Rays Succeed on the Field, But Fans Don’t Show

The Tampa Bay Rays have been remarkably successful on the field the past four seasons. Despite playing in the most competitive division in baseball, they have averaged 92 wins per season, won the AL East twice, and appeared in the playoffs 3 times. Despite this run of success, in an interview, principal owner Stuart Sternberg was pessimistic about the Rays following their elimination from the playoffs on Tuesday. He lamented the lack of connection between winning and attendance noting, “When I came here, I was confident we could put a winning team on the field, and that would do it. We won, and we won, and we won and we won … and it didn’t do it.” He went on to claim that the Rays, “…just don’t have the $12 million to put into a hitter” and predicted that at some point MLB “is going to vaporize this team.”

Whether the Rays truly can afford more bats is a question for another post, but Sternberg is correct that Rays fans have not voted with their feet in response to the team’s recent success. The Rays finished 28th in attendance for 2011 with slightly more than 1.5 million fans turning up at the Trop. Only the Florida Marlins and Oakland A’s had fewer fans show up this year and neither had as good a current product or recent track record of success.

What explains the poor attendance for the Rays? Market size is commonly cited as a problem for the Rays, but their market is similar in size to the St. Louis market and the Cardinals had no trouble packing more than 3 million fans into Busch Stadium this year. Below I plot 2011 attendance against the natural log of Metropolitan Statistical Area population (2010 census estimates) and provide a fitted regression line. There is a clear positive relationship between market size and 2011 attendance, but Tampa Bay does not fit the general pattern well.

Turning to the connection between winning and attendance, I plot 2010 regular season wins against 2011 attendance. Again, we see a positive relationship and again we see the Rays not fitting the model well, falling 1.5 million fans below what the simple regression would predict based on their 2010 win total.

Moving beyond the 2011 season, I compiled data on attendance, wins, and market size for the 2001-2011 seasons. I regressed regular season attendance on the previous year’s attendance, wins in the previous regular season, an indicator variable for whether a team made the previous postseason, and market size (average of 2000 and 2010 populations). All of these factors were positively related to attendance. A playoff berth is associated with an average attendance increase of approximately 120,000 fans, an additional win in the previous season produces an average attendance increase of 3,350, and an extra million people in the area is associated with an increase of 11,500 in attendance.

Unfortunately for Mr. Sternberg, the Rays 2011 attendance fell 554,242 fans short of what the model would predict. Twelve other teams have drawn at least 500,000 less than the model predicts – including the Mets three times (2003, 2009, and 2010) and the Marlins twice – yet none of these other teams were coming off a playoff appearance or a 90+ win season.

At an average ticket price of $19.42 in 2011, the no-shows cost the Rays $10.76 million dollars in lost revenue – assuming the additional fans would have carpooled and refrained from purchasing concessions or team gear. More realistically, that level of attendance increase would have provided Sternberg with considerably more than the $12 million revenue increase he claims he needs to sign another hitter.

If market size and on-field success cannot explain the empty seats at Rays’ games, what can? Several factors could be at play. First, as a multi-purpose dome, Tropicana Field does not rank high on lists of great ballpark experiences. Second, many complain that the location of the stadium makes it difficult for fans to efficiently drive to and from games. Third, the fallout from the housing bubble has hit Florida particularly hard, so the economy has probably dragged down the Rays attendance more than it has some others teams, but see Detroit. Fortunately for the Rays, economies recover and nice stadiums can be built in convenient locations, but what if you build it and they don’t come? What if Tampa residents simply refuse to support the Rays? Will MLB vaporize the team? If Rays fans do not begin to show up soon, we may find out.




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I am political science professor at the University of North Carolina. I grew up watching the Braves on TBS and acquired Red Sox fandom during the 1986 World Series. My other hobbies include cooking, good red wine, curing meats, and obsessing over Alabama football---Roll Tide! Follow me on Twitter @ProfJRoberts.


80 Responses to “Rays Succeed on the Field, But Fans Don’t Show”

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  1. Sandy Kazmir says:

    I’m just going to put this right here http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/645007/popdens.png

    It has very little to do with market size and a lot more to do with stadium accessibility. Two days after the season ended and you guys are already grabbing the low-hanging fruit and resorting to easy copy. I full expected you to mention the Diamondbacks attendance last night, but c’est la vie. Do better next time, Professor.

