A Look at the Rays’ Attendance

By David Hill

When one thinks of the Tampa Bay Rays, several things come to mind. First and foremost would be the presence of stars such as Evan Longoria and David Price. Next would be the Rays core of younger players, with Wil Myers, Matt Moore and Alex Cobb leading the way. Then may be the Rays seemingly ever present attendance issues.

At this point, the thought that the Rays struggle to draw fans has almost become considered an irrefutable truth, akin to water being wet and oxygen being necessary for human life. There may be a number of underlying reasons for that, such as Tropicana Field being difficult to access and how the Rays simply have not had enough time to generate a large fan base, as most people likely grew up fans of other teams. However, the Rays attendance situation may not be as bad as it would seem.

Even though the Rays have the lowest average attendance in baseball, they are not the only team that is struggling to draw fans. Despite playing a series with potential playoff implications, the Indians averaged only 11,498 fans in their three game set with the Royals. Even worse, Cleveland drew only 9794 for their Monday night matchup.

When looking at the Rays attendance as a percentage of stadium capacity, the Rays are not quite as bad as other teams around the league. Even though they are filling only 54.9% of the Trop, there are five other teams that have not even done that. The Rays are also have been able to generate interest on the road, where they rank 18th in road attendance this season. Tampa also ranks sixth in television ratings, as the interest in the ballclub appears to be there, even if the Trop is typically half full.

While it would be great to see the Rays draw more fans to the Trop, the interest in the team appears to be there, which is more than some other teams can say. Now, if only some of those fans would migrate to the Trop….