Rays fans attendanceThe Rays are averaging just 18,476 tickets distributed per game. That attendance figure is 29th in Major League Baseball and better than only the Marlins, who are averaging 18,181 per game.

That’s bad. But comparing the Rays’ attendance to that of teams like the Yankees, who play in a metro area with more than 19 million residents, doesn’t do us much good. Instead, a better (albeit still imperfect) method is to look at each team’s average attendance and how that compares to that city’s metro population

Over at BusinessInsider.com, I ranked all 30 teams based on per capita attendance. What we see is that the Rays’ average attendance represents 0.65% of the Tampa-St. Pete metro area population. That ranks 14th among all teams and is 0.14% higher than the average team (0.51%).


Of course, we have to be careful with this data. The Rays still need to sell more tickets. When a team is in a market the size of Tampa-St. Pete, they need a lot more per capita support if they want to level the playing field.

But this data does show that the level of support for the Rays at the ticket office is well-within the range that is to be expected based on the local population. And there are fan bases that show much less support for their teams than the people of Tampa-St. Pete.



  1. rome says:

    It's funny that the fan is holding up his sign to the fans that are already present at the game. No really reaching a solid audience, just saying.

  2. JV says:

    I live in the northeast and fans up here always brag about attendance but I know very few who go to more than 3-4 games a year. When you have so many people that's all it takes to average over 30k a night. My guess at the sweet spot for the Bay area regardless of stadium location is about 22k on average.

  3. Bobby says:

    They really should chop the NY, LA, SF and Chi markets in half since there are 2 teams in each of those markets

    • Dave L says:

      Excellent point.

      But only the Cubs would get to anything out of the bottom 1/3 of MLB.

      Maybe they could factor in years of existance, level of success historically and recently etc and get to a fan market WAR of sorts.

      Also competiton from otheer sport leagues, Pro and Major College etc.

      Also disposable income of the populace.

      Once you factored it all you would know what Madison avenue has known for decades. Your sales are what they should be based on your product and its customers and how its perceived.

      Sports is the only business which blames its customers for its product sales and the public accepts it

  4. Gus says:

    The Rays may, at long last, be realizing that bemoaning their own building as a dump and not lowering ticket prices to fill unused seats is a losing strategy. Few areas are as emotionally invested in their baseball teams than Tampa Bay. People love the Rays and treasure them as a civic ionstiution because they have been belittled and criticized from the begining of the stadium building process (Steinbrenner) to the near misses on relocation to the stunning debacle that was the 1993 expansion process, to the harping and kevetching about the Trop as the non-Camden Yards.

    When the Rays lower prices, people show up for the weekday games in better numbers, but probably not going to ever be 30,000 a night. That should be okay, as local TV ratings are great and that generates revenue too. Because their focus has been so long on getting a new stadium, the Rays have missed opportunities to build their brand through spring training (kind of a dud location, honestly), not working Orlando, Gainesville and Jacksonville (the Orlando Sentinel never writes a word about the Rays).

    I think Cork's article is well-taken here, however, because it shows that realtively speaking, the Rays are drawing okay even with a deeply flawed (until August 2013) ticket sales strategy and overall marketing of the experience.

    • Dave L says:

      I think you may be exagerrating a bit on the loyaity depth.

      We are competing with franchises with fans who's dad and grandad were fans. Most peoples roots in Tampa Bay area are as deep as a palmettos.

      I bet 80 to 90% of the fans at any typical Rays game weren't even born in Florida.

      But your point about the Rays supressing thier own fan base by saying its a dump is counter productive is spot on.

      Good luck Cork in getting the national media to to think that analytically.

      Its like Brian Kenny hectoring the ex-players on MLB Now about wBOA is a better metric and clutch is a Myth, bunting is way overused, etc. He may have the stats as you do but nobody cares.

      Most all of Corks posters realize we have a pretty low ceiling of what we will draw regardless..

  5. Andy C. says:

    Reading this comparison makes me feel better as a local fan who attends 10-20 games a year!! πŸ™‚ But, I'd still like to add 2 other points.

    Another metric which I believe would work in our favor but gets little to no attention, is the fact of our average attendance will always be low because whenever we do sell out, our capacity at the Trop is 34,078, almost 11,000 below the MLB average. While it could be argued we're lucky to get those 34,078 butts in the seats on those rare occasions that we do, the fact is all 29 other teams get to inflate their averages above our capacity as many as 81 times per year! No amount of public support - real or desired - could impact this form of unfair inflation.

    Secondly, complicating our region's lack of emotional investment in the Rays are the number of minor league affiliates within our region that may serve to feed our transplanted residents' loyalties to their parent teams (Yankees, Phillies, Blue Jays, Tigers, & Pirates). All of these parks are within 57 miles of the Trop. While these teams are not competitive with our Rays (perhaps not in our early days however), folks who want to sustain their allegiance to an MLB team - even 2 w/in our own division! - may do so indirectly through these affiliates. I'm sure they can purchase MLB items there or see some MLB players or even stars on rehab assignments, etc. (e.g., Alex Rodriguez recently at Steinbrenner Field!). This doesn't take into account how aforementioned loyalties are also sustained during Spring Training when fans can have closer access to the MLB players across many stadia throughout the region, not just the home fields

    Summarily, I believe our fans have been unfairly represented by only looking at the bare attendance statistics. Rays Nation is alive & very well and will prove it in our eventual new ballpark, no matter which side of the bay it resides!!! πŸ˜€

  6. mp645 says:

    The Rays are alwasy going to be a small market team. It is much harder to fill the Trop than the NE cities where you have 20 million people within a 100 mile radius.

    When the Giants came to town, the Trop was fuller. The Trop was filled to capacity on Sunday August 4th when we played the Giants.The parking lots were turning away late comers. When we have the combination of winning probable Rays paired with a hot team, the stadium fills.

    A sparkling new stadium did not increase tickets sales in Miami, Seattle or San Diego. Building new stadiums make smoney for the developers and crooked politicians ..then the developers slink away...the taxpayers are left with the mess


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