would be hard to sustain a payroll to keep high prices hitters.

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          • jim says:

            here's a site that states that the rays don't have the cheapest average ticket price.

            http://teammarketing.com.ismmedia.com/ISM3/std-content/repos/Top/News/2010_mlb_fci.pdf

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  17. CA says:

    The location and condition of the stadium is the last obstacle in the complete turnaround the Rays' ownership has made. Though communication was poorly timed, that is what Sternberg is feeling. Bottom line, the Rays will not be playing baseball at Tropicana Field for much longer. The proximity of the stadium to households and businesses is one of the poorest in major league sports. The city of St. Pete should acknowledge the Rays are leaving the Trop and maximize what they can receive in return for the departure. Otherwise, MLB and attorneys will get involved, they will still loose the team, and miss an opportunity to maximize compensation.

    Tampa is the best option for Sternberg after departing the Trop (better than San Antonio, Charlotte, Vegas, etc.). A new stadium will be built in Tampa through some sort of public/private partnership. The Rays will be able to increase their revenue through higher tickets sales and increased fan interest (which will improve TV deals, advertising sales, and merchandise).

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    • Gus says:

      CA you speak with such certainty, I ask you the following modest question:

      When has a major league franchise in any sport breached a lease before it is relocated? I'm unaware that it has ever happened. In fact, I'm pretty sure that it hasn't, but would love to see any other examples.

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      • CA says:

        Good question. However, departure from The Trop doesn't have to occurr through a "breach of contract on the lease agreement." Some sort of settlement/compensation should be agreed upon. The Rays and St. Pete can both "win" in such a situation.

        The Twins leaving the Metrodome went through a law suit, Selig got involved, was pretty ugly, and ultimately a new stadium was built. Not an identical situation, but reasonably similar.

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      • Russ says:

        Gus,

        When the Seattle Sonics were bought by the new group they announced they were leaving for Oklahoma City on October 31, 2007 and there lease was till 2010. They ended up making a settlement on July 2, 2008.

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        • Gus says:

          In Seattle, the NBA wouldn't let the Sonics move until they reached a settlement with the City on the last 2 years of their lease because of the likelihood of litigation that would keep them as a lame duck in Seattle. Seattle took the money. St. Petersburg would be idiotic to do that with 17 years to go on the lease.

          To get to that point, Seattle's owners had tried to sell the team locally and tired and failed at a referendum for a new arena.

          A long way from being 5,000 short of a sellout on a weekday playoff game as "grounds" for escaping a lease and vaporizing the team. What a dolt.

          He can poison the well all he wants. But that doesn't mean he can screw the taxpayers of the deal the team cut and a deal he knew about when he bought the team. He came to the so-called "stadium problem". Nobody forced it on him. No court on earth is going to let him out of it.

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    • Jeff says:

      Wow. Someone who actually makes sense.

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  18. Steve says:

    Only a Goldman Sachs alum would try to convince everybody that its smarter in a depressed economy to "double down" and spend more money on a stadium. In 2008 it was the Big Short, I guess now its the Big Screw.

    We spent about $10 million on draft picks this year, twice what Stu said would have been the difference, I don't need Wall Street magic to tell me that there's a point of diminishing returns on baseball prospects so accumulating 20 of them doesn't necessarily mean you're getting more, you're just spending more

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  19. lightningbuc says:

    Hey Stu, wanna know why attendance sucks? Cuz everytime the Rays owner opens his pie hole, stupidity flows out of it! So an hour after your team has just poured its guts out for you in an improbable historical run, the only thing on your mind is attendance, a stadium, the team disappearing into the vapors? Man, that makes me want to run out and buy tickets for next year. Everybody complains about the lack of corporate support, yet who can blame them when Stuie is telling us our team will "vaporize" soon.

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    • Sarah says:

      Someone from the Rays marketing department needs to be put in charge of keeping Stu away from reporters at these times. Let him loose from November- February, he can complain all he wants.

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  20. Ken Heller says:

    Sorry Stuart but you are so full of crap I can see it oozing from your lips every time you open your mouth. The Rays averaged about 20,000 per game overall this year. if the average spent per attendee was $50.00 the gross is $81,000,000. That's 81 million Stewie. You say you can't afford players? Texas signed Napoli for a 4.8 million one year deal. You gave Damon and Manny more than that for 1/2 the production. I could go on and on. Shoppach a value at 3 Million? Howell 1 million? Need I continue? What about the big fat revenue sharing check your gonna get? How much is that worth? TV revenue? How much? Is it our fault that you negotiated a poor contract? Why should the citizens of the bay area support giving you millions for a new stadium when you won't support your own franchise by spending a few million more on some needed bats. Stewie, your an investment banker, we know how you all do business. Sell the team to Cuban and get the $$$ back to New York.

