USATSI_7860027_154511044_lowresRays President of Baseball Operations Matt Silverman was a guest on MLB Network’s “High Heat” and had some interesting comments regarding the team’s continued struggle with attendance.

Buried amongst the other standard Raysian clichés (they have payroll flexibility, getting Desmond Jennings back is like trading for a hitter!, etc.) Silverman was asked if he is “alarmed” by the attendance.

“We always want to see the stands full and when the energy is higher at Tropicana Field our guys play better. At the same time, we try to block that out. When we think about it, we’d rather be first in standings and last in attendance than flipping that around. So our focus is on the field, making sure that we are doing the things we need to do, and blocking out any distractions like that.”

The comments are interesting on a couple of levels, not the least of which is that the Rays players have a history of not being able to ignore the attendance. The most famous of which were the comments made by David Price and Evan Longoria in 2010 which sounded orchestrated. More recently, there was Chris Archer taking to Twitter to question why crowds for the Yankees games were so small.

However, the comment by Silverman is also interesting because up until this season, he was the president of the Rays and attendance were under his jurisdiction while Andrew Friedman worried about the product on the field.

The bigger issue here is that the “distraction” is not going away, even when the Stanley Cup playoff ends. It was clear even before the season started that attendance was going to be even worse this year and with more than half the season to go, it is.



  1. Gus says:

    Silverman is uniquely positioned as team President-GM to help alleviate that distraction by telling the marketing folks to go market the weeknight games and sell some season tickets. The problem is, of course, that the Rays want to be able to trash their stadium as poorly located and unacceptable while at the same time selling full priced tickets when the building sits largely empty. Everybody in MLB heavily discounts on weeknights except the Red Sox, Yankees, Cubs and Rays. Explain that to me.

    The ownership's entire stadium strategy has been flawed and misguided from Day 1. I guess I shouldn't expect it to change now.

    • Kevin says:

      Exactly, a good example is to take a look at the marlins marketing for their weeknight games. All-you-can-eat days, seniors free for thursday, military families are free on monday. Hopefully if the Rays get the new stadium they want they will be willing to market the team properly. Actually, they should just take notes from the lightning, they sell out all the time and still give student discounts. USFSP students and older high school students are the type of people that are willing to stay out a little later on the weeknights, yet the rays don't market to 18-24 year olds really at all.

    • Mark Moran says:

      I think the question also has to be asked: where is all the revenue sharing money going? This report ( is a few years old, but the Rays get a disproportionately large share of that pie due to their low revenues. And they can't, as I've asked rhetorically before, even replace the turf? Or take better care of their MiLB players?

  2. Mike says:

    Is it just me or is there less marketing and promotion overall this year? I think they used to have multiple ticket packages in the past. Family four packs, ticket drink and soda combos, stuff like that. The concert series lineup is sub-par compared to years past. I haven't even heard as many commercials on the radio. Do you think they may be tanking attendance intentionally? Maybe hoping to nail the coffin in the necessity to leave the Trop. Thoughts?

    • Matt says:

      I've heard plenty of advertising, but its only been the flex pack ads. While they're a great deal (I have the 9 game pack), you're right in that they haven't marketed any other promotions. The concerts are garbage this year, and the attendance for both concerts last weekend proved it. They definitely should advertise the fact that they dropped the TBT party deck tickets to $7 on weeknights, as that is also good deal. Buy the $7 ticket and sit wherever you want. Overall though, marketing for large corporate sponsors has been abysmal, and that is a contributing factor. Ever wonder why Yankee stadium is empty, yet the attendance shows 30k? Its because they have hundreds of corporate sponsors.

  3. Mark Moran says:

    Imagine the good will the team would create (among the players and the fans) if ownership would consider something as relatively easy and inexpensive as replacing the artificial turf at Tropicana field. The existing playing surface in and of itself, is an embarrassment.

  4. Jim says:

    They don’t want people to show up. If 30K a night showed up at the trop, then they wouldn’t have any reason to want a shiny new toy!!!

    It goes back to 2009, when they had a huge bump in attendance due to the deposit req’d for the playoff tickets for 2008. They should have done everything in their power to retain those “deposit” fans for 2010. Instead they increased some of the ticket packages as much as 35% from 2009 to 2010. They cry and cry about lack of season ticket holder, yet they did NOTHING to retain them.

    Compare the prices of outfield and upper deck season tickets to other teams, it simply doesn’t make sense, except they are trying to suppress season ticket sales for fans on a budget.

