How Much is the Summer Concert Series Helping Attendance?

By Steve Givarz

It has become a well-documented story since the beginning of the Tampa Bay Rays, that their lack of attendance does not allow the Rays to compete with the big boys in terms of payroll because of their smaller ticket revenues. The team cannot maximize possible revenues from being a MLB team because of multiple variables such as bad location and below-average infrastructure. Various ideas and theories have been brought up throughout the years to try and solve this conundrum.

One idea that has helped attendance has been the combination of a day at the ballpark combined with a concert. The Summer Concert Series for this year includes Carly Rae Jepsen, Kenny Loggins, and OneRepublic. Last year series included ZZ Top and 3 Doors Down. But since the series started in 2009, what has become of it? Is it still marketable? Do fans care enough about it? Considering that Thursday’s game featuring the two reigning Cy Young Award winners, only the third time in major leahue history that this has occurred, drew an non-impressive crowd of 11,979. Will Kenny Loggins and others bring in more fans?

The Rays have held 38 concert series events from the 2009-2012 seasons, which is 9.5 concerts (round down or up doesn’t matter).

As you can see above, the success of the Rays summer concert series has helped to improve overall attendance during these 38 selected home games. Holding concerts has helped in bring in fans who normally wouldn’t be interested in attending games to go to the ballpark because a band is playing afterwards. To know if this has really been a success, we would need to know the costs of bringing in the bands, the concert equipment, the company to set up and breakdown the stage, and extra maintenance involved. If the matchup of recent Cy Young winners doesn’t intrigue fans, how does Kenny Loggins or others improve it? The bottom line is that these techniques are used to help bring in overall fans to the game that, while not there first for baseball, are still at the game. The series has been proven to be one of the Rays better promotions in terms of drawing fans to the game. Other notable events to help attendance have included any Yankee games, strange promotions (such as a Joe Maddon Gnome) and obviously free tickets.

What could the Rays do next to bring in more fans and excite interest in the team?