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    • PC says:

      Huh. That makes sense. And this seems to support the notion that stadium location is the determining factor: http://www.tampabay.com/sports/baseball/rays/television-ratings-for-tampa-bay-rays-on-the-rise/1111241

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      • Sandy Kazmir says:

        Steve Slowinski had a great look at the whole rating kerfuffle. TV ratings were through the roof last year and fell back to slightly better than 2009 this year. Saying the Rays had a 37% decrease in rating Y2Y is dishonest as they were actually up over 2009. http://www.draysbay.com/2011/10/6/2472726/maury-brown-relocation-and-contraction-are-non-starters#comments
        The narrative is that the Rays fanbase is a joke and there have been all kinds of attempts to back this up. Some honest, but many not. As a big fan that lives out of the area and still goes to a few games a year I find it embarrassing that people don’t show up, but at least get to the heart of the matter instead of theorizing foolishly or invoking bad number manipulation to prove a point.

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    • Jacob says:

      I’d be curious to see Texas on that

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    • NJ says:

      Maybe I’m missing something, but this article seems to be in agreement with you. If it was simply market size, so says the model, the Rays should have expected 500K+ more fans this year. Since this didn’t happen, there must be other issues at play. The article even goes on to name location as one of those issues.

      “Many complain that the location of the stadium makes it difficult for fans to efficiently drive to and from games. “

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    • Ryan says:

      Wow. The Rockies have it made.

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      • cthabeerman says:

        I live in Denver, and can attest that the stadium is perfectly placed. It’s downtown, close to the major interstates, and has both bus and train routes running just blocks away.

        I can routinely get off work and make it to the stadium in about 30-40 minutes via their light rail system. It only costs a couple bucks, as opposed to outrageous parking prices. Toss in the fact that you can pick up Rockpile tickets at $4 and watch the game while walking on the concourse without being hassled and you have yourself a baseball fan’s dream.

        I also attribute their attendance to a female population of greater than 50% and the opinion that many chicks really dig the color purple. They dress up cute in droves and the guys will follow…makes for a really fun environment. Coors is one of my favorite ballparks.

        -C

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      • Sox2727 says:

        @cthabeerman: You’re spot on, Coors Field is so perfectly placed. It’s right in the heart of Denver within walking distance of bars and restaurants. I came to Denver when the White Sox played the Rockies this summer and of the 9 parks I’ve visited that has been my most enjoyable experience.

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    • steve-o says:

      How far away is the TV remote?
      I’ll

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  2. DMCj says:

    Hey – where’s Washington in there?

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    • I tossed the Washington/Montreal franchise out given the short time series I was working with. Given the semi-homeless nature of them for all those years I thought they would add noise to the model.

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  3. Slartibartfast says:

    MOVE THE RAYS TO BROOKLYN

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    • Warde says:

      That would take an infinite improbability drive

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    • SC2GG says:

      Then the location of their stadium would be even worse, although I suppose the fans could go to the game when they’re visiting their kids.

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      • Slartibartfast says:

        Does not compute.

        What exactly do you mean? That the location of the stadium wouldn’t be accessible to enough fans? That Brooklyn is populated by too many young people who wouldn’t financially support the team (since it’s been shown that the older fans spend more money on stuff related to MLB teams’ income)?

        Explain yourself so I can tell you how wrong you are. A team in Brooklyn would undoubtedly and immediately flourish.

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      • JimNYC says:

        Your statement is so wrong that I don’t even know where to begin.

        I’m always perplexed whenever this issue comes up that people don’t focus on the main, determinative factor: fan interest. Some cities are baseball towns. Some are football towns. Some are ___ towns. Every sports fan (aside from, I don’t know, Mark Cuban) has a limited amount of money to spend on their sports fandom. That money gets divvied up among whatever sports they follow.

        In New York City, almost nobody follows NASCAR (I’ve lived here for twenty years and have met one person who could name three NASCAR drivers). College football is nonexistent. College basketball is all but nonexistent. In Florida, people spend sports fandom dollars on NASCAR, college basketball, and college football — 100% of those dollars, in New York, don’t go to those sports. In Florida, the NFL is more popular than MLB. In New York, it isn’t — baseball is more popular than any other sport by far. For every dollar that ever sports fan in New York spends following sports, I’d wager that probably sixty or sixty five cents goes to baseball — something you can’t say of Florida.

        Moving the Rays to Brooklyn would be a fantastic move. It’s a baseball-mad city. Brooklyn is more physically accessible to most of the New York metro area’s population than the Bronx is — For the two and a half million people who live in Brooklyn, the million or so who live in Staten Island and Manhattan below 59th Street, most of the two and a half million who live in Queens, the two million or so who live in Jersey south of Hoboken, and all of the three million who live on Long Island. The Mets would fight the move like mad, but, seriously, they’ve brought their problems on themselves.

