From time to time we are going to take a look at the 2009 attendance and see how the 2009 season stacks up against last year and whether the Rays can reach their goal of being average (in attendance).

Notes on the attendance follow the graph…

Notes on the 2009 attendance…

  • The Rays drew 1.8 million fans in 2008. That was the most since their inaugural season of 1998 when they drew 2.5 million.
  • The Rays goal for 2009 is league average which was 2.6 million in 2008 (the median was about 2.5 million). While attendance has been down most of the season, the league average has picked up recently. League average projects to be slightly less than 2.5 million (red line above) with a median of 2.3 million. The Rays would need to average 30,646 to reach league average and about 29,010 to reach the median.
  • Last year the Rays averaged 22,370 over 81 games. After 54 home games last year they were averaging 21,581.
  • This year the Rays are averaging 24,169, an increase of 12.0% over the same period last year.
  • The Rays average attendance actually fell after that latest homestand. They averaged only 23,406 over the last 9 games including 3 games with attendance figures below 20,000.
  • The Rays fell one spot and now are ranked 23rd in attendance.
  • The Rays are on pace for 1.96 million, which would be a 8.0% increase over last season.


  1. Gus says:

    Any real businessman would count an 8% increase in this economy (particularly in Florida, with its 11% unemployment), as a tremendous accomplishment. I'm sure the crowd from Rye will not spin it that way, and use it as another opportunity to bash the locals. And if they stay in the playoff chase here, they can probably make it closer to a 10% increase. They still need to drive season ticket sales up to make another big jump. But all in all, I'd count 8-10% increase as a victory.

    At least SportsCenter and Topkin are not reporting the attendance in the first paragraph of the game story any more . . .

  2. Don says:

    Congratulations Rays...any business... including any maj. league team would happy with 8-10% increase in 2009!
    Do this every year.....and you will be one of the most successful franchises in sports, esp in a small market!

  3. Michael says:

    Hooray!! An 8% increase over the fifth-worst attendance in baseball a year after going to the World Series to now the eighth-worst attendance!! Yay!! Oh wait, no, let's cry about the economy.

    Seriously, an 8% increase over crappy attendance is only slightly less crappy. The problem is obviously the weekday games, and that blame needs to fall squarely on the shoulders of St Pete/Pinellas for failing to support the team. I can't wait to see the excuses next year when the attendance plateaus or goes up another paltry amount after yet another successful season. Where are all the folks who swore St Pete would support the team if only they put a winner on the field?

    Instead of just ranting, I'll even go ahead and make a helpful suggestion. Clearly the team has decided to go after the family demographic in their marketing focus, with all the good giveaways this year pretty much restricted to the first 10,000 kids. Compare this to the Washington Nationals (yes, their attendance is worse than ours but they really stink and the prices are much higher), where I went for a game in May -- more of their promotions were aimed at young professionals, going to the first however many fans 21 or older. What if the team kept the kids giveaways on Sundays (things like the Raymond piggy bank) and spent some marketing dollars on weekday promotions aimed at young adults? It would make some

    Another thing that seemed to work well for another club was that Monday night game where we played the White Sox on Chicago. They did half price tickets and had 45,000+ screaming fans, on a Monday! Even with the discounted tickets think of how much more they'd make on things like parking, food, and beer. Plus I'm sure sponsors would be happy with those numbers and couldn't care less how much people paid to get in the door.

    I think they overestimated the impact of making the playoffs and are rightly disappointed. I think next year we'll see something different with the Summer Concert Series, if they do it again at all. What's the point of spending marketing dollars on games that should sell well either way? Keep Sundays as-is, get rid of the concerts or move them to Friday night, and do more discounts/giveaways on weeknights. Those are my solutions.

    • Beth says:

      I think Michael makes some great suggestions. I agree that the weak link is the week night games, which reflects how few people work in the St. Pete "downtown" area -- it's really not an employment hub so you don't get thousands of folks strolling over after work. I'd eliminate a few (not all ) of the Sat. night concerts, and spend some money promoting games to workers in the downtown Tampa and Westshore areas -- buses to Thursday and Friday night games tied to some kind of "adult" promotion (not adult in the x-rated sense, although hey, if a "Mons Venus promotion night would draw the crowds, why not?)

  4. Don says:

    Dear Michael: you sound like a marketing genius giving suggestions to a franchise whose business is up ....using examples from a franchise that is down?? Maybe I missed something...but the goal is to increase business with promotions not decrease attendance!
    Maybe you and Beth can get together and have "half priced Mons Venus night"...maybe that would help the Nationals!
    I'll bet if you asked the Rays if you could have a free "piggy bank" on Tue night if you came to a game they would give you one!


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