After committing three errors the other night in Toronto, Evan Longoria noted that the Blue Jays fans were especially tough on him. He also noted how few were at the game (via TampaBay.com)…

“When there’s only, what, 15,000 people there, you can hear everything that everybody’s saying.”

Yes, on Tuesday night, the official attendance was just 15,331. But here’s the problem that the Rays don’t enjoy: The actual number of fans at the Rogers Centre was probably half that figure. And even that might be too generous (see image above).

One of the big reasons for these discrepancies is that teams report tickets sold. And on a lot of weeknights, many of the tickets purchased by corporations go unused.

On the other hand, as we have noted here in the past, the Rays have very little corporate support. So when 10,000 fans show up at The Trop, the reported attendance might only be 11,000 or 12,000, and the national media loses its goddamned mind.

But when 8,000 show up in Toronto, they can still report 15,000. And nobody notices.

 

 
 

20 Comments

  1. don says:

    Most of them were Saying “Longoria you stink”…at least at the Rays “empty” park you don’t have listen to that longo..hey?

  2. angrybuddha says:

    I’m not the first to point this out, but Toronto is a sleeping giant. It’s a *major* city – 3M people in the metropolitan area, I believe. They have corporate support because every major corporation in Canada has a presence there. Hell, the Bank of Montreal is even headquartered in TO.

    Our corporate support sucks, but Toronto’s has the potential to be even better than it is. When they get good (and they will), they’re going to fill that place again and it’s going to be louder than the Trop.

  3. s says:

    So when Stu and company bought the Rays, they had the misguided impression that if they produced winners, then the fans would show up. I’ve made the comment that this was foolish because all they had to do was look across the state the see that theory completely shot down. The Marlins produced on the field multiple times and their attendance completely stunk.

    The easy excuse and rebuttal was they play in a football stadium, what do you expect? Well now the scammed and swindled the city of Miami to foot the bill for almost all of their brand new stadium. They only drew around 25K for each of the 3 weekday games against the Cubs. That’s pretty sad considering it’s only the second series of the year and they’re off to a decent start.

    Do I think that we have a bigger and more loyal fanbase than the Marlins? Yes. Do I think that the Marlins attendance is an indicator of what will happen in Tampa if we build a new stadium? Yes, I truly believe that once the new wears off of a new stadium in Tampa, then we will be right back at sub 18K during non prime weekday games.

    The smaller market teams cannot and will not ever be able to break away from MLB’s welfare system. The Marlins will be back in the bottom 1/3 in attendance in less than 3 years.

    So Stu and company turned a blind eye to the other part of the state when purchasing the team. They had better hope that the politicians do the same before plunking down a crapload of dollars to build a stadium that may never meet attendance expectations.

    Oh, but I forgot, it’s Ozzie’s fault!!!

  4. Toronto brah says:

    Everyone says the Trop is such a lousy place for a ballgame, but I can’t see why. Anything that keeps me from being exposed to the Tampa Bay shitopolitan area while fans from real AL East cities can watch their teams play is fucking awesome. Hurry up Athletics, the Rays need the Coliseum to boost their goddam payroll already.

    • ALLEN says:

      Clean up your language, moron.

    • Dave L says:

      Canada sent you to represent them, eh?

    • Boxauthor says:

      Lost on the “real” AL East team comment, bra. What puts a team in the category of a “real” AL East team?
      It can’t be that they play in the AL East, because you just dismissed the Rays as not real.
      It can’t be geographic location because if you hadn’t noticed, the Rays are certainly more east than the Jays.
      It can’t be winning the AL East division because the Jays haven’t done that since 1993.
      It can’t be snagging the AL wildcard cause the Jays have never done that.
      So seriously, can you please clarify what makes a team a REAL AL East team?

  5. Chris says:

    I’ll just say that if the Jays had been in contention for the last few years like the Rays the attendance would be way better. Toronto hasn’t played a significant game in 20 years, that takes a toll. If the Jays stay in contention through summer expect a marked increase in attendance.

  6. Wiffleballs says:

    Just wanted to point out that the Jays USED to report attendance according to ticket sales, but that practice ended two years ago. Attendance at games is actual people in the stadium now, but the place seems cavernous with the roof closed. You need at least 25-30K people present, then it gets hopping at Rogers Centre. The previous commenter is right about the sleeping giant thing.

    Signed,
    Jays FAN/DJF commenter

    • Cork Gaines says:

      I could be wrong, but I thought reporting ticket sales over actual attendance was an MLB policy, so that all teams were reporting the same number. I dont recall MLB changing that policy.

    • Ben says:

      I have a recollection that what changed was that the Jays organisation stopped ‘wallpapering’ by giving tickets away just to get a crowd in. When Beeston came back, prices went up and $2 Tuesday ended, and crowds (initially) went down, but the theory was ‘don’t devalue the product’.

      As someone else said – anything under 25,000 can sound like it’s empty in the dome, but the bums are actually in the seats. By contrast, 8,000 at the Jake the other day sounded just fine.

      Overall, I’m not sure the Jays have an attendance problem – the crowds will be there on certain days and certain teams, and when the hockey is done. Sad to say, the Rays still don’t pull well, especially in April.

      • Cork Gaines says:

        My point in this post was not to point the finger at any problems the Rays are having with attendance. Rather, I was just showing the Rays fans that we’re not the only team that has bad nights. But the national media harps on the Rays and points their finger at the fans, when in fact, that attendance problem is somewhat exaggerated by the lack of corporations buying season tickets, something most other teams enjoy.

        • s says:

          average attendance over the past 3 year.
          Jays – 21891
          Rays – 21594
          average payroll over those years.
          Jays – 68.4 million
          Rays – 63.3 million

          What am I missing here? Stu should be pushing MLB to get them out of there TV contract vs their Trop contract. The Rays attendance isn’t an issue. They’ve drawn as many as one of our AL competitors that gets the exact same amount of NY and Boston games. Our payroll is less, yet Stu and the MLB are whining that we can’t survive drawing this many fans. HUH? It’s stadium extortion. MLB and the Rays want a shiny new toy at taxpayer expense.

          Hey Bud, break out the vaporizer!!!!!!

          I’m sick of all this posturing and threating by sports leagues trying to extort new stadiums from cities. Take a look at what’s happening as I type in Minn. The Vikings haven’t had a blackout in 15 years and the team couldn’t be any more popular in their state. Yet the NFL is up there right now demanding a new stadium or ELSE THEY’LL MOVE THE TEAM!! HUH? Are you telling me that the owners aren’t turning a profit? What a complete farce.

          If stadiums were guaranteed profit generators and good investments, then in this economy, developers would be bending over backwards to foot the bill.

          I want you guys to try this. Go to you cell phone provider and tell them you want to sign a 20 yr deal if they guarantee you a great rate. Then in 4 or 5 years, a new company comes along and offers you a new phone that’s state of the art and give you the same price. Do you think that the original cell phone company should just rip up the paperwork, after giving you a great deal?

          Stu and company knew what they were signing, now the extortion begins!!!

  7. Andy says:

    While there are many sides to the Rays’ attendance issue, one that has always grated on me is the comparison to MLB averages. The vast majority of stadia in both leagues have much higher capacities than does the Trop. This drives the attendance averages up when they fill up those arenas, which some do on a regular basis. Even if we did fill the Trop, we would still lag behind b/c of the capacity discrepancy. I would rather see attendance reported as a percentage of capacity. Of course, we would still fall woefully short, but not look quite as badly as we have been.

  8. Dave L says:

    I went to the bulls bowl game at that stadium on the coldest day of the year there a couple of years ago. That place is mammoth. With the dome closed it felt bigger than Joe Robbie or whatever they call it set up for baseball, the only other dual use stadium I have been to lately.

    The Trop is a paradise compared to that place for baseball.

  9. Beth says:

    Dear Blue Jays fans:

    Cork’s post on your attendance seems to have drawn you to this site, and many of you seem either defensive or offensive (I’m talking to you, Toronto brah).

    But honestly, I don’t think Cork’s post was meant to offend you. You are missing the back story here: Every time Tropicana Field has a poor attendance night, our stadium and our region braces for a slew of insults from national media. Threats to move the team; threats to “vaporize” the team; talking heads nodding sagely that “Florida’s not a good baseball region.”

    Cork’s only pointing out that other teams have off nights, too, and they are not greeted by a deluge of commentary suggesting that the entire team and all its fans are doomed.

  10. D-Canada says:

    Please excuse some of our not-so-classy fans and citizens (Torontobrah). It’s enough to have to deal with them at the Jays Home Opener every year, still have to come across them online once in a while.
    Don’t fret it to much Rays fans – where you hear it in the media about your attendance problems, we hear the same thing from across Canada. “Why aren’t people going to Jays games? If I lived there I’d go all the time.” Says a guy who lives 3000 kms away.
    But isn’t so much of your fan problems with location? I was in Tampa in March for the first time for Spring Training and to get a feel for how out of the way it is – doesn’t seem attractive to get too. Put it on the other side of the Bay away from the density in St Petersburg? Didn’t seem to be the most happening part of town. Get it onto the Tampa side, attendance doesn’t go up?

    • Beth says:

      D-Canada, that is the source of huge, huge debate. Debate between those who would agree with your claim and those who think the team ought to be able to draw just fine in St. Pete (or who think Tampa would not be any better). And then even among those who think attendance would be better in Tampa comes the discussion of how the region would come up with the funds to pay for a new stadium. Also, the Rays have a lease at Tropicana Field running for many more years, and the terms of the lease make it impossible for them even to enter into a discussion about venues outside St. Pete and its immediate surroundings. So the whole conversation is very fraught.

      Thanks for chiming in. I think those of us who are fans of the AL East’s poor relations need to show some solidarity.

      • D-Canada says:

        If there’s an ironclad lease – that pretty much makes any talk of another stadium moot unfortunately.
        And have no doubt – most Jays fans respect the Rays. Being able to fight in the East, as a real ball team with a pitching staff, smart coaching, and quality ball players. Against deep pockets that have maybe 1/3 of a decent team i.e. Power hitting line-ups that play in the most ridiculous lefty-favoured ball parks around. Pretty respectable.
        The enemy of my enemy is my friend right?
        Go Rays – until Mid May of course

  11. s says:

    Exactly Don, did you hear any whining from Toronto about wanting a new stadium because they weren’t making any money and they can’t survive on 23K?

    The stadium stuff is complete BS, MLB cannot end the welfare system. If they do, the so-long Pirates, Royals, Marlins, Padres, A’s and Rays, and possibly a few more. Stu and company make a healthy profit or he would dump this team. He didn’t make his millions buy throwing away money.

    Like I said, if they want to get MLB involved, then have them fight for a new TV contract. If the NFL will pull a team from the loyal Viking fans to put them in LA, where team after team has failed, then that should tell you something. Greedy owners and leagues don’t give a shit about the fans or taxpayers. Hell just ask the Miami fans about that. Their GM said basically that he could care less if anyone showed up, cause they already had their money and new stadium.

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