Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Moving on

This is the end.

For now, possibly. Or maybe for good. I haven’t decided. But this website won’t be as active as it was in the past. And I owe you an explanation why.
  1. For most of the 2018 baseball season, I will not be living in the US. I will be 5,000 miles away doing analysis for the US Government. I left Tampa Bay during the first week of February and won’t be back until August at the earliest. It will be stressful challenge to write about baseball daily from my location.
  2. Although Tampa Bay is a growing vibrant area with billions in new construction and rising income and arriving businesses, I am not convinced the baseball market will be anything but a convoluted mess of hyperlocal interests superseding regional interests. For anyone who lives in Tampa Bay, this is not out of the norm.
  3. I think I am maxed out on new research. I can update charts and graphs, but as long as things stay the same – and they will until the Rays stadium situation is rectified – public data can’t give me any new insight that I don’t already have.
  4. I am tired of getting into the same arguments. Those who have been with me since Day 1 with this website are either interested, agree, or have expressed their differing opinions long ago. People in the know know who I am and what this website is all about. Anyone else without a blue twitter checkmark will need to email me.
  5. I am not convinced the Rays will stay in Tampa Bay. It is difficult for me to be motivated to track the business of a team that may not exist in 10 years. The Ybor location, while nice, doesn’t have the funding and as I have said numerous times, unless a million people move within 30 minutes of Tropicana Field in 5 years, it will remain a horrible location.
If you have read this far, thank you.

I started this website in January 2014. It began as a project while I was enrolled in the USF MBA program where I could showcase my analytical skills in business on a topic I was very familiar with – baseball in the Tampa Bay area. I had written about the Rays for several blogs as well as covered the Florida State League for and other sites.

I figured if I could add my growing business acumen to a discussion on baseball in Tampa Bay I could fill an unfulfilled niche. That is what business is all about, finding opportunities and making products to fill those opportunities. The goal was not to make money, but to prove I could write about business, do some solid analysis, and maybe convey my findings to a wider audience. If my findings made the desk of decision makers, even better.

Entering this project, I had two major assumptions: 1) Tampa Bay is a growing market 2) The market of baseball in Tampa Bay is highly competitive. I quickly concluded that there is more baseball in Tampa Bay from February to October than in any other city. Tampa Bay has four spring training teams, four minor league teams, and one Major League team. Combined, there are over 400 home games every calendar year in Tampa Bay.

As I continued, I found data that showed fan behavior and fan allegiances in Tampa Bay. Of course, it is now common knowledge that Tropicana Field is too far from the center of the region’s population, but I also published articles on rooting interest, discovering that only 50% of baseball fans in Tampa Bay are Rays fans. Another 20% are Yankees fans, roughly 6% are Red Sox fans, and the remaining 24% are fans of other teams.

While that was eye-opening, it wasn’t entirely a surprise. Florida metro areas are often landing places for people wanting to escape the cold of the north. These people bring their fandoms and they rarely ever change (despite all the fans and radio hosts who want them to). Local spring training also serves to reinforce out-of-town fandom by allowing those fans to spend money on their teams in March and April. 

Other research showed that roughly 50% of Spring Training attendance in Tampa, and 25% of Spring attendance in Clearwater and Dunedin were locals. Local money was going into the coffers of teams that were not the local Major League team. Adding insult to injury, two of the local spring training teams are in the Rays division.

When I started this project, I looked at the leases for the local Spring Training teams. I thought perhaps there was a way for the Rays to gain more of a share of the local market if Tampa Bay spring training teams left when their leases expired. If I could enlighten people to the idea that Tampa Bay was overstretched and oversaturated, perhaps local politicians would see past their hyperlocal ideals and see the big sports picture.

Then Hillsborough County gave the Yankees 20 more years for no reason and Pinellas is ready to extend the Blue Jays – contrary to every economic study saying it is a bad idea.

So the landscape of the Tampa Bay baseball market isn’t changing, even if it is to the detriment of the Major League franchise.

That brings us to my efforts this season.

The highlight of my 2017 and the peak of this project was when I was featured as a Fangraphs Resident for the month of June. To be acknowledged within the baseball research community as a person in the know who could bring clarification to an ongoing problem was awesome.

Definitely the highlight of this website’s effort.

Unfortunately, while the baseball research community embraced me, local sports media rarely did. Only a small percentage talked to me about my findings and even fewer allowed me a bigger forum to discuss my ideas.

It would have been nice to get a little love from Tampa Bay Times beat writer Marc Topkin or be asked to appear on any of the many local sports radio shows. Their hosts knew who I was and in many cases followed me on social media.

Let me be clear for the media folks who ignored me or outright dismissed me: I do and have done analysis for over 20 years in various forms. I have provided insight to corporate executives and senior military leaders around the world. I take being ignored or dismissed as a professional slight. You and your audience are worse off and less educated because of your inaction. Congratulations.

Now that I have that off my chest, I do want to thank the many people who have read, commented constructively, or even just followed for the sake of learning something. You are all awesome and greatly appreciated.

There is a saying that writers should write for themselves and if anyone follows, then great. That is true to a point. I believe eventually the relationship between writer and audience becomes symbiotic, with both sides feeding from each other. The writer is given extra motivation from the community and the community enjoys more work from the writer.

That’s how I felt for most of this website’s existence. So thank you to all who read.

As I mentioned in the intro, I may post occasionally. I may still track attendance on my daily spreadsheets and may still post monthly trends. But I won’t be putting near as much energy into this site. I think four years is long enough.

Again, thank you to all who read and interacted. I greatly appreciate it. We had fun.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Dunedin Blue Jays 2017 Attendance Review

Welcome to our 5th attendance review of 2017 and the 11th attendance review post on the Dunedin Blue Jays, minor league affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays.


The Dunedin Blue Jays began play in the Florida State League in 1987. After three seasons playing at Grant Field, the Dunedin Blue Jays moved to Florida Exchange Stadium in 1990. Florida Exchange Stadium is also the spring training home of the Toronto Blue Jays. The current population of Dunedin is 35,444.

Dunedin Blue Jays 2017:

