Blog Entry

Rays 'can't sustain' team with present attendance

Posted on: June 7, 2011 7:00 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2011 7:42 pm

By Matt Snyder

Despite the recent turn from an embarrassment into one of the most-respected franchises in baseball, the Tampa Bay Rays still have problems drawing attendance. In terms of average fans per home game, the Rays' ranks from 2008 to present are as follows: 26, 23, 22 and 29. That's right, only the Marlins are drawing fewer fans per home game this season.

The drop, about 5,000 fans per game so far, could be explained by myriad factors, including the fact that the Rays had to let several recognizable faces leave via trade or free agency -- including Carl Crawford, who had been the face of the Rays for the better part of the last decade. For whatever the reason, though, attendance is a big problem for the Rays. It always has been, but now it's more dire than before.

"[Attendance] could be better and should be better," Rays owner Stuart Sternberg told Tampa Bay Online. "I know we can't sustain ourselves like this. We had another successful year last season and the economy, while it's not good, has not gotten worse. But our numbers I think will be down, coming off a postseason appearance. It's unheard of."

It might be less surprising if there were no Rays fans or the team was enduring a run of futility like the Pirates or Royals, for example. But with a team that sits within striking distance in the AL East after having won it last season, you start to worry if it's a problem that can't be fixed with the circumstances as they are at present. Perhaps a better stadium with a more convenient location would help. Regardless, Sternberg believes the problem is not one of fan support -- just that fans aren't attending the ballpark.

"People are watching us on TV and listening on the radio," he said. "I walk around and I see all the hats. I want to have a team that's going to be able to compete, but we can't lose money year in and year out, hand over fist. To run a payroll like we do now, basically the second-lowest in baseball, and barely keep our nose above water, we can't sustain that.''

The good news is there's a lot of season left. It's summertime, schools just got out (or are getting out soon) and the Rays are proving they can stick in the race. They have to hope that makes the turnstiles much more active in the coming months.

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Category: MLB
Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 22, 2011 2:44 pm
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 10, 2011 1:47 am

Rays 'can't sustain' team with present attendance

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 5, 2011 10:36 pm

Rays 'can't sustain' team with present attendance

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Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: October 19, 2011 10:09 pm

Rays 'can't sustain' team with present attendance

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Since: Sep 28, 2010
Posted on: June 12, 2011 12:49 am

Rays 'can't sustain' team with present attendance

When factoring the city size, the Rays had the 2nd best attendance per capita according to the city population of St. Petersburg in 2010. Only the Twins had a better per capita attendance record.   St. Pete has three times less the population of Boston, but more than half of the Red Sox attendance numbers. I'm sick of baseball fans criticizing Rays fans for being bandwagoners. A bandwagon fan is someone who lives in Tampa but roots for the Yankees, yet has never lived in New York. Its time to support your area and the Rays.  I am a die hard Rays fan, but I rarely go to games. The dome is simply awful. The Lightning arena is amazing!!! Perfect location on the water with restaurants, bars, and shops surrounding the arena. The rays need to move to Tampa and place the stadium on the water.

Since: Jan 9, 2008
Posted on: June 8, 2011 10:19 am

Rays 'can't sustain' team with present attendance

It is easy to understand!  We in the Tampa area love the Rays!  We cheer for them, wear their gear...and watch them on TV!  Why?  Because we can't afford to go to the game.  Think about it!  Florida is a retirement state.  Many on retirement are on a diminished fixed income.  Who can afford to drop $200 at a baseball game when you can watch it in the comfort of your home for nothing.    At this point, a few large market teams are carrying (and destroying) the whole league.  I say destroying because they continue to pay incredible amount of money for the best players making other teams unable to compete unless they break the bank as well.   This is what can not be sustained.  You want us at the ball park.  Stop paying millions and millions and millions of dollars to guys who play a game and lower prices.  Then, I will see you at the ballpark!

Since: Jul 4, 2008
Posted on: June 8, 2011 10:09 am

Rays 'can't sustain' team with present attendance

I love the RAYS, watch every game and would go to every game; but I am on disability pay and can not afford the trip, the tickets are no problem but the gas it cost me to go to the game is $65 for every trip there. It takes me at least two hours each way and I just can not afford to go more than twice a year. As for the other I grew up in Philly and was a philly fan, but, I believe you root for and support the local team where you call home, anyone that lives here and does not root for the Rays and still roots for the red sucks and the skankees is a moron.

Since: Aug 11, 2008
Posted on: June 8, 2011 9:10 am

Rays 'can't sustain' team with present attendance

The Portland Rays.

Since: Jan 2, 2009
Posted on: June 7, 2011 10:24 pm

Rays 'can't sustain' team with present attendance

The marlins fan attendance isnt because of commute. Miami fans are the worst sport fans and are all bandwagoners pretty much. the rays could be because of commmute and a shitty stadium with food that has gotten some terrible healthgrades.

Since: Nov 18, 2006
Posted on: June 7, 2011 8:20 pm

Rays 'can't sustain' team with present attendance

The Florida Marlins have a better record this year  than do the Rays, and their attendance is the worst.
Yep. They also have a higher payroll and are regularly the most profitable team in baseball according to Forbes. The Rays front office is lying through their teeth saying that they are barely hanging on. This is a stunt aimed at getting St Pete to let them move out of the city.

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