One of the first things we thought about when we heard the Rays would be giving away 20,000 tickets to Wednesday’s home finale, was how the season-ticket holders would react. After all, there was no reward for the fans that dig deeper than most to support the team.

Well, apparently there was enough negative feedback that 18 hours after the Rays announced the ticket giveaway, and just 4 hours before the gates opened, the Rays sent the following email to season-ticket holders…


Starting at 4:45 p.m. today, the Tampa Bay Rays will be giving away tickets to tonight’s game. We are doing so in the Upper Reserved, Upper Box, Outfield, Loge Box, Baseline Box and Press Level locations in an effort to bring people into the stadium for the season finale and create a great atmosphere for our players and our fans.

This is not the start of a trend. This is not a new philosophy under which we will be operating. We place enormous value on the purchase of a ticket and hold in the highest regard those who commit to supporting the Rays through such purchases – especially those people who do so on a Season Ticket basis.

I want to make sure that you don’t take the issuing of these tickets for this one night as a sign we have forgotten about you. Season Ticket Holders are whom we think of first before launching any new program or making adjustments to the game day experience.

We will continue to provide our Season Ticket Holders with the best benefits, service, pricing, seat locations, and postseason options to which you have become accustomed. And we will continue to ensure the integrity and value of your paid tickets–that is paramount to the Rays organization.

Thank you for your continued support. I look forward to seeing you at Tropicana Field throughout the postseason and in 2011.

Go Rays!

Matt Silverman



  1. Martin B says:

    "Screw off, we got your money. You get nothing for the ticket you paid for that we are now giving away for free."

    At least knock the price of one game off our season tickets for next year.

  2. Not upset at all about the promotion.
    Sometimes you got to do something off-the-cuff and unique to get the fringe people to try something that others already know is a great product.
    Those sampling stations in the grocery stores are not there to give us free food samples, but are an indirect marketing tool to show you the ease and great taste you can get for a small investment using that product.
    The Rays used this Free ticket "nibblers" to entice some of those who balk at the usual ticket prices and find other negatives for not attending games. I have been a Rays Season Ticketholder for 13 years,and I was personally fine with the promotion from a marketing standpoint, andsee it as a great future ticket sales opportunity.
    The overall fan Jury will be out until next April, but every new fan in the seats is one less for Marc Topkin and the media propaganda machine to riddicule and complain about in their "blogs".
    I think it was a "win-win" for the whole community. We just have to keep as a Tampa Bay community, stepping to the plate, or the Rays might someday be on a permanent road trip, not just visiting Kansas City.

    • Chris says:

      I agree. I am a season ticket holder and I have no issue with it. I understand that I am in a fortunate spot to be able to go to the games and if the Rays want to do something great to help others go - excellent.

  3. RivalsTees says:

    I don't think I would be angry about this if I was a season ticket holder, and I wish I was. This was a great PR move by the Rays, and very nice to write the letter.

    To me, it just shows you can't make everyone happy.

  4. Gatorbuc15 says:

    I personally thought that it was a great idea. I don't think I would have gotten to upset if I was season ticket holder.
    The front office had to do something to get a lot fans to the ball park.

  5. The BIZ says:

    i am a season ticket holder and i think it is petty to complain about one game. the crowd was electric, i had a lot of fun.

  6. Mike says:

    It might have bothered me a little. It would have been nice if the Rays offered an extra ticket to a game next season so that they could bring a friend or maybe a gift card to the gift shop or something.

  7. I thought it was nice of them, considering the team has gone like 2-18 during my Friday season ticket package.

  8. Danny says:

    still waiting for the Rays to offer the season ticket holders a free ticket - we faithfully buy tix, drink beer, and purchase merchandise, and in many cases buy additional tickets beyond those that our season-ticket plans provide, but the best they can do is to send me a lousy email telling me what i found out almost 24 hours earlier?

    we (season-ticket holders) don't need coddling, but if you're giving free tix away to those who don't/won't/can't go - more than a lousy email is necessary to pacify those of us who support the team in person on a game to game basis

    now, that all said, i was glad to see lots of fans because the electricity was evident through the TV (yes, i stayed home last night) - too bad we couldn't even manage more than a few hits last night.

    GO RAYS!!!

  9. Mike says:

    I am a season ticket holder and had no problem with the giveaway. It was a pretty cool idea and got the park packed for the last game of the season. The only thing I would have changed is to have planned the giveaway farther in advance and given the tickets to local schools or the military. Season ticket holders get a pretty good deal from the Rays. I haven't heard anyone complain about this promotion and don't think I will.

