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The Rays hosted their annual Fan Fest on Saturday and by all accounts everybody had a great time and the Rays raised nearly $70,000 for the Rays Baseball Foundation and ALS research. Unfortunately, it also gave us our first hint about attendance this season and it is not good.

According to the Rays, 16,000 fans attended Fan Fest. This is significant because there appears to be a loose correlation between how many fans attend Fan Fest and how many fans buy tickets during the regular season.

Here is estimated Fan Fest attendance the last five years:

  • 2012: 25,000
  • 2013: 25,000
  • 2014: 20,000
  • 2015: 16,000
  • 2016: 16,000

Now here is regular season attendance per game the last five years:

  • 2012: 19,255
  • 2013: 18,645
  • 2014: 17,857
  • 2015: 15,403
  • 2016: ?

It is not an exact correlation, but there is a pretty good pattern. This is also supported by evidence that has shown that how a team performs during the season has less impact on that season’s attendance than things like location, stadium quality, last season’s performance, and championship history. That is, attendance is mostly determined before the season ever starts.

In other words, Rays fans should brace themselves for attendance in the 15,000-16,000 range once again and all of the national scorn that comes with it.

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8 Comments

  1. K lovell says:

    May be attendance at fan fest is down, the same as the season will be because they changed the Flex pack program after we put down deposits. I am perfectly capable of picking my own section and seat, but they have made the executive decision that I am a 2 year old and they have to choose the 'best available' seat for me. I don't want that seat, but, have no choice so, I won't be there... No fun sitting where I don't want to be, so I'll stay home.

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  2. edward says:

    not just national scorn how about local scorn as well.

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  3. Craig says:

    Lowering ticket prices for most sections might help.

    Off topic, I really want to see a young bat come over from the Cubs, especially Baez.

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  4. woodrow744 says:

    Look at that picture carefully. Expand it, if you dare. Behind centerfield there is a sign with "Autograph session 1:00 - 1:45." The names? Ryan Brett and Jacob Faria. Now, I'm not disparaging either one of these players. I hope they have career years with the Rays. But, if you expect 20,000+ fans to show up to get a glimpse of Ryan or Brett or one of our other hopefuls, you're nuts. We're back to the "chicken or the egg" dilemma.......again. Am I complaining? Heck no, look what happened with one Kevin Kiermaier, a guy who couldn't give away an autograph two years ago. He is a rock star now. But that is what we are faced with here in Tampa Bay. Put out some youngsters with potential and mix liberally with slightly-past-their-peak veterans who can be acquired on the cheap and see what the hell happens. I've accepted it and I think most guys here have also. We kid about "The Rays Way," but if it hasn't sunk in yet for you, it will. It ain't gonna impress the casual fan and it ain't gonna change.

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  5. Sledge says:

    Cork:

    A lot of this has to do with the Rays timing of this event. For example, I know a few years ago FanFest was the week before we had opening day for little league baseball. This year - they held it later and most little leagues had already started. Now I haven't studied the dates, but I would think little-league aged kids are a large draw for this event, and a 2 week swing in your date of the event could have a dramatic impact on attendance.

    Food for thought.

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    • Skateman says:

      No, the news is bad. Everything is bad. The Fanfest numbers prove, unequivocally, that this will be a terrible year for both attendance and Longo's HR total. There is no caveat or alternative explanation. The team will probably relocate to Siberia or simply cease to exist.

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  6. JonBJovi says:

    Who would want to go into a building like the Trop (that has no natural light) on such a beautiful day? People want to be able to see outside. This is Florida after all.

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  7. Jason says:

    The problem with the Rays Fest attendance is that they did not have it on Chris Archer's normal rest.

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