Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Rays Wrap Regular-Season Home Schedule

With tonight's freebie-influenced full house at Tropicana Field, the Rays will finish the season averaging about 23,000 fans per game, good enough for 22nd in the majors. That's a 1 percent drop from last year's 23,147 average, but their best finish in the MLB since their inagural year, 1998.

There's no definite answer why the Rays - and other good teams - are having trouble drawing fans this year, but the New York Times postulates:
But baseball officials and analysts say that many fans are still pinching pennies, even if economists have declared the recession officially over. With more games broadcast in high definition and the price of flat-panel televisions declining, more fans are content to watch their teams at home and perhaps save money for playoff tickets.

“It’s still a hangover from previous years when everyone was worried about the economy,” said Jon Greenberg, executive editor of the Team Marketing Report, which publishes the Fan Cost Index. “People realize they can do without as many games.”
“We might be a lot better baseball market than people realize, but we don’t have the history,” said Philip Porter, an economics professor at the University of South Florida, who said that the Rays were seventh in attendance when adjusting for the region’s population. “There are so many things to do in Florida. We get outside, go to the beach, so we’re not as easily seduced by baseball as somewhere else.”
Here are some other good takes on the Rays' attendance issues this week:

Darren Rovell, CNBC: Free Tickets For Rays Fans Is A Bad Idea
Cork Gaines, Rays Index: Player Comments On Attendance Were Premeditated
Jeff Passan, Yahoo Sports: MLB Shares Blame for Rays' "Support"
Joe Henderson, Tampa Tribune: Maybe Tampa Bay Really is a Lousy Baseball Market
Ray Ratto, Blame the Team, Not the Fans
Eric Glasser, 10 News: Free Rays Tickets Gone in 90 Minutes
Michael Van Sickler, St. Petersburg Times: Mayor Foster waits - and waits - for call from Rays

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