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    • Russ says:

      Ken there is not revenue sharing in Major League Baseball. They have a Salary Tax instead. If your Salary goes above a certain number then you would pay this tax.

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      • Ken Heller says:

        Call it what you want Russ, the small market teams still get lots of $$ from the big market teams year after year and all of it goes into those "poor" owners pockets.

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  21. CC says:

    Russ, your are a [fellow Rays fan]. Here are the prices. The entire outfield is not $9. Do your research tough guy.

    Rays 2011 ticket prices

    Diamond Platinum Gold Silver

    Seating Section (9 gms) (13 gms) (29gms) (30 gms)

    Avantair Home PlateClub $300 $275 $255 $210

    WhitneyBankClub $175 $155 $125 $115

    WhitneyBankClub 105 $170 $150 $120 $110

    FieldsideBox $142 $115 $92 $80

    LowerInfieldBox $100 $80 $66 $55

    LowerBox $70 $62 $50 $40

    PressLevel $50 $46 $37 $28

    BaselineBox $39 $35 $29 $21

    Outfield $27 $25 $21 $17

    UpperBox $23 $21 $16 $9

    UpperReserved/

    tbt*PartyDeck $19 $17 $12 $9

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    • Russ says:

      I named the wrong section. My bad. But you did prove my point that they have more than one section that is $9. The Outfield is $17. And yes i know those are for 30 games. And they would be $12 for 29 games. You are still not proving your point that these are high priced tickets or they are in the middle of the pack. Which was your orginal comment. [fellow Rays fan].

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      • CC says:

        Hey [fellow Rays fan], my original point was according to you and I quote "How are you going to bash Stu? They have the lowest ticket prices in MLB," They don't have the lowest prices in MLB. That is my point.

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      • CC says:

        Here is your original comment "How are you going to bash Stu? They have the lowest ticket prices in MLB," You are wrong. That is my point.They do not have the lowest ticket prices in MLB.

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    • Ken Heller says:

      Side note CC. I went to New York last September to see a Rays/Yanks game (Sabbithia against Price). We won, remember? I sat in a lower box equivalent to Section 128 at the Trop. Cost, you ask? $70.00 face value ticket, exactly the same price the Rays charge. Amenities included padded seats, waiter service for drinks and food and entertainingly weird Yankee fans. The "low ticket price" line is a myth.

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      • CC says:

        Thank You Ken.

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      • Sarah says:

        Ken, sorry to belabor this, but according to the Yankees website you'd pay $95 for the equivalent of our Section 128. And our tickets in that section at the Trop are only $70 for "prime games" -- the $95 is the standard price for that section of Yankee stadium.

        At Tropicana Field if you avoid the prime games you can get good value. And if you want padded seats, try the sections near the press box.

        Can't say that this is entirely germane to the larger discussion, but at least let's have the discussion based on solid information. Clearly there's some reason the rays don't draw bigger crowds; I don't think high prices are the full, or even partial explanation; and the Rays ownership should stop yelling at fans for not coming, because clearly all that does is demoralize the fan base.

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        • Ken Heller says:

          Sorry Sarah, it is you who are incorrect. I have the ticket stubs to prove it. I'll gladly pdf them to you. Got them off Stub Hub. Section 129 row 18 seats 1-4. I do see where this year prices are up $10.00 for that section to $80.00 for season tix. This year I bought 4 tix for 313.50 for Section 130, row 15, seats 15, 16, 17, 18 again off stub hub for the 8/14 game that was rained out between Rays/Yanks. Again, less than $80 a tix with the 15% fee. Do your homework. Nobody going to a causal Yanks game in the city ever pays face price. I go twice a year.

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  22. Lancealot says:

    I can see both sides of the argument.

    The stadium location...the economy as being a reason why fans won't go.
    And, that the timing of the complaint from the owner being bad.

    However, I am still a bit surprised that the attendance wasn't higher in September.

