Trigaux reports the team's huge "market," which essentially extends down to Naples and East to Orlando, creates opportunities for growth and the Rays already have strong support over the airwaves.
In an interview Monday at the Trop, (Rays President Matt) Silverman said the team will encourage the 700,000 to 800,000 unique visitors to Tropicana Field to add just one game to their season total. If half attend another game, Rays home attendance would bump from 1.5 million to over 1.85 million. Based on last year's numbers, that would vault the Rays ahead of five of the 30 Major League teams.Trigaux identifies the stark contrast in the Rays' on-field performance and their box office performance without getting too deep into the Stadium Saga debate. But a polished business writer, he also identifies attendance isn't always indicative of a team's bottom line:
One print ad for the April 6 game against the Cleveland Indians features Price and this quote: "It's not just me on that Cy Young Trophy. It is a little piece of everybody."
"The idea of the campaign is that a fan can settle into a Rays game whether they are in the ballpark or on the couch at home and feel like they are in a familiar place," said Silverman.
The Rays can still make money off fans who never enter the Trop via merchandise sales and TV contracts. The Rays, whose games used to be seen sparingly in television markets outside Tampa Bay, are now viewable statewide about 150 times per season. That reach makes the Rays the most-watched pro sports team in the state.
But Rays executives and, of course, the players agree. Nothing beats the thundering thrill of a sold-out stadium.