  10. Mike,
    You hit the nail right on the head.
    I know if they had more time, the Rays might have spread the tickets out via the local radio stations or sponsors to giver more range beyond just the doors of the Trop for fans to come get their fREE tickets.
    But it also showed that if something like this was planned in the future...It would be recieved well by the public.
    Great point on also giving it to our guys at McDill and surrounding outposts(Coast Guard).

  11. Gus says:

    All in all, it worked out (but for the shutout). Great to expose baseball to a group of people that wouldn't otherwise go; as long as you protect your season ticket holders long term, no harm, no foul.

    Fan appreciation night in the most extreme way.

    For the season, the Rays missed their all time attendance mark (set in 2009) by less than 10K and exceeded 2008's attendance was second best all time (throwing out the expansion year). I've been critical in this space of rays marketing saying utlimately it is their job to put people in the seats. This is the type of thing that good marketing people do.

  12. MJ says:

    Any season ticket holder (I am one) who is upset by this move needs to take the stick out of their ass and recognize that this was a good PR move by the Rays that appears to have paid off and in no way was it meant to slight the season ticket holders. This move doesn't devalue your season tickets either. There are so many other "freebes" given in our society to complain about anyway. I think the experience I had last night was improved by the fact that the place was packed, as apposed to sitting in a more than half empty stadium to finish the reg season. The Rays knew there would be some backlash, but the opportunity presented itself (no matter how contrived or preconceived it may have been) and they jumped all over it. Relax people.

  13. Sarah says:

    I'm not a season ticket holder, but I'd be surprised if too many were too upset about this. Presumably season ticket holders are very committed to the team, and even if they may enjoy the "benefit" of empty seats around them, they must realize that a continually empty stadium is not in anyone's long term interests.

    Honestly, if the Rays had announced at the start of the season "we'll be offering free tickets for one nonprime weekday game at the end of the season" how many season ticket holders would have said, "well, in that case, forget it, I'm not buying tickets for the season!

  14. I'm not a big fan of Ray"s front office or ownership. Wednesday's give away was a massive gamble. What if no one showed for the free tickets? They would have been pilloried nationwide for their stupidity. Instead, they hit a massive 500' grand slam. Not only did they give away all the tickets, they sold out all the rest of the tickets.Not only did they demonstrate that there was demand for tickets but they defused the PR nuclear bomb that Price and Longoria set off when they opened their pie holes.

    I must commend the Rays ownership for a fantastic move and a renewed momentum going into the playoffs and World Series. Now if they could only win this division and drop Big Game James and "Gas Can" Wheeler from the playoff rosters.

    • Pendulously says:

      I don't think there was the downside you mention. If no one had shown up, it only strengthens their case to move the team to Tampa.

  15. MJ says:

    Any thought that a sell out due to free tickets strengthens the argument of bill foster that st Pete is a viable option and economy is the real problem? Can't see FO preferring st Pete over Tampa at this point.

    • Sarah says:

      Not really. I mean, what's the St. Pete argument here: "you see, guys, if you would only give the tickets away you could do well at your current location?" not much of a business plan.

  16. David says:

    The point of the letter is that this is not the beginning of a trend. I doubt all but a handful of season ticket holders cared about this one promotion. As one of the astute commenters above noted, teams spread out these free ticket promotions over the entire season all the time to the local community.

    Imagine, however, that the success of this promotion were to get the front office thinking about making every Thursday night game into "Free ticket night." They would give away 5,000 free tickets during the 2011 season for 15%-20% of the home games and clean up on concessions. That would tick off a notable number of loyal season ticket holders.

  17. Pendulously says:

    My question is what those really smart people in the front office are going to do with the data they generated from that promotion. (Can someone refresh me on how much/any concession revenue the team gets?) I don't think the price point ever goes to zero or near zero, and obviously this promotion attracts more attention if it is once than it would if it was every day or once a week even, but this is finally a real world way to look at the age old question of whether you can lower ticket prices and make it up on concessions, etc. And assuming the Rays get at least a healthy % of concessions, I would wager that the 35k on Wednesday with 20k free might have been a better night than getting 15k or more paid on another night.

    The bottom line is if there is anything to this, it could mean a lesson is learned about lower price and higher attendance > than higher prices and lower attendance. And that could work out very well for season ticket holders in the future.

  18. Chris says:

    Obviously as I stated above as a season ticket holder, it didn't bother, had i bought a single game ticket the day before....

  19. Morgan says:

    Possibly provide season ticket holders another incentive such as a free beverage with refills all night. Or another token of appreciation - Rays' Season Ticket T-shirt.

    I think the 20,000 "experiment" provides the Rays with a lot of information about who attends their games. I believe they asked each person what their zip code was when issuing the ticket.

    Hopefully the people were all from East Hillsborough - to give the Rays ammunition to move their stadium to that part of the the TB area.


Leave a Comment