    I'm not that surprised by the second playoff game's attendance. I remember many times the Atlanta Braves during their dominant run failed to sellout quite a few early round playoff games. I think those fans were a bit spoiled by the success. I bet they realize they took it for granted now.

    But, when you are playing lights out baseball in September; coupled with one of the all-time collapses....you would think that it's not only "must see tv" but must see in person! I mean it would have been so much fun to see the stadium rocking. People packing the place hours before the game....etc....
    I'm not saying that fans are obligated to go. They aren't. But, I think later in the future there will be certain people that will be saddened that they didn't go to at least one of those games down the stretch. It's so RARE in baseball to get that type of a run that ends on the final day. That last day of this year's season will go down as one of the best days in baseball history. And, that is an understatement. It reminded me of March Madness when you have 3 or 4 games at the same time going down to the wire.

    Also, Detroit and Michigan in general along with Ohio have been hard hit economic-wise. But, they sell lots of tickets for Tigers, Lions and Wolverines. Ohio State football sells many tickets despite their off the field problems and new coach this year. Even, out in L.A. where there so many things to do and go....the USC Trojans sell lots of tickets despite NCAA penalties and no bowl games for a second year in a row. Somehow, that doesn't keep people from not going.

    A team that is young and exciting...with an excellent pitching staff. You would think there would be more attendance especially in September.

    The interesting situation is when Florida Marlins move to their new stadium next year. What is their attendance like after the "novelty" of a new stadium dissipates. Can they continue to draw?

    If not....I wonder if the Rays would move rather than build a new stadium. That would be sad. Since, Tampa is the one team in the AL East that has consistently battled NY and Bos over the past few years. It would be a shame if they move to a different city in the future.

    It's a bit confusing as to why MLB has low attendance with the Florida teams. Just from a baseball view. Florida is a such a great state for baseball high school and college. There should be a lot of diehard baseball fans there right?

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    • Drew says:

      Good points, however, I think that to people who aren't true baseball fans, this team is the opposite of exciting. People don't go to games to watch us score 2 or less runs 1/3 of the time (or whatever it was this year).

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  23. MarkE says:

    Wow Cork! 60 comments! NICE article.

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  24. Dave L says:

    Imagine ANY other business in america.

    Company Owner is a public figure and his revenues profits etc can be estimated within some degree of range.

    Owner publicly complains he only made a $10 mil yearly profit on a $40 mil investment. Then owner of company publicly tells his customers repeatedly that they collectively suck and are not worthy of his product.

    Media repeatedly tell the nation and specifically his customer base his product is defective (Trop sucks). And owner incredibly agrees at every opportunity. Even the local media who never actually consume his product (sit in stands) echo the sentiment that his product is inferior(Trop sucks)

    Then owner of company complains loudly that he doesnt understand why his customer don't buy more of his product.

    Only in the context of sports is this whole scenario not ludicrous.

    You guys on this board who defend this guy are either:

    1) Just like to argue
    2) Tampans who will back any arguement that gets the team closer to you
    3) Deluisonal

    It only seems logical to him if you understand his perspective

    He wants free taxpayer money so he can make even greater profits.

    He belongs to a Billionaires club, sports owners, whose only frame of reference is to each other and how much THEY make. How else could one explain how such wonderful profits could be claimed to be a bad thing???

    Shut up you carpetbagging *%$#@ new yorker. I for one LOVE your team but HATE you because you are a greedly ungrateful SOB

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    • Steve says:

      Amen, everything about this is "through the looking glass", its hard to square the position of ownership with reality. These guys have a bad TV deal and in a bad economy no development rights around the stadium. With a RSN they'll have all the money they need to field a competitive team at the Trop and make a few million more.

      I just bristle when I read about how the "owners have a point" about the impact of the gate on competitiveness. All more money is going to do is make a team spend it unwisely. Are the Sox better with CC investment? Was the Rangers investment of $96 million in Beltre wise? Sure it makes since for a few years and then its just a waste. The truth is that you can field a compeitive team and make a profit and you don't need to spend $100 million to do it, you probably don't have to spend $70million to do it. Look at the number of middle relievers making $2 and $3million dollars - - we've got homegrown guys making $400k who are just as good. The Speech from Sternberg was just marketing, he planned to give it when we were mathematically eliminated in September then after the last game of the regular season but he finally had to settle for playoff elimination but the speech was ready to go.

      I truly hope these guys sell the team and as long as Hunsicker stays we'll be fine.