  5. Brent says:

    Yes, the Rays could do more, like minor league teams do, like the all-you-can-eat wings at Dunedin I went to because of the promotion. Though a lot of blame should be placed on St. Petersburg for not fully marketing their biggest attraction, while they have'em...
    Either or, Con-Agra Foods factory will be replaced with a new ballpark by 2020, and then the Rays can start enjoying the same success the Lightning have...

  6. Rick says:

    If I buy a business without doing due diligence I can't fault the customers for not coming.....Sternberg is over his head and should never had purchased the team. He doesn't have the money that many owners have from other business enterprises to support the team (ie Steinbrenner did Yankees). I was at the Trop today. The entertainment between innings is lame. The product is poor - not even talking about the play on the field. You need more than a competitive team to entice people to spend their entertainment dollar.

  7. mep645 says:

    I was recently in San Francisco. The Giants were almost the St Petersburg Giants about 20 years ago. What did they do RIGHT? That is what Rays need to know. Which stadiums have increased patronage? Minor league baseball just posted a minor league A level team in NC has a 26% increase and a AAA team in Reno has filled their 8500 seat filed 4 times this May.
    SF Giants All around SF there are posters, banners, black & orange banners, photos of players etc. You are bombarded with the Giants at every downtown street corner. They fill the stadium to 97%. They had lots of sellers on the sidewalks allowed to see items such as $5 hats, $10 tees (not MLB but black and orange themed). Tourist areas had lots of real and knockoff Giants gear or more black and orange stuff.

    Where is the advertising on TV for the Rays? Lame stuff like Flex Packs. Where are there TV spots that are geared to young professionals for a weeknight out? Where are the TV spots for group outings? Other teams have all you can eat seats, military seats, decreased seat prices, even free games, BOGO seats etc.

    Don't fall for the "shiny new stadium will solve all the problems" speech by developers. It didn't work for Miami, San Diego and others.

  8. mep645 says:

    Oh. The Mets have trouble filling their seats. It is stated at every game on MLB.They are winning and there are millions in population to fill the seats.

    • Kei says:

      So because other teams are having problems selling seats, we should just ignore the situation at the Trop?

      • Fort Myers Dave says:

        Not just the Rays having problems selling seats: Cleveland, Miami, Oakland the ChiSox all are struggling as well. Even clubs like Atlanta that used to draw 40K per game a decade ago are now drawing 20K a game. People simply are not going out to ballparks as much as they used to: its easier just to kick back and watch the game on HD or via the internet at home with your choice of home/away announcers if you really hate the national feed announcing on BSPN, Fox or TBS........

  9. Fort Myers Dave says:

    It looks like the Rays are simply losing the local base of fans that they once had. The team is not winning at home. Look at the 5 game losing streak to the A's and M's as a good example of this. The Yankmes are having a down year and so is Boston so there base is not going to show up either so Stu can not expect the 25 to 30K draw he used to get when they showd up in town. How to fix this? Well winning helps! I would say fire Derek Shelton to just show fans that the team wants to score runs but to be honest I do not think any hitting coach is going to get too much out of guys like Rivera, Beckham and Nick Franklin who pretty much anchor the 8/9 spots in the lineup and are essentially guaranteed outs for the opposition especially when there are RISP..... Moving to Hillsborough will bump the attendance up but will Stu even try if attendance stays below 10K in some cases. If the Rays start to win after the Lighning are done playing then perhaps the numbers will jump up but the organization already offers some pretty decent deals to get people to the Trop, they just will not show up unless it is for a Saturday concert.....

  10. LargoBuc says:

    Look at the White Sox. They play in Chicago, third largest market in the states and way bigger than the entire Tampa Clearwater St.Pete area, yet as big a market as they're in, their attendance really isnt much better than ours.
    This is bad. We were in first and have been competetive all year yet, its like no one cares. The national media has been bringing us down for so long now its like its finally starting to affect us fans. I really dont care about attendance. We've been in it all year so far, im not going to worry about all the attendance. Im over it. We get it every year, but this year, its not even June and im so done with this. Usually, all I have to do is turn off espn and I wont have to hear that spit, but its just, its nasty this year. Its taking away what should be fun and turning everything into doom and gloom. Were competing on the field and in the stands. Screw attendance.
    And dont fall for the montreal bs. Who's going to build them a stadium. All the taxes they pay in Canada, I doubt the tax payers there would fund a stadium so they might get a team. But we could loose them if we do nothing but bitch. Id vote for a small tax increase if that meant keeping the Rays in the Region. Might as well considering theres no state income tax, for now.


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