Saturday, May 23, 2015

Rays reducing ticket prices during Lightning playoffs

Last week, I asked whether a tweet about attendance by Rays pitcher Chris Archer was a precursor to an adjustment in ticket prices. Currently, not only are the Rays last in average attendance per game, they are getting absolutely crushed in the market by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Until yesterday, there was no added incentive to support the Rays and pass on the Lightning experience. Lightning games are now an "event", leaving the Rays as an afterthought.

Last night, Tampa Bay Times Rays writer Marc Topkin reported the Rays are reducing ticket prices in the TBT Party Deck (Upper Left Field 300 level) for the remainder of the homestand.
Though they didn't announce or promote it, the Rays are offering a lower-priced ticket during this homestand, selling bleacher seats in the TBT Party Deck for $7 Friday and Monday-Wednesday against Seattle, and for $13 today and Sunday.

$7 for a Major League Baseball ticket. That's quite the deal. Although the ticket is for the upper left field deck, fans can always venture down to The Porch bar and food area in center field or watch the game from the 360 concourse in the lower deck. There is no need to stay in the upper deck.

This homestand continues until Wednesday, May 27th. Following the homestand, the Rays are on the road until June 9th. Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Lightning played at Game 5 of their playoff series at home May 22, then may play a possible Game 7 versus the New York Rangers in Tampa on Tuesday, May 26th.

If the Lightning make it to the Stanley Cup finals, they should be two or three games into their series by the time the Rays return. If that is the case, the Rays could extend the ticket deal through the weekday series versus the Angels on June 9, 10, 11.

In an earlier column, Topkin wrote that the Rays could offer deals, "if they wanted to". That comment, plus Archer's tweet, led me to believe a ticket reduction was coming.

The Rays needed to find a way to stop the bleeding caused by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
  • Rays avg attendance prior to NHL Playoffs: 19,506
  • Rays avg attendance during NHL Playoffs Round 1: 16,891
  • Rays avg attendance during NHL Playoffs Round 2: 13,298
  • Rays avg attendance during NHL Playoffs Round 3: 11,450

Will the ticket deals work? Although they are not announced and not promoted, as word of mouth spreads, reduced tickets could help. On the other hand, they might not. But they are an interesting way to test fan incentive.

Perhaps the ticket deals are not announced or promoted as the Rays don't want to be seen as competing against the Lightning. But with the deal extending only as far as the Lightning are in the playoffs, it is hard to see the decision any other way.