Friday, March 14, 2014

Rays Ad Campaign is "Call to Arms"...But Does it Go Far Enough?

The Rays unveiled their 2014 ad campaign this week: "Rays Up," with a specific focus on selling multi-game ticket "Flex Packs."  Robert Trigaux of the Tampa Bay Times explains:
"Rays Up" is a clever play about an aspiring team that's had 90-plus wins in each of the past four seasons, its first Cy Young winner (David Price) in 2012, and three Rookie of the Year winners (Evan Longoria, Jeremy Hellickson and Wil Myers) since 2008.

"Rays Up" also is a call to arms. The franchise hopes fans will rise up to support a quality team by attending more games. The Rays suffered the lowest attendance of any MLB team the past two seasons.
But as much as the slogan may be a subtle reminder for fans to support their local team, does it go far enough?
I've always wondered why the Rays haven't tried an "us vs. the world" campaign.  You know, "we're the small market guys...but if we band together, we can take on the Evil Empire!"  (Even the Red Sox capitalized on this a decade ago)

But instead of embracing their role as a small-market underdog, Rays ownership has spent too many years lamenting their profit-inhibiting stadium situation.  And whether its fair or not, many fans (and would-be fans) harbor feelings of resentment toward management.

For all Stu Sternberg has done with the Rays, he should be one of our community's biggest heroes in the style of Mark Cuban or Jeff Vinik.  But because of the never-ending stadium campaign...and the distrust that surrounds it...many fans see him as a foe, rather than "one of them."

Good news for the Rays is that is hasn't totally stunted ticket sales; indications are the flex packs have been selling well.  But, an even more encouraging sign - something this blog has alluded to for years - is that the franchise is getting old enough that local Yankees and Red Sox fans are having kids who are die-hard Rays fans.  Trigaux continues:
At dozens upon dozens of Little Leagues around the Tampa Bay area, (Mark) Fernandez says, there's heated competition over which team gets to call itself the Rays.


  1. This is 2014 and we now have possibly for the very first time since the TB Devil Rays/Rays were born (1998), a good team and a non-sucking local economy - unemployment rate for Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties is allegedly now 5.7%. If the economy continues to improve during the year, the Rays will easily break 2 million in attendance. The flex packs should help and if Stu Sternberg keeps his trap shut about what a horrible place the Trop is, it can be a very successful season for the Rays.

  2. Would be nice if ESPN would find something else to talk about too. We get more negative publicity from sports media than everywhere else. I bet that the majority of MLB fans across the country would vote the Trop one of, if not the worst venue in baseball despite never stepping inside.