There are bad signs that attendance at Rays games will actually go down this year. At the same time, TV ratings will undoubtedly remain strong which is the best indicator that the problem with attendance is the stadium, not a lack of interest.

But let’s not let facts get in the way of a lazy national story.

Enter Jon Morosi of Fox Sports who tested the waters with this tweet while in Montreal for an exhibition game:

Research? Why bother. A few thoughts on that tweet.

  1. Capacity at the Trop is 34,000. So I am not sure why Morosi is shocked crowds never exceeded that number.
  2. The 2 games in Montreal this weekend between the Blue Jays and Reds averaged 48,273 fans. The Trop would average 90,000 per game if it could fit them and if the area only hosted 2 games each year.
  3. In Expos last FOUR seasons COMBINED in Montreal, they averaged 9,997 fans per game. In Rays’ WORST season they averaged 13,160.
  4. Montreal doesn’t have a stadium. If MLB had to pick between Exhibition Stadium and Tropicana Field, it is a no brainer, The Trop wins every day and twice on Canada Day.


But don’t worry, there were excuses for the Expos’ poor attendance at the end. Apparently fans stopped going because they could no longer find the stadium.

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But Morosi didn’t stop there. He wrote an entire column drawing the conclusion that Montreal has more “passion for baseball” based solely on the attendance of eight games AND ABSOLUTELY NO OTHER FACTORS.

It is actually a bit comical if not entirely sad.

What about TV ratings? Does anybody in their right mind, with today’s TV contracts, care more about attendance than TV ratings? Not an owner that wants to make money.

This doesn’t mean attendance is not important. It is very important. But as we have discussed previously, attendance is now more about perception and how it influences ratings.

This is not intended to be a knock on Montreal. They may indeed be worthy of an MLB second chance. But the simple fact is, they are exactly what Tampa-St. Pete was in the 1980s and early 1990s, a pawn of Major League Baseball to entice cities to build new stadiums under the threat of losing their team to that fancy city over there that is just dying to host a baseball team.

Only the difference here is Montreal had their shot and failed and are still nowhere near the one thing they need to get another shot (a new stadium) and the Rays have the one thing every MLB owner wants (strong local TV ratings).

MLB has to talk tough. They have to prop another city up as a potential destination. But at the end of the day, they want what we want, a new stadium HERE in a location where it is easier for fans than dolphins to attend.

With the Rays’ TV ratings, MLB doesn’t need the Rays to average 34,000 per game. They just need the Rays to not be an attendance black mark on the rest of the league.

Get the team to Tampa and Montreal goes away until the next team that needs a new stadium.



  1. Mr. Smith 1980 says:

    Great piece, sir.
    This is going to get so incredibly played-out by season's end that I can already see myself banging my head against my desk when I have to see/hear about it on the world wide webs, print, and on The Network every... single... day.

  2. Mr. Smith 1980 says:

    What are the chances that young lady holding the sign knows anything about the Expos? She was probably 12 years old when they left.

    Why don't all of you Montreal knuckleheads ask Cleveland Browns fans how well the return of their prodigal son has worked for them so far. Sure they have a team to root for, but it is even worse than before with no signs of progress for the future.

  3. LargoBuc says:

    I am so sick of the narrative that we have no fans. Words cant describe just how completely disgusted I feel reading and hearing this spit every efing day. We are the laughing stock of sports because of BSPN and their one sided reporting to push their agenda and dont even show numbers to paint a more complete, objective picture. Its really really really annoying.
    You know why our numbers are so low? Its because we dont have corporate executives eating up tickets like in New York or Boston. In St.Pete and in the Trop, of course the corporate presence wont be as strong. But you dont see that number on BSPN do you? No because it contradicts their narrative.
    What about the television numbers? It proves that there is no lack of fan support but dies that come up? No. Why should it when it makes Tampa fans look good.
    Its not fair. Whenever the Rays do good you dont hear about it, it turns into another bull spit attendance story. It takes the joy out of what us Rays fans have waited so long for.
    I say we do something. Call BSPN, blow up the twitter of guys like Scott Van Pelt. Stay united. Hold up signs that slander BSPN on national televised games. Stand up! Im so sick of BSPN and by association Red Sox fans pushing us around. Im done. I waited too long for the Rays to be here to have those worms take it away. RAISE UP RAYS FANS! THIS ISNT GOING AWAY AND WE HAVE TO FIGHT FOR OUR TEAM!

    • Greg says:

      Morosi writes for Fox and does some TV reporting for MLB Network. Don't think he has anything to do with ESPN (although they do their share of the heavy lifting on Rays-bashing topics). I would not be surprised if Morosi pushes the MLB agenda as part of his MLB Network gig. Montreal attendance was a joke the last few years and even Rob Manfred just said Montreal has no chance til they build a stadium. Good luck with that.

  4. angrybuddha says:

    I grew up an Expos fan & will always be bitter about the way they were knifed in the back in a dark alley by Bud Selig & Jeff Loria. I wandered the baseball wilderness for a couple of years before hooking onto the D-Rays in 2006.

    ...So I consider myself well-placed to chime in here.

    Montreal fans deserves a team and, to be fair, the city does too. The ownership group that sold them to Washington (& bought the Marlins, which allowed Henry to buy the Red Sox & Fenway for $50000000M) salted the earth before leaving town. No English language radio deal, no English language radio deal (the 1st MLB radio on the Internet was an experiment run by longtime Expos broadcaster Dave Van Horne in 2000). And yes, they took down the signage & generally let the Big O go to hell. They also started playing home games in Puerto Rico. How f**king insane is that?

    It was a piss-poor operation, designed to ensure that nothing but the absolute core fans stuck around... which lead to sub-10k attendance. The city is a better baseball city than that, but at some point, you just stop caring if the team doesn't care about you.

    You can say what you will, but I believe firmly that the people of Montreal deserves a baseball team that loves them back. But "deserve" is an emotional device... and it's different from "should have" ... The underlying economics in Montreal probably don't support MLB as well as, say, Charlotte.... and - just like a decade ago - the city isn't going to build a stadium for anyone. So we can call close the book on Montreal - they're not getting a team.

    On our side of the ledger, the last thing I want to see is our team uprooted in the same way - no need to have that heartbreak twice. But I don't think it's happening. At least, the so-called "groundwork" that Sternberg has laid to get the team out of town is pretty weak compared to the salt-the-earth stuff that Loria did. Until I see the team actively degrading the fan experience & making games more inaccessible (i.e., giving the broadcast rights to the Playboy Channel), I'm going to remain confident that the Bay Area is keeping this squad.

    • LaneMeyer says:

      Wait, let's not gloss over that Playboy channel idea so quickly, it sounds like a winner to me.


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