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  25. Ken Heller says:

    Run Andrew Friedman, run as fast as you can to Chicago, Boston or Houston and continue to develop excellent teams. Your baseball acumen is wasted here. Your "loyalty" to Stew the J**W is misguided. He'll never let you you complete the puzzle. A few years from now there will be no Shields, Price, Davis, Hellickson, Longoria, Upton, Jennings etc. They'll cash in just like Carl did. Andrew, read the classics: The Myth of Sisyphus. Do you really want to suffer that fate?
    I, as a long time season ticket holder, have no choice. You do.
    Most successful sports team owners have one thing in common: an ego that can't accept failure. Sternburg is not cut from that cloth. He's a product of Wall Street, namely Goldman-Sachs. He says he won't trade the future of the club from one side of his mouth yet says the team has no future in this area from the other.
    Stewie, trot out to the beach one day before you return to the Hampton's, have a chat with the die-hard Rays fans out here about the economics of baseball, you might learn a thing or two. Oh yeah, we'll buy, hate to see you spend a few bucks of your own money.

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    • Dave L says:

      Ken what part of Andrew's acumen includes spending serious coin? What part of Andrews baseball smarts involved signing players that cost money? His record in even medium level signings is ho hum at best.

      The Friedman-JoeMa combo is about developing young and raw talent. Big market throw dollars at it teams dont give a ratsass about that.

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      • Ken Heller says:

        Point well taken Dave. I wasn't going to mention that lack of experience as I really respect the dude. All I'm suggesting is that maybe it's time that he tries his hand at kicking it up a notch. It will never happen here.

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        • Dave L says:

          Yeah its like putting CC ( formerly our CC not the rotund pitcher) in a postage stamp sized left field and having him field weak ass bounces off various boundries with his babygirl arm, lets be honest. The AF/JoeMado talent is not in spending money but saving it. Name me 1 instance where Andy F succeded in spending house money on proven talent and I will name you 3 cases where he failed miserably. Hey but maybe thats above the MLB average heheh

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    • rayalan says:

      Are you nuts. Sternberg is the reason for our success. He put all of this together and put the right people in place. As a season ticket holder myself, what have you been smoking to come up with such gibberish!!!!!!!

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  26. Mike says:

    Stu was just frustrated and vented, maybe more than he should have. That doesn't make him wrong. St. Pete is not a viable market for baseball. The economy is the biggest reason why attendance has not improved since 2008, but even in a good economy there is no way the Rays are going to get the 25k season tickets they need when they are playing in St. Pete. They are probably not going to get them in Tampa either, but they should get more. Hopefully the economy turns around and we can get a stadium proposal approved in Tampa in 2013 or 2014. If not, there is a good chance the Rays move somewhere else or Stu sells the team.

    In any event, lets just be thankful for the great season we just watched and look forward to next year. I plan to renew my season tickets and can't wait to see what we accomplish next year. We are only a bat or 2 away from being a serious world series contender. Lets hope Friedman can pull a little more magic and get it done. Go Rays!

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    • Ken Heller says:

      Mike. I'm as thankful as you for an electric ending to an otherwise frustrating regular season. However, Sternburg's comments put me over the top. I will not renew my season tickets. I will not ever give that cheap, ungrateful SOB another dime of my money. I'd rather travel to the Marlins new stadium and watch the Rays there. I have a feeling that there are many others that feel the same way. The die has been cast. He needs to sell the team to an ownership group that wants to win first, profit second.
      Stu says “When you’re sitting here at this point and you lost by a run, you know another X dollars might have changed things…Three or five million wouldn’t have changed things necessarily but 15 to 30 might have.
      That's such a line of crap. Jennings here for a full season could have made the difference. Review the moves made by contenders prior to 7/31. Delmon Young actually obtained after the deadline by the Tigers. Stu, we the fans and those players who gave all the had deserve better than you. Your infantile diatribe has caused a rift between ownership and the fan base that will never be repaired.
      Again, Sell and GTFO of Florida you ungrateful piece of garbage.

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      • Joe says:

        Right on Ken...I have said this for four years. I saw the chinks in his armor even during the World Series run. Sternberg is an ingrate. He has a divide and conquer game being played for him by his surrogates at 620 and the Times, as well as pitting Bill Foster against Bob Buckhorn. This is as sinister and treacherous as anything can be.