        Even a 100% perfectly run baseball team would not draw many people in, say, Kiev, because nobody there has ever heard of baseball, and nobody cares about the sport. Tampa / St. Petersburg sports fans care only slightly more about baseball than Ukranian sports fans. It’s not a mix that can work in the long run.

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      • Someanalyst says:

        @Slartibartfast – you’re right. It does not compute. Literally. I believe it to be an attempt at non sequitur humour (very common in English, though less so in other languages). Plainly: it would a terrible location for the Tampa Rays to be in Brooklyn (visiting their children… older demographic in Florida, kids moving to NYC…). SC2GG isn’t wrong at all, he is just a little bit dull. Brownie points for the deadpan that caught you looking though…

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      • JG says:

        “In Florida, people spend sports fandom dollars on NASCAR”

        Outside of the tourists at Daytona (and the 20 people who live in the Panhandle and might as well be in Alabama), not really. Maybe it’s selection bias, but pretty much all of my sports-watching friends like baseball (although football is always going to be king around here).

        I’m hoping the Marlins Ballpark succeeds wildly so that Sternberg can use it as leverage for a better ballpark. He could probably also use the Rays TV ratings (which are extremely good) in that argument.

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  4. Slartibartfast says:

    Also, did you make those graphs on a commodore 64?

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    • Actually Stata 11 on a MacBook Pro, but I see the issue. Not sure what is going on with those. If you click on them they are much more clear.

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      • Slartibartfast says:

        Oh yea. Just the thumbnails are borked.

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      • joser says:

        The graphs are bitmaps and they’re getting scaled to fit the space available to them; rasterized text at small sizes tends to look rather bad when pixels are removed and the remainder averaged. I don’t know if the server generated the thumbnails for you automatically or if you supplied them yourself, but the simplest solution might be to just make the thumbnails even smaller, so everyone immediately clicks for the larger size rather than squinting at the tiny version. (There are other approaches, like using SVG or some other vector format, but those tend to have spotty browser support and you’re going to have issues with too much going on in too little space no matter what)

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  5. Deadeye says:

    Economy
    Location
    Population of North Eastern transplants who refuse to support the local team.
    That is all.

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    • Barkey Walker says:

      Last time I was in Tampa the hotel I stayed in had a Jeter hit record poster for sale in the lobby (I was staying at the away team hotel) and I saw tons of Yankees hats but not a single rays hat.

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  6. aab says:

    Tampa is a bad sports town for a lot of reasons, many of which were included in your discussion. The town is also quite sprawling with no main, centralized area. It also has a significant number of transplanted retirees who have no real ties to the city (and thus couldn’t care about the city’s sports teams).

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    • Sandy Kazmir says:

      The team is in St. Pete. If you’re going to comment on something have a GD clue, first.

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      • Notrotographs says:

        Settle down, no one kicked your dog.

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      • joser says:

        I’m interested in the evidence you presented above, but when you make comments like that I’m tempted to discount all of it the way I ignore every surly internet ranter.

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      • Richie says:

        No one’s this surly unless they want a fight. Nor this stupid; as NJ points out above, the author even cites Kazmir’s point in the actual article itself, yet Kazmir still complains and insults him. Kazmir’s just trying to start something for whatever emotional reasons.

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      • kick me in the GO NATS says:

        His tone is bad, but he is not all wrong. Tampa and St. Petersburg are different places with different populations. The stadium is located in a beautiful but very inaccessible location. Last time I was visiting friends a bit north in Clearwater I suggested going to a game and they (baseball fans who watch on tv and have money) told me it was such a huge hassle to go to game that they would rather watch it on a big screen T.V. at a bar. So we all went to a sports bar to watch the game. They said driving to the stadium would take 2 hours at game time. They live only half an hour to 45 minutes North of Petersburg during non-game times.

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    • How Tampa a bad sports town? The team is in St. Pete, first off. The Bucs, unitl last year, had 11 straight sellout seasons and the Lightning get near sellouts every night (I believe they had close to a 90% ticket sell rate last year).

      The Trop has 615K residents within a 30 min drive. The next worst team is Milwaukee with 1.25M within a 30 min drive. More than double! If the team were in downtown Tampa it would still be less than Milwaukee but at roughly 1.02 within a 30 min drive. Huge difference.

