14 users responded in this post

Subscribe to this post comment rss or trackback url
Matt Blaszka said on September 29th, 2010 at 9:10 am

I wanted to note this and maybe I am wrong.

If you already bought tickets for the game the team is saying you can exchange them. So in theory, those fans who bought tickets can exchange tickets for another game which would mean that not one person at the game could spend a dime at the Trop.

Russell Scibetti said on September 29th, 2010 at 9:12 am

Matt – they can exchange them for a better location for this game, not for a future game. Sorry if that part wasn’t clear.

Matt Blaszka said on September 29th, 2010 at 9:42 am


Thanks for the clarification. Keep up the great work on the blog. Absolutely love the insight.

Deandra D. said on September 29th, 2010 at 11:53 am

I agree with the pros and the cons- definitely gets people in the building, some who would have never done so and some who just lost interest… in hopes to turn them into repeat buyers/attendees. Who knows, they could purchase tix for the next game OR they could sit and expect to be given free tickets again.

The players calling them out could result in a “what have you done for me lately?” argument that they don’t want to open.

Eric H. said on September 29th, 2010 at 1:40 pm

People have very busy lives, especially once school starts back up in the fall. They have a variety of things they could devote their time to each and every evening, some entertainment-related, some not. Obviously, the Rays’ on-field product is not the issue. Just glancing at the situation without having ever been to Tampa indicates to me that the stadium is probably in an awful, inconvenient location and that fans just have no interest in driving out to a stadium that is widely regarded as having a very drab environment. They’d rather stay home and watch the game on TV while being able to flip over to The Office or Dancing With the Stars or The Biggest Loser or Jersey Shore if they feel like it. I LOVE baseball and I’ve been to one game in Arlington this season and would never even dream of going out there on a weeknight. The traffic is abominable and the parking lot might as well be in New Mexico. It’s not convenient.

The Embarrassment of Empty Seats « The Jersey Boys said on September 29th, 2010 at 1:48 pm

[…] lead to David Price and Evan Longoria calling out their fan base. The Rays responded by giving away 20,000 free tickets for tonight’s game. Good for the Rays to step up to the plate and recognize that there is a […]

Brian said on September 29th, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Fans who aren’t season ticket holders have to make choices on a game-to-game basis on how to spend their limited supply of disposable income. If you can only afford to go to one or two games for the rest of the season, and the September games are relatively meaningless b/c you know the team has locked up a playoff spot, aren’t you going to make the choice to save your money for October baseball?

Jason Peck said on September 29th, 2010 at 3:06 pm

If their goal is simply just to fill up the stadium, then I can’t blame them for giving out tickets however they can. But the marketer in me thinks this is a huge missed opportunity to collect data/leads. It seems like they could have implemented an online redemption process without too much trouble.

Amanda M. said on September 29th, 2010 at 3:18 pm

With respect to what Eric said, he is correct, the stadium is in a VERY inconvenient place to most of the Tampa Bay area (I lived there for four years). According to one of the Tampa sports talk radio personalities, there are only 600,000 people living in a 30 minute driving radius to the Trop, which is the LOWEST in MLB. Traffic from Tampa to St. Pete is brutal on the weekdays. So you’d really have to be a diehard fan to go to a game on a weekday.

Also, Tampa has been hit particularly hard by the economy due to the amount of construction and home sales that have been lost.

Finally, I think the players have a right to say they are disappointed in the fan turnout, just as the fans have the right not to turnout. It isn’t the worst thing if fans are reminded that their presence at games does actually give players a boost, and is noticed.

Chris said on September 29th, 2010 at 4:37 pm

Great comments everyone. Really enjoy the various perspectives. I don’t know much about the actual building or location so Amanda and Eric’s insight is great.

Given the success of the team, however, I’d still expect more fans to be in attendance. The Yankees vs. Rays series (which had serious playoff implications) drew roughly 28,000 per game. I’ve gone to a lot of games at the Oakland Coliseum (Oakland A’s) which isn’t a great stadium but when the A’s were in contention the place was electric.

Russell makes a great point that giving away tickets not only devalues the product but by handing out tickets in person they likely aren’t collecting any fan information.

Brian said on September 29th, 2010 at 6:22 pm

In response to Chris about expecting more fans to be in attendance than 28k, I don’t know that I agree. The Rays reported attendance has been relatively steady the past 3 seasons while they’ve been winning… around 22-23k per game on average. Even if they get a new stadium that is more comfortable and convenient for their fans, they’d probably boost that per-game average by about 5k (at least in the first few seasons, assuming they’re still putting a competitive team on the field). Drawing 27k-to-28k per game is actually around the league average… similar to the Astros, White Sox and Padres this season. What that says to me is that if you take an average MLB market and combine it with an inconvenient/outdated ballpark, you’re gonna get below average attendance, playoff team or not.

Chris said on September 30th, 2010 at 1:32 am

Good point Brian. My argument is that I’d expect more fans for a series against the Yankees that had playoff implications, or a series in which the Rays could clinch a playoff birth. The Cleveland Indians did a study recently (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aIMcWw4Qzvlk) and found that Yankees games alone boosted attendance 11,000. Thus for a Yankees series in September I’d expect more, while understanding 28K for a typical game is about the league average.

Monica said on September 30th, 2010 at 8:51 am

Another piece that hasn’t been mentioned is the fact that so many people living in Tampa / Central Florida are transplants that brought with them allegiances to other teams. When you combine those allegiances with the inconvenience of getting to and from the game I can see why people don’t show up.

@JSfromZ said on October 3rd, 2010 at 5:10 pm

Great article and great comments. I particularly don’t know the area but if one of the true issues is the park’s location (along with traffic/parking/…) maybe we could start seeing shuttle buses+reduced price ticket packages like in college sports. I honestly don’t know if this is already being done (I’m not a big baseball fan, really) but at least management could charge ‘something’ (of course enough to cover costs) for the package and get extra revenue from food and drinks in the ballpark.
Prior to that, I believe online redemption activity is a must in order to understand true reasons for low attendance.