        I can't think of a more reprehensible attitude and man. And it is amazing that we got people still defending him. He just spat in the whole area's face, how can you defend a man who spits at your table? I am through with him

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      • rayalan says:

        Your smoking something again that is probably illegal. Where is this insanity coming from!!!

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  27. Patrick says:

    Can Stu just STFU for once? This is a good baseball team and yes, it may have been an another disappointing 1st round exit, but think back to where this team was 4 years ago and look at where it is now. Still a remarkable turnaround. And after we get eliminated, he has to depress the hell out of all of us by starting his crap again. He needs to realize that the economy sucks right now. It's not just the Rays. The Bucs aren't selling tickets either, in other words, attendence for all Tampa sports teams suck right now.

    And tell me, what's wrong with Tropicana Field. It opened in 1990, and is not even that old of a stadium. Looks like a fine stadium to me

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  28. Dave L says:

    anyone fawning over the rays free agent acumen is delusional.

    $$$$$ signings is irrelevant in the Rays rise

    the record of $1+MIL+ per year signings is horrible

    the record of trades for young prospects, castoffs, ne'er do-wells, projects is off the charts

    Stu's acumen is hiring Andrew and Maddon and his whining over his personal finances in public is disgraceful and disgusting and tone deaf as ever humanly possible.

    Take a page from the Glazers pagebook, buy a Euro soccer team and go away.

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  29. CC says:

    So lets set the record straight. The manager of our beloved baseball team calls the fans insane. And the owner is saying we suck as fans too. Hey Stu, do us all a favor and sell the team so we don't have to listen to your elitist ass anymore. Sure a new stadium would be nice, but in case you haven't noticed our economy is in shambles. If you think a new stadium is such a good investment. Why don't you build one yourself. For you to expect taxpayers to build you a stadium during a recession, you are the one who is insane!

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  30. Ken Heller says:

    One last thought before I start figuring out how to spend all the money I won't be giving to Stewie next year. MLB forced the citizens of Pittsburgh and the Twin Cities into publicly financing new ball parks. How's that worked out? Have they won anything since? Has any one heard ESPN bashing Pirate, Oriole, Houston, Toronto fans for low attendance? Beautiful parks all, shi**y teams all. Do the owners of those teams publicly trash their fans? Blame them for not reaching the playoffs?
    I reiterate my invite to you Stewie. C'mon out to the beach and say we're crappy fans to our faces. You'll get your smug ass bitch slapped all the way back north. Then, and only then, will you find at least one "insane" fan who will pity you. You too Joe, drop by KaTiki any time.

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    • Steve says:

      Read the WSJ article on the beatdown Cincinnati is experiencing after they caved to professional sports blackmail - - -

      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704461304576216330349497852.html

      My favorite part - - - "The Bengals had said that with a new stadium, the team's revenue would increase, allowing it to sign better players, win more games and attract more fans to the area. In 2000, the new stadium's first year, the Bengals had the same record they'd had the previous year, 4-12. Since then, the team has managed just two winning seasons in the new facility. Its attendance levels have actually dropped.

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  31. Patrick says:

    A new stadium is not gonna change things. The attendance is still gonna be bad. Moving it to Tampa won't do anything. Isn't Raymond James Stadium in Tampa? With the exception of MNF this week, have they been filling seats?

    Our economy sucks and will continue to suck for at least 5 more years. Maybe less if we get a new pres.

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  32. Bubba Trammell says:

    Has anyone ever thought that maybe we're just bad fans? Maybe we aren't a baseball market? I don't buy any of the poor economy stuff. I'm a college student. I drove 150 miles each way on Tuesday, paid for gas, bought an upper deck ticket, AND a beer at the game. Total: $80 for one person. If I can do that, it's hard for me to think an extra 8 or 10,000 people couldn't have done that.

    I'm with Stu. It's pathetic to not sell out a playoff game. Absolutely pathetic. As a fan base, we should be absolutely ashamed. We have the best story in baseball, and now it's gone to waste because the discussion has returned to our crappy attendance.

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    • rayalan says:

      Well said. We should be thankful for what this ownership group has provided this community.

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      • Dave L says:

        Yes and we should now due to his good graces provide him with a brand new taxpayer funded stadium so his yearly profits can be astronomic in these horrible economic times as opposed to merely spectacular as they are now.

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        • Bubba Trammell says:

          Why is everyone so certain the Rays are profitable right now? They made an operating income of $4 million in '08 with roughly the same payroll and better attendance. I don't think that number has gone up. If anything, it's gone down thanks to our wonderful TV deal.

          A taxpayer-funded stadium will not happen. It shouldn't happen.

          All I'm saying is that it's a shame that the focus has turned to attendance so soon after the season. It's not anyone's fault but our own.

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      • J says:

        Thankful? Disgusting.

        You seriously sicken me.

        Be thankful for metropolitan ministries, salvation army.

        Not the greedy Rays.

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      • Marc says:

        Thanks for chiming in Stu.

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    • MarkE says:

      It's all relative "Bubba". When you decided to spend your $80, did you have to weigh the choices first of paying your kids' health insurance, getting your kid new shoes, defaulting on your mortgage.....

      Look, this thread has turned into a "Love Stu vs. Hate Stu" forum. I think most fans don't love him or hate him, they have just been shoved over the edge by his latest, unnecessary, ill-timed, fan-blaming comments. He has done an incredible thing with the low resources he's chosen to spend -- all the props to him for that. But he's been confusingly unwise with his fan bashing, and he's done it through the vehicle of the national media -- a perceived enemy in these parts.

      Try to realize that all the hate comments on this thread are a result of extremely passionate RAYS FANS.... the very bread and butter of the team and the owner who has chosen to publicly judge and blame them. Some of the true Rays fans experienced pain after that lost playoff series. And the owner of the team, who should be thanking the fans who were loyal all year and showed up to the games, is throwing salt on their fresh wounds... for no other reason than greed.

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      • CC says:

        Agree 100%

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      • Bubba Trammell says:

        I wouldn't necessarily call it greed, Mark. Frustration is probably more like it. Listen, if you owned a business that put out a terrific product and nobody bought it, you'd be pissed off too, wouldn't you? Anyone would!

        That's simply what is happening now with Stu. I agree that it wasn't the most tactful way to say it, but the general message is accurate and clear. We NEED more fans to go to games, or else this will not be a profitable venture for him and he will sell the team to someone who will be even less tolerant of low attendance and probably look to move. It's all business. It's brutal, but in the long run, what we say here matters about as much as the piece of lint on his $2,000 suit.

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        • Marc says:

          If people aren't buying, then:
          A) you don't have a "terrific" product,
          2) you aren't marketing that "terrific" product well,
          D) economic conditions do not support that product

          None is the fault or responsibility of the customer base.

          The attendance and TV ratings graph keeps going down the more and more Sternberg, the players, Maddon, et al bitch about the attendance, the stadium, etc. It's Marketing Fail 101. God only knows what they actually say behind closed doors.

          These are tough times. I can understand some frustration he may have. But millionaires bitching about their non-millionaire customers is the worst thing that can be done about the situation. Because bitching is all it is...the veiled threats are all hollow: they aren't moving, they aren't folding, they aren't getting a new stadium anytime soon. He has no leverage right now.

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    • Steve says:

      Bubba, doesn't the fact that you are a college student mean it was easier for you to take off for an afternoon game? I'm past the point in my career where I have to ask to get time off, but I remember being in my twenties and the choice was more like, work and get a paycheck, see the game and don't get a paycheck. I checked something out the other day, one of the largest employers in Pinellas is HSN - - having known a few people who worked there, these aren't exactly thigh-paying jobs and they're a service oriented so you kind of have to be there - - would they just get a freebie to "support the local team"? Its hard for me to believe people are just bad fans, people make choices, and many times they make it based on what's in their wallet. God bless you if as a college student you have $80 to drop on a game, but I don't know that your situation is the norm from the perspective of a working family or for most college students.

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      • Bubba Trammell says:

        Steve, I come from a working-class family, and I'll tell you that my family's financial situation is hardly sparkling. I saved money from my internship this summer for a "playoff fund" in the event the Rays made the playoffs. I missed 4 classes on Tuesday for the game, which may not seem like a huge deal, but it's learning I won't get back.

        Our area has a disadvantage of having a lot of transplants who aren't exactly passionate about the team. Couple that with a lack of corporate power and you have a fan base that is the MLB equivalent of a disabled person. It's sad, but regardless, this was the playoffs.

        At this point, it's clear that there is no correlation between winning and attendance here. Because of that, it would be a good business decision for Stu to either sell or move the team, because the Rays aren't getting any more profitable in St. Petersburg.

