Thursday, May 4, 2017

Tampa Bay Rays April 2017 Attendance Review

Welcome to our first monthly review of the Tampa Rays 2017 attendance. This post will look at attendance in games played from April 2, 2017 to April 23, 2017.
  • Total April 2017 Tampa Bay Rays home attendance: 217,896
  • Average attendance per game: 16,761
  • Highest attendance: 31,042 on April 2nd (Opening Day)
  • Lowest attendance: 12,281 on Wednesday, April 19th
  • Average April game time: 3 hours, 20 minutes
  • Highest attended series: 63,145 vs Yankees, April 2-5
  • Lowest attended series: 41,813 vs Tigers, April 18-20
  • Competing events:
    • April 8: Tampa Bay Rowdies soccer at Al Lang Stadium attendance 7,710
    • April 9: Tampa Bay Lightning home game (Attendance 19,092)
    • April 22: Tampa Bay Rowdies soccer @ Al Lang Stadium (attendance: 5,016)
    • April 22: Tampa Bay Storm arena football @ Amalie Arena (attendance: 9,119)
  • Total Tampa Bay Minor League April attendance: 66,273
  • Tampa Bay Minor League attendance per game: 1,657 (40 games)

Comparing April 2017 with previous years

The following chart compares April 2017 average attendance to other recent years.

The average April 2017 attendance increased 5.7% (907 more fans per game) than the April 2016 per game average. This increase stopped a 5 year decline in average April attendance.

As we have stated often, the impact of the Tampa Bay Lightning playoff season on Rays early season attendance is indisputable. This season, the Lightning did not make the playoffs.

Weekdays vs Weekends

Let’s now look at the Rays April attendance on weekdays (Mon-Thurs) and weekends (Fri-Sun). As I have pointed out many times, the Rays usually have one of the biggest differences in Major League Baseball in regards to weekday versus weekend attendance.

April 2017 breakdown:
  • Weekday home games: 6
  • Weekend home games: 6
  • Opening Day sold out for the 12th year in a row.

This chart shows the Rays average weekday attendance in April since 2007. I have removed Opening Day attendance from this chart.

Weekday attendance in 2017 increased an average of 2,210 fans per game, giving the Rays their 4th highest weekday April average since 2007. The most likely reason for this is the 19,366 fans the Rays drew on April 4th against the Yankees.

As attendance versus the Yankees has been in decline in the last few seasons, it is highly likely tourists in Tampa in town to see Yankees spring training may have extended their stay for the first series of the regular season. Doing so might still be cheaper than buying tickets to Yankees Stadium.

The following chart shows Rays average weekend attendance in April since 2007.

Now the bad news. Rays April average attendance was lower than it has been in 11 years. The Rays two Sunday games in April 2017 averaged 15,444 fans. That should increase.


The Rays had a slight increase in overall attendance in April. That's a good thing. We can attribute some of that increase to the opening series against the Yankees and tourists who stay longer in Tampa Bay, but there was also an April 18th game against Detroit that drew over 16,000 fans.

Although it is a very small sample size, Sunday attendance has to be a concern. The Sunday average in 2016 was slightly over 18,000, and there is no reason not to achieve that again.

The Rays play 16 home games in May, including 3 against the Yankees on May 19-21. We will see how much if any of a bump local Yankees fans will provide to Rays attendance. May is typically the Rays worst attended month. In 2016, however, it was their best.

We will see which way May leans as the days unfold.