The first-place San Diego Padres - with their state-of-the-art Downtown ballpark - are having the same problem the Rays have encountered: a fantastic season has resulted in soaring TV ratings, but not soaring ticket sales:
"This is ridiculous,"” said Isaac de la Fuente, a Dodgers fan who attended Tuesday’s 2-1 Padres win against L.A. “You’re in a pennant race, (playing) against your most hated rival and you can’t come close to filling your stadium.”The San Diego Union-Tribune suggests the economy may be the biggest culprit, but it also suggests a problem not only the Rays but also NFL teams are encountering across the country:
Why pay for tickets that cost as much as $61, plus $8 beers, $5 hot dogs and $10 for parking when you can watch the games on your big-screen, high-definition TV with your feet propped up in the comfort of your living room?The Padres are still averaging 26,038 fans per game - good enough for 19th in the league. The Rays, meanwhile, have sagged to a 22,679/game average - 23rd in the league and the worst of any playoff contender.
At this point, it is reasonable to conclude the Rays are battling the (first-place-for-now) Bucs for the few expendable entertainment dollars available in Tampa Bay.