Thursday, May 7, 2015

Rangers vs Rays Attendance Review 2007-2014

Tonight, the Rays play the Texas Rangers at Tropicana Field for the first time in 2015. This post will look at demographics and attendance trends for Rays home games versus the Rangers since 2007.

According to my demographic study last year, there are approximately 97,500 Texas Rangers fans living in Florida. This number is derived from the 2012 Quinnipac poll that showed 1% of Florida baseball fans are Rangers fans. Assuming 50% of all residents are baseball fans, that leads us with 1% of 50% or 97,500.

The following chart shows the Rays home record versus the Rangers, average attendance at Tropicana Field when the Rangers visit, the overall annual average, and the percentage difference between attendance versus the Rangers and the average attendance.

Typically, the Rays play only one home series versus the Rangers each season. In 2011, they played two home series. In 2007, the Devil Rays hosted the Rangers at Disney's Wide World of Sports. We are not counting that series for this study as it did not happen in the Tampa Bay area.

Since 2007, games versus the Rangers have drawn 15% less than the average game at Tropicana Field.

The following graph depicts the previous chart.

Average attendance in games versus the Rangers has not been consistent.

Let's see if this trend might be due to a weekend/weekday split. The Rays usually have significant weekday/weekend attendance splits. In 2014, the Rays saw 52% more fans on weekends than on weekdays.

(Note: I define "weekdays" as Monday through Thursday, or days where the average fan is restricted in time on both sides of the game, whether by work, traffic, or a need to sleep. Weekends are defined as Friday, Saturday, and Sunday - games where fans can stay as late as possible.)

Weekdays (Mon-Thurs)

In 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2014, Rays home games versus the Rangers were scheduled for a weekday. The following chart depicts how many weekday games were played as well as the average Rays attendance in games versus the Rangers on weekdays. The far right column is the percentage difference between average attendance in Rangers games and average attendance for the season.

The following graph depicts the previous chart.

Whereas the Rays average weekday attendance has dropped 26.5% since 2010, weekday attendance in games versus the Rangers has dropped 33% since 2010.


The following chart shows how many games were played and, more importantly, Rays attendance on weekend games versus the Rangers since 2007. Like the weekday chart, the far right column shows the percentage difference between attendance at Rangers games and attendance for all games at Tropicana Field.

Attendance for weekend Rangers games has been closer to the Rays average attendance than Rangers weekday attendance. Looking at promotions, we might be able to explain why 2009 and 2014 attendance was above average. In 2009, the Rays vs Rangers weekend series (21-23 Aug) featured a crowd of over 32,000 to see a Big & Rich post-game concert and over 29,000 to receive a Raymond bank. In 2014 (4-6 April), over 30,000 visited Tropicana Field on Saturday, April 5th to receive a Wil Myers bobblehead.

In 2012, during the Rays versus Rangers series on 7-9 Sept, there was a Sunday family day post-game concert by former Disney star Coco Jones. Attendance for the entire series was below the Rays average attendance for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

The following graph depicts the previous chart.

With a big-name Saturday night promotion, the Rays average weekend attendance versus the Rangers is close to their eventual annual weekend average. Without a Saturday night allure, weekend attendance versus the Rangers is below the annual weekend average.


This season, the Rays play four home games versus the Rangers, one tonight and three this upcoming weekend. We can probably predict attendance for tonight's game will be lower than average due to the Tampa Bay Lightning playoff game at Amalie Arena. That game will sell out and thousands of Tampa Bay sports fans will be watching on television.

If the Lightning lose, Game 5 of their series will be on Saturday night. Although it will be in Montreal, again, many Tampa Bay sports fans will be watching. The Saturday schedule also features a Tampa Bay Rowdies home game at newly renovated Al Lang Stadium that will probably draw 3,000-5,000.

To the Rays advantage, they have several promotions scheduled throughout the series:
  • Thursday: None
  • Friday: Wine Night & Wrestling Night (ed note: not sure how those go together)
  • Saturday: Evan Longoria Music Bobblehead
  • Sunday: Mother's Day picture frame giveaway

Also, the only Minor League Baseball in Tampa Bay this weekend is a Dunedin Blue Jays series. Only one Dunedin Blue Jays game this season has drawn over 1,000 fans. So competing baseball options will not be a problem for the Rays.

Based on these promotions, I predict Rays attendance this series will be near average. However, attendance Thursday night will not be good and if the Lightning do not win Thursday night, Rays attendance will struggle Saturday night as well.