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  33. jim says:

    Hey stu, you claims that you broke even this year, and lost a little last year. That just doesn’t add up. Our payroll is $25 million less and we went to the playoffs, there’s no way in hell that the ticket sales were down that much. So basically, BS. Forbes says that a team with poor attendance and a $40 payroll generally turns a profit of $20-$25 million a year, but somehow you broke even.

    And as far as your “you guys said if I produced a winner, then they would come” comment. Really? How much research did you do on this subject before you bought the team? All you had to do was look across the state and it would COMPLETELY SHOOT DOWN THAT THEORY. The marlins have WON two world series and can’t draw flies. So for you to make that statement is completely absurd.

    How many business owners in the tampa area that depend on disposable income of the public turned a profit last year? How many of those business owner could sell their business for 3 to 4 time what they paid for it? So please stu, STFU with your whining. No one wants to hear it.

    BTW, how many games did you come to this year

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    • jim says:

      also, ask the miami political leaders what they think about mlb owners' claims about their "profits". they were duped by the marlins owners that stated over and over about how much money they lost, and that they couldn't help finance the stadium. they never fully opened up their "real" books. when the deadspin documents came out and showed the real numbers, they looked like complete jackass for agreeing to finance the entire stadium. they even tried to withhold funding on the parking garage after that because it was to late to do anything about the actual stadium.

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      • lightningbuc says:

        Jim, couldn't agree more. Looks like Stu didn't do his due diligence. Who told him if you produce a winner, they'll come - Vince Naimoli? Guess 'ol Vince wasn't as dumb as we thought he was. He's probably laughing his ass off at this "Wall Streeter".

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  34. jim says:

    the diamondback game was 80% full. they're an expansion team, it was an early start, their season attendance is around 25K about 50% capacity. how many professional and major college sports teams are arizona vs florida?

    yet they are blaming the economy, not the stadium.

    http://www.azcentral.com/sports/diamondbacks/articles/2011/08/31/20110831arizona-diamondbacks-attendance-woes.html

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    • Beth says:

      Thanks for this link. It is interested how equally poor Diamondback attendance doesn't lead to the ire of the national sports media being heaped on Phoenix area fans. As they don't have the temerity to challenge the "big boys" of Boston and New York on the playing field, our national media doesn't much care about their attendance.

      And by the way, the person quoted in the story who says that Phoenix has the lowest median income of all MLB cities - not true! The median incomes for the Tampa-St. Pete area are significantly lower.

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  35. J says:

    Why, why, why... why should I support this team at this point?

    I love Tampa, and I supported the Rays for the seven years I lived in Boston. I took a lot of heat when the Rays started challenging the Sox.

    But due to the stadium debate, the fact that documents prove Stu lied about the financial situation, the fact that he's a rich mofo, I'm not so happy supporting the Rays any longer.

    Now we can't even boo when players or managers make stupid decisions?

    F@%k these guys. We pay their salary and they turn around with greed in their eyes and criticize me... criticize my friends and family because I don't hand over ALL MY MONEY TO STERNBEG and co.

    Seriously, f@%k these guys. I'm booing even louder now.

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  36. jim says:

    here's a question for everyone that attended playoff games in 08 and 11. what were you ticket prices? i haven't found my all my stubs from 08 but i'm pretty sure my upperlevel tix (low rows) were at least double for the ALDS in 11 vs 08. just curious.

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  37. lightningbuc says:

    Stu oughta take a look at the Lightning's Jeff Vinik. On second thought, Stu shouldn't because Vinik actually opened up his wallet and spent his own money on renovations, upgrades, etc. You never once heard the guy bemoan, belittle, or bitch about Tampa Bay. Oh yeah, and he bought a house here so he can have a presence in the community in which he is asking to buy his product. And now, surprise, they have like 14,000 season tickets sold.

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  38. nando says:

    Just sell the team already!!! yes, there ARE other markets that will welcome a team. besides, what kind of baseball hardcore fan or purist would root for a team that can't play in it's namesake city, their division rivals and baseball's most hated/loved team (NY Yankees) OWNS the city, has a spring training field and a statute of their former owner in tampa AND yet the Rays must drive an hour south for spring training. to say nothing of the fact that Toronto and Philadelphia also play in the area (probably more attendance in their spring training games than the Rays) AND Detroit and Boston also within an hour of Tampa!!! the problem is not lack of attendance, the problem is lack of fans who will leave their lifelong team for a mediocre outfit.

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