      I’m not saying Rays sell out in Tampa but the numbers would be different.

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  7. Eric says:

    I do not live in Tampa, but I have family who live just outside of Tampa proper. They are huge Rays fans (one cousin sent both their boys to one of the Rays camps). They happened to be visiting during the final Rays/Red Sox series, and, let’s just say that during dinner they were paying more attention to game updates on their phones than to the food.

    However, they don’t attend games. In line with Kazmir’s point, the Trop is not well situated. They keep hoping for a relocated stadium so that they can make it to more games. They surprised me by saying they actually like the Trop — as they sad to me, it makes up for appearances with air conditioning (damn that TX summer!). I realize this is only one example, but it seems to fit what some others have noted regarding the rays.

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  8. Ben says:

    As a resident of the Bay area who usually attends a half-dozen games a year, I’ll take a whack at listing a few issues:

    1. Most of the middle-aged disposable income crowd around here are transplants, with no real community connection to the team.

    2. Most of the growth in the last 2 decades has been in Tampa suburbs, which are at best a 45 minute commute each way (usually 1.5+ hour at rush hour right before game time).

    3. There’s a lot of competition for recreation in the area, one of the fringe benefits of living in a tourist trap. A family can either go to a game and spend $100 to sit in a warehouse for 3+ hours, or go to the beach and listen to the game on radio while watching the sunset for free.

    4. Frankly, people don’t like to be guilt-tripped into supporting a millionaire athletic club. There’s a lot more deserving charities around here that could use the money.

    Honestly, the best solution would probably be the move the team. If someone else wants to support them, let them have at it.

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    • RéRé says:

      Couldn’t agree more. As a baseball fan, it makes me sad to see such a successful product largely ignored at the gate. Miami has a new stadium so why not give up on a 2nd Florida team and move the Rays to a new location?

      Anyone know what kind of lease issue may stand in their way?

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      • Dustin says:

        I think point 1 is particularly important. Though the Rays’ market is comparable in size to the Cardinals’, the former have been around for a little over a decade (during most of which, they stunk and had an owner who was actively hostile toward fans) while the latter have been around for over a century. Adults from St. Louis grew up with the Cardinals. Adults in the Tampa Bay are could not have grown up with the Rays. Not only are many of them transplants, with baseball loyalties to the teams they left behind, but even those that aren’t grew up with the Yankees–and a number of other teams–holding spring training and FL League games in the area. Maybe bay-area residents who are kids now will be loyal, ticket-buying fans in the future, if the Rays stick around. As of now, the Rays have not had time to build a strong, loyal, local fanbase.

        Point 2 is important too, but it doesn’t admit of an easy fix. I mean, what do you do? Move the team to Lutz? Or Plant City? The travel-to-the-ballpark problem is a symptom of a more general infrastructure problem in the Tampa Bay area.

        Speaking of general problems in the bay area, the sports-economics has to be a big one, too. The downturn has pummeled all of Florida, but nowhere, I think, harder than the bay area. Maybe they’re right. Maybe more of us should make it to the Trop more often (I only make it down from Gainesville a few times per season). But for Sternberg and co. to to put the screws to the taxpayers–and the fans–over the team’s money issues is distasteful at best.

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      • David Carter says:

        The Rays’ lease runs through 2027.

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  9. El Guapo says:

    Disregarding the previous ill-informed and pointless comment, we should say no stadium should finance mulitmillionaire owners. If the owners can’t drum up the corporate support needed to generate sales of luxury boxes (that’s what building a new stadium is really about), then they should conitinue playing in their current location, which is air-condoitioned and rather comfortable and pleasant. The alternative could be that the owners build their own stadium. The corporate support for the Rays is pretty weak, and that undermines all efforts to get a stadium built anywhere in the Tampa Bay area. Improve that support, and the stadium will probably get built.

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  10. Nate says:

    Charlotte, NC would love to have you.

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  11. El Guapo says:

    A beautiful stadium, built on the waterfront, would be a destination attraction. Restaurants, shops, concessions, any numbers of things to see and do in it, and the pace would support itself. All of Tampa and downtown St Pete are both wonderful places to spend time in. A stadium in either would either community economically and socially.

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  12. Nik says:

    Philly could support a second team. Largest one-team market left since the As moved out of town.

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  13. El Guapo says:

    ** place

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  14. El Guapo says:

    The A’s left because Philadelphia wouldn’t support a second team.

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  15. El Guapo says:

    Can’t think od a better place to watch a ballgame than old Al lang Field in downtown St Pete. A major league park could ave replaced it if the team owners wanted to do the park themselves. Asking a broke city to pony up the exorbitant costs is absurd.

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  16. Eli says:

    I’d love to see a study about relative transplant population and the impact it has on attendance. How many people per 1,000 were not born in the Tampa-St. Pete-Clearwater MSA? Probably far above the MLB average. Same for Miami, which would also explain the Marlins’ crappy attendance.

    Also, look at corporate influence in the area. Tampa/St. Pete has only three Fortune 500 companies, and only a few other major corporations have a presence in the area. You’re not getting much help from them, either.

    It’s just not an environment conducive to a baseball team. Transplants aren’t liable to support the team, and the Yuppie population in the area isn’t high enough to compensate for that.

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    • Richie says:

      I hadn’t known this, regarding corporate influence, nor considered it. But it sounds quite compelling. Thanks for looking it up and pointing it out.

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  17. Wrote something similar for my blog, but looked at attendance for all professional sports teams in Florida.

    It’s not just a Rays problem.

    http://thesportsrocker.blogspot.com/2011/10/tampa-rays-owner-frustrated-with.html

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  18. Barkey Walker says:

    Maybe they could move to Minnesota and they could contract the Twins instead. Question: what happens to your contracts when you undergo contraction? Since it is a valid contract, you’d either have to file for bankruptcy or hope star player doesn’t exercise the no-trace clause.

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  19. JCA says:

    One factor to look at is expectations for the team. Tampa Bay had a jump in payroll after the world series and going into next year, while this year had a substantial cut back down to 2008 levels. There was the loss of the entire bullpen as well as several regulars. That may have affected expectations. Add in the (incorrect) hopelessness of the midseason when the Rays appeared to fall out of contention, and that probably explains the year to year drop off more than the constant winning record.

    Perhaps you could do a regression based on % change in payroll? That’s not perfect, because expectations for the Rays also are based on the farm system, but I’m guessing that those who were hyped about seeing the farm boys were already hard core baseball people. As for midseason hopelessness, maybe year over year monthly attendance correlates tightly to games back of palyoff spot?

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  20. Ian says:

    People may laugh, but maybe the Rays should be moved to Montreal. The attendance for the 1994 Expos (especially in the last 6 weeks of the aborted season, when it was obvious the team was “for real”) compares favorably to the Rays attendance this year, and the Expos were not coming off of 2 postseason appearances in the previous 3 seasons, including a World Series appearance.

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  21. Richie says:

    Bill James has noted a correlation between the length of a team’s stay in its market and that team’s attendance. That fan bases do gradually build up over time. Which, of course, works against the Rays vis-a-vis the more established franchises.

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  22. Maybe I’m missing something, but what’s the r2 on those correlations?

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  23. Ran says:

    Baseball doesnt seem to work in florida. Neither team draws well.

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    • Someanalyst says:

      I blame the axis of evil formed by Jai alai and Jeffrey Lloria (please let me keep my double L – I used to be an Expos fan…).

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    • JG says:

      No, it’s the stadium(s). The Rays’ TV ratings are well above average (7th in baseball as of last year, maybe someone can help me get more current data). I suppose you could say this has to do with the size of the broadcast area (entire state of Florida, albeit overlapping nearly exactly with the Marlins’ broadcast area), but you could say that about pretty much any of the teams that are ahead of them too.

      Cincinnati has the highest ratings – I’ve watched their local broadcast a couple states away. Detroit is next – they’ve monopolized the entire state of Michigan plus Toledo. Etc.

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  24. Dave says:

    Is “origination” a factor? Out here in arizona, the dbacks have lower attendance because many people were born some place else and already have a favorite team. Are a lot of people in Tampa from other places?

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  25. Ed Walters says:

    I think the main reasons baseball is not succeeding in Tampa-St Petersburg is
    1) The vast majority of residents here are transplants and are often not willing to trade their loyalties to the Rays. I find it sobering how many fans attend the Rays games and support the Yankees and Red Sox. They simply refuse to support the local team.
    2) The mentality of the south is not conducive to having an interest an baseball. People here are more drawn to football, NASCAR, monster truck pulls, World Federation Wrestling, and alligator wrestling. Baseball doesn’t seem to fit the mentality of the south.
    3) The location of this stadium is poor. I have personally attended approxamately 300 games since the teams inception…each visit requiring a 75 mile round trip. It is not strategically located for the majority of people in the metro area.
    4) The stadium is dreary and unattractive. You have to really like baseball to be drawn here. It is located in a poor area with a relatively high crime rate.
    I have fond memories of the Rays and the times I have gone to the games with my family. Sadly those days may be numbered. The majority of people in this area have not embraced the team and too many people are simply oblivious to the team.

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    • mike says:

      1, 3 and 4 are valid, and along with the economy are the biggest problems. I personally like the trop (I just wish they could move it to Tampa), but I understand why a lot of people don’t.

      2 is wrong. Tampa is a huge baseball town. Little League and high school baseball are big deals here, as are American Legion and college. Tampa has produced a huge number of professional ball players given its size, and that is in no small part due to how popular baseball is in Tampa. That said, people haven’t had the Rays to support for all that long and it does take a while to develop a following. It didn’t help that we had the worst owner in sports for the first 7 (6?) years of the team’s existence.

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  26. Mr Punch says:

    The nature and location of the stadium are certainly problems – but isn’t it also true that Tampa Bay has a team because it already had a stadium? I’ll bet that the teams that thought about moving there for that reason (the Giants, White Sox and Indians IIRC) are glad they didn’t. BTW, comparisons with football are pointless. Football takes place every couple of weeks on weekends. I’ll bet you could sell out a football stadium in Green Bay or Tuscaloosa or ….

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  27. adohaj says:

    The differences look cultural to me.

    People in Florida just don’t care about baseball. Whereas people in the Midwest care more. Both Florida teams don’t fit the model and “should” be getting higher attendance. Where MIN, MIL, STL, CHC get more fans than the model predicts. CHW and KC are exceptions since there is a more popular team in town.

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      I love baseball and live pretty much in the middle of StL and Chicago, and have also lived in KC and have attended games in MIL.

      But, give me the choice of doing something outside in FLA, perhaps even the beach versus spending $150+ taking the family to a baseball game … and well that’s a pretty easy decision.

      How’s this … I can watch the game at the beach.

      Wasn’t Tampa the HS baseball talent capital of the US a couple of decades ago?

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  28. Slacker George says:

    Gotta love at an industry whose fans, media, ownership all scream at the people that don’t want to attend, rather than enticing them to attend. Imagine if that happened at your local italian restaurant. As you walk by, a food writer, a patron and the owner yell at you for not dining. Your (wo)manhood insulted, your intelligence questioned, your character impuned.

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  29. Slacker George says:

    BTW, I live in Jacksonville and used to be a season-ticket holder, but am no longer one. The Jaguars have serious attendence problems and the citizens of the city are criticized constantly for poor attendence. Just short of calling you un-American. This stupidity has got to stop. The fans who attend are invested and that is good, but calling out people to “man-up” on sports radio talk shows is just plain idiotic. Too many people’s priorities are all f-ed up.

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  30. Jurgen Maas says:

    I’m starting a campaign to move the Rays to Montreal. (I’m sure Jonah Keri would be down with that.)

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    • André says:

      Been making a list of artists/causes I’d donate lots of money to if I had lots of money. This is on the list now.

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  31. One reason attendance is lower than expected is that Stu Sternberg keeps complaining about the attendance. The guy has $3 billion in assets, and every three or four months he complains that not enough fans come to the games. Then he threatens to move the team, or he says he’s going to cut payroll, and who wants to watch a team with a bunch of players no one has ever heard of. Well, this year that’s exactly what the Rays had, but GM Andrew Friedman did such a fabulous job that those no names went and beat out the Boston Red Sox for the wild card.
    Supposedly our lack of attendance cost Sternberg a total of $12 million in revenue. My response: So what? How many years of $12 million dollars in losses would it take for his $3 billion dollars to go away. Do the math. He bought the team cheap, and he knew the problems when he bought the team. If he isn’t happy, he should sell it and let someone else run it (but keep Friedman and Joe Maddon around).
    There is NOTHING wrong with the Tampa Bay area that a recovered economy won’t fix. Meanwhile, Sternberg and the NYC media should butt out when it comes to Tampa Bay’s affairs. The fans the Rays have are loyal and vocal. They are the best fans in the world. We are fans deserving of this fine team. And when you complain about us, it really pisses up off.

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      Cub fans could move to Tampa and eliminate both exceptions to the general rule.

      I think owners like TB look at the team as a potential jackpot if they can convince another city to acquire the team and build a new stadium. He could literally make 100M+ on a deal like that (i.e., selling the team for much more than he bought it for) … rather than try to build the fan base in TBR.

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