Friday, October 11, 2013

Another ESPN Commentary on Trop Attendance kept on beating the dead horse that is Rays' attendance this week, with a commentary titled, "Trop is a home-field disadvantage."  It's actually a relatively fair assessment of the situation in Tampa Bay, but of course, the national audience could draw some false conclusions.

These were a few of the hits and misses:
  • MISS: "The Rays couldn't even sell out their two American League Division Series games against the always-popular Red Sox."  (Not true.)
  • HIT: "As the locals say, 'It's a much larger body of water than you think.'" (Yes, Tampanians refuse to cross the bridge.)
  • MISS: "Most of the population base is on the other side of the bay in Tampa." (This doesn't tell the whole story - population between Tampa & South Pinellas is very similar; the refusal to drive 30-40 minutes is the real problem.)
  • HIT: "Any plans to build a new stadium closer to the population nucleus are moot until someone buys out the lease. Even if that happened, taxpayers would still have to be convinced to help underwrite a $550 million stadium."
  • MISS: "lease" (It's a use agreement, not a lease - which makes a difference when you try to break it.)
  • HIT: "There is this nagging feeling that major league baseball will never work in Florida....The summers can be enervating, what with high temperatures and afternoon showers. Why not sit at home in the air conditioning and watch the Rays on TV?"
  • MISS: Tampa-St. Pete is the 13th largest TV market in the country. (It's been the 14th for a few years.)
  • HIT: "The Rays have tried nearly everything. Free parking on certain days and for cars with four people. Food is permitted to be brought into the park. And they've made The Trop a great place to watch the game..." (It's one of the best values in the bigs.)
Writer Steve Wulf isn't far from spot-on when handicapping the situation, but his constant reminder that the Rays could move (Memphis? Indianapolis? Carolina? Montreal?) doesn't do the national audience any good.

Not to mention, he fails to mention that the team's poor attendance hasn't prevented it from turning a profit year after year...and strong TV ratings give the team plenty of hope they can remain that way for decades to come.


  1. I think your last paragraph is the main HIT. The team turns a profit year after year and is a model business. Why risk that with a move to another city?

  2. It was about 7:40 A.M. the morning after the Rays big win over the Sox in Game 3, when I tuned into the Rays flagship radio station to find them talking . . . USF football.

    Yes, they were talking all Rays leading up to that point. And yes, they may have the USF coach scheduled at that timeslot each week. Still, I tried to imagine the Red Sox flagship radio station the morning after a big victory talking BC football . . . and couldn't.

    There are a whole lotta ingredients making up this fail pie.

  3. I did find it puzzling that both playoff games at the Trop were declared sellouts, even though Game 4 apparently drew almost a thousand less people than Game 3. Anyone know how that came about?

  4. Since the numbers were paid attendance, its possible Game 4 had more comp tix. Or Game 3 had more standing-room-only tix.

  5. My wife and I attented 22 games this year. We travel 90 miles each way from Punta Gorda .To all you so called Rays Fans, stop crying and get to the TROP.They have a great team, grea manager and are the best bargain in baseball.


  7. Game 4 did not sell out. There were plenty of seats available behind the foul poles when I checked a few hours before game time. I hate the Trop more than anyone in the world, but when that place is full (or nearly full) it is quite an experience compared to when 8,000 are in there. The problem is the economy here in Tampa Bay and lack of mass transit. People here will not pay those prices. The Bucs only sell out when fans of the opposing team show up like the Philly game yesterday, where nearly half the crowd was for the visitors. Moving a stadium to Tampa will only modestly help - I won't drive over the bridge to go there - I live on the beach and it takes more than the 30-40 minutes mentioned here. The bridge going that way is a mess everyday at rush hour.

  8. My only real complaint with the Trop is the small seats and lack of leg room. For reasons I'll never understand the people that designed the building decided to put early 1900's sized seats (Fenway Park) in a place that would seat people that are considerably larger than earlier eras. There's no reason for a fan to have to put a beverage on the ground or stand up every time another fan needs to exit their row.