From time to time we are going to take a look at the 2010 attendance and see how this 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 2010 attendance…

  • In 2009, the Rays averaged 23,148 per game and drew 1.87 million fans. That was the most since their inaugural season of 1998 when they drew 2.5 million.
  • While the Rays have not stated any attendance goals this season, last year it was league average. So far in 2010, MLB is averaging 29,638 fans per game. That is down 2.3% from last year’s average of 30,324.
  • This year the Rays are averaging 22,047, 24th in baseball, and are on pace for 1.79 million.
  • After 46 home games last year, the Rays were averaging 23,264. So far this year. the Rays attendance is down 5.2% from the same point last last year.
  • In the past month, the Rays have averaged 21,690. That is down from 22,701 averaged in the first 32 home dates. Meanwhile, MLB attendance overall is up in the past month.


  1. Rytor says:

    My first thought to the contributing factor of MLB attendance being up is the Stephen Strasburg effect. He has 5 home starts - and attendance (this is just a guess) probably goes from about 20,000 to 40,000 every time he pitches at home?

    Plus he doubled ticket sales for his start at Progressive Field in Cleveland, I believe it went from 16,000 to around 32,000. So there in 6 starts attendance increased roughly 115,000 on his presence alone...

    • Michael says:

      What? MLB attendance in 2010 is not up over 2009, it's down 2.3% according to what the Professor posted:

      "So far in 2010, MLB is averaging 29,638 fans per game. That is down 2.3% from last year’s average of 30,324."

      Not to mention that trying to put your finger on a large driver of attendance by pointing out 7 games out of something like 1470 total played so far is kind of silly.

  2. Brett says:

    I hate to beat the proverbial dead horse, but nobody is spending money right now. Personally, I'd rather stay at home and watch the games on TV right now, and save my discretionary funds for attending games later in the season when the divisional/wild card race really heats up. I probably sound like a bad fan, but money is tight right now (Full time worker/part time student). As much as I'd like to go to 5-10 games a month, it's hard to justify. Another thing I often wonder about is the effect (affect?) of HDTV and better coverage, on attendance. If you wanted to see a baseball game live 40 years ago, you went to it. Now, I can watch almost every single game on TV, with a great quality picture and good announcers.

  3. Martin B says:

    What's the trend been since Stu had his public hissy fit about the market?

    I'd imagine that's going to turn off quite a bit of people from wanting to support a team that Stu doesn't want here.

  4. Beth says:

    To Brett: Yeah, the economy is bad, and MLB attendance is down because of it, but that still doesn't entirely explain Tampa Bay's problems. The Detroit MSA has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country (over 15% when I last checked, higher than ours) and yet the Tigers average over 30,000 a game.

    To Martin B: So your claim is: we were all turning out for the games; the Rays owner made an angry comment and now we stay home? That's illogical on so many fronts that it's hard to know where to begin.

    • Martin B says:

      Way to put words in my mouth, Beth. I asked what the attendance has been since Stu had his hissy fit.

      It's not my fault Stu is a big cry baby. My guess is he knew the deal when he bought the team, and knew he had to deal with the lease here in St. Pete. If he didn't, he's a pretty horrible business man.

      By just eyeballing the line, I can't tell one way or another.

  5. Gus says:

    Beth: Here are a few possibilities of how Stu's negative comments could hurt attendance:

    1. if you are a Tampa fan, you may stay home (voting with your feet) from a game or two or five to build momentum for getting a stadium closer to you (becaus everybody wants to have MLB in their proverbial backyard).

    2. If you are a St. Pete/Pinellas resident, you might be motivated to prove him wrong, but you might also be aggravated that some rich guy from NY wants to walk out on his deal with your City and County, that he's making millions but is whining that he wants to make more millions off of the taxpayers backs.

    3. If you are a Tea Party-type, you think Sternberg is the worst type of abuser of big government largess.

    4. If you are a progressive type, you don't like the fact that the existing stadium deal is taking money away from social services and job creation, and that the owner is looking to move away from the region's poorest area and take the service jobs that are associated with the team.

    5. If you are a Boston-NYY fan, you probably are aggravated that he's charging you extra for the premium games, and maybe realize that staying home (en masse) could mean the Rays don't add payroll for the stretch run.

    He's aggravated lots of people.

    That said -- all of this is small potatoes compared to the core problem -- no season ticket base. The Rays will always draw weekend crowds 2x the size of weekday crowds until they can up their season ticket sales; those sales are a delicate balance -- long-term fan base, franchise stabilty, trust in ownership, local corporate economic health, overall economic conditions.


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