Sunday, September 21, 2014

Rays Attendance: 2014 Post-Mortem

The Rays finished 2014 with 1.44 million fans through the gate, a worst-in-the-league average of 17,858 fans per game.  It's their poorest showing 2007.

The 2014 total represents nearly an 800 fan-per-game drop from 2013, which is about right given the team's terrible start and season-long struggle to reach .500.  The rest of MLB attendance remained about flat from 2013.

Its also worth noting the Rays enjoyed another good year on television and stand to make major financial gains when they renegotiate their TV contract, set to expire after the 2016 season.

There was a chance heading into the season's final week the Rays wouldn't finish in dead-last in attendance since the Indians are just about 500 fans per game ahead of Tampa Bay right now with just three weekday games against the Royals and three weekend games against the Rays left.

UPDATE: The Indians dropped to just 420 334 274 fans per game ahead of Tampa Bay with five four three games to go, but the season-ending series against the Rays boosted that number back up to 570.

UPDATE 2: However, had the Indians counted their three weekday single-admission doubleheaders toward their attendance totals, their per-game average would look much different.  If you added the 40,129 total fans who saw the three doubleheaders, the Indians' average would be 18,241- 344 fans ahead of the Rays.  If you don't double-count the fans from the doubleheader (we don't know if they watched both games), the Indians would be averaging just 17,746 - 122 fans behind the Rays, who sold about 10,000 more tickets this year.

For what it's worth, the Tribe taught us last year you can sell fewer tickets and still make more money.

Nevertheless, the criticisms of the Rays' attendance will continue.  As I said last year, there is no shortage of excuses: the dome, The Bridge, the economy, relations with St. Petersburg, etc.  But there's also a preponderance of evidence that the attendance complaints are a self-fulfilling prophecy - a theory first addressed on this blog four years ago.

Bookmark this page and check back throughout the week for updates on MLB's final attendance standings.

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