Thursday, November 26, 2015

Attendance Review: 2015 Clearwater Threshers

Welcome to our ninth attendance review of the Clearwater Threshers. Today we look at the home attendance of the 2015 Clearwater Threshers.

Overview: The Clearwater Threshers began play in the Florida State League in 1985. The Threshers moved to Bright House Field in 2004. Bright House Field is also the spring training home of the Philadelphia Phillies. In 2013, the population of Clearwater was 109,703.

Clearwater Threshers 2015:

Home Games: 68

Total attendance: 174,283 (down 10.65% from 2014: 195,063)

Per Game Average: 2,723 (down 2.3% from 2014: 2,787)

Highest attended game: 9,966 on Friday, July 3rd vs Tampa (Franchise record)

Lowest attended game: 1,221 on Wednesday, June 17th vs St Lucie

Double headers: 4 (May 13th, May 28th, June 13th, July 25th)

Cancellations: 1 (plus 1 game moved to Bradenton)

Average time of game: 2 hours, 40 minutes

Notable rehab assignments: Dominic Brown

Other notable appearances: None

(red highlight = below annual average of 2,723)


By Month:

The following graph depicts the average attendance by month.

By Day of the Week:

Threshers attendance increased 27.4% on the weekends compared to their average Monday through Thursday attendance.
  • Mon-Thurs average attendance: 2,361
  • Fri-Sun average attendance: 3,253
  • Increase: 27.4%

The following graph depicts the average attendance by day.

The following chart shows how often each day outdrew the game prior.

By Opponent:

By Starting Pitcher:

This chart depicts how attendance reacted from one starter to the next. If a pitcher is a great draw, the percentage between he and the prior starter should be higher.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Exploring Rays Attendance Under 10,000: UPDATE

This post is an update to other posts I've done exploring the Rays' lowest attended dates since 2007. This post will look at these dates and try to determine any patterns or trends.

The following chart depicts the 30 times the Rays announced less than 10,000 tickets sold since 2007. This list does not count the May 1st-3rd relocated games between the Rays and Orioles.

Rays attendance failed to reach 10,000 fans the following amount of times per year:
  • 2007: 15
  • 2012: 4
  • 2013: 1
  • 2014: 1
  • 2015: 9

Rays attendance failed to reach 10,000 on the following days of the week:
  • Tuesday: 9
  • Thursday: 9
  • Monday: 6
  • Wednesday: 6
  • Friday: 1

Rays attendance failed to reach 10,000 during the following months:
  • April: 4 (2014 x 1, 2012 x 1, 2007 x 4)
  • May: 11 (2015 x 2, 2013 x 1, 2012 x 2, 2007 x 6)
  • June: 1 (2007 x 1)
  • July: 2 (2007 x 1)
  • August: 6 (2015 x 3, 2012 x 1, 2007 x 2)
  • September: 5 (2015 x 3, 2007 x 2)
  • October: 1 (2015)

Rays attendance failed to reach 10,000 for the following starting pitchers:
  • Shields: 6 (2012 x 1, 2007 x 5)
  • Archer: 3 (2015 x 2, 2014 x 1)
  • Moore: 3 (2015 x 2, 2014 x 1)
  • Hellickson: 3 (2013 x 1, 2012 x 2)
  • Kazmir: 2 (2007 x 2)
  • Smyly: 2 (2015 x 2)
  • Sonnanstine: 2 (2007 x 2)
  • Fossum: 2 (2007 x 2)
  • Seo: 2 (2007 x 2)
  • Karns: 1 (2015)
  • Odorizzi: 1 (2015)
  • Colome: 1 (2015)
  • Jackson: 1 (2007)
  • Hammel: 1 (2007)

The Tampa Bay Lightning played on the following dates:
  • April 16, 2007 – attendance: 9,157 (Lightning Playoff)
  • April 3, 2014 – attendance: 9,571
  • May 7, 2015 – attendance 8,701 (Lightning Playoff)
  • May 26, 2015 - attendance 9,628 (Lightning Playoff)

There is a history of attendance conflict due to Lightning games. I wonder if the Rays front office calculates potential attendance with and without scheduled Lightning games.

Even with a Lightning game scheduled, the Rays rarely schedule additional promotions. They do not try to directly compete with the Lightning. One idea might be for the Rays to eliminate parking cost on days the Lightning play. That might draw more people to Tropicana Field. Or the Rays could do $1 hotdog night or kids get in half price. Anything to bring in fans.

However, 2015 raised additional concerns. The Rays sold less than 10,000 seven times in August, September, and October 2015. That's not good. There have to be reasons why interest decreased since 2014. We can't point at transportation, record, or the other typical reason. We know attendance does decrease from July to August if the Rays are not competitive. But to what level?

2015 also had the first time the Rays drew less than 10,000 for an interleague game. Perhaps the allure against the Marlins is not as strong as Major League Baseball would like. Even worse, one of those games featured Jose Fernandez, perhaps the best Tampa-grown baseball talent since Dwight Gooden. If Fernandez isn't a draw in his hometown, I question if any visiting pitcher could be.

Bottomline: There were 0 games in August and September 2014 and 2013 where the Rays drew under 10,000. In 2015, there were seven.

The Rays have a new front office president coming on board. Perhaps he can increase interest and 2016 will at least be more like 2013 and 2014 than 2015.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Rays Cuban Opportunity

According to several media outlets, the Rays were recently selected to be Major League Baseball's representative in a 2016 exhibition game in Cuba. Apparently, there was a lottery, and the Rays won.

No team needs to play in Cuba more than the Rays. Maybe Major League Baseball realizes that. Perhaps the winning lottery envelope was frozen before Manfred selected it.

Whatever the cause, the result is the best thing the Rays could ask for. I've often written how important the Central Florida Latino community is to the Rays. The Cuban demographic is a big part of that community, especially in Tampa where some zip codes are nearly 20% Cuban. and according to Wikipedia, over 80,000 Cubans live in Tampa. That's 2.8% of the Tampa Bay population of 2.8 million. As comparison, the active military population in Tampa is only approximately 14,000 and the Rays have done a lot to embrace that community.

The Rays should make a big deal out of this. This is a team that has a section of their stadium (the Party Deck) decorated like Tampa's oldest Cuban community (Ybor City).

I would hope the Rays begin conversations with Tampa's Cuban community before their trip. I hope they build relationships in Ybor and other Cuban areas. Maybe even play some local exhibitions against Tampa's Cuban teams. Getting the community excited will only increase the hype of the game. Hopefully the local media will build up the trip with comments from Tampa's Cuban community leaders. So far, they haven't acknowledged the game's potential importance, at least not as much as the New York Times, who broke the story.

Tampa, too, has a significant Cuban imprint, but it predates Castro, and as a result there is not the same bitterness toward the Cuban government long associated with Miami.

Indeed, Tampa now sees itself as playing a key role in establishing stronger ties with the island, and the Rays’ participation in a spring training game would reinforce that notion, though the team plays its home games next door in St. Petersburg.

The reason the Rays need Cuba is because they need to expand their fanbase reach. Both they and the Marlins need to tap into the international community for fans. According to my demographic post in 2014, there are over 2 million baseball fans in Florida who are not from the United States. Many of them hail from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Haiti, and South America - countries where baseball is very popular. These fans might have families and friends back home.

I'm curious how the Rays trip to Cuban will go. Of course, the doomsday crowd will claim the sky is falling and the Rays will stay in Havana. But the reality is is that the trip offers the Rays a great opportunity to expand their market to a much needed region.

Keep in mind, in the last few months, Commissioner Manfred has refused the Braves offer to relocate, repeated that Tampa Bay is a viable MLB market, and now offered the Rays a chance to increase their fanbase and reach.

Major League Baseball has given the Rays the opportunity. It's time for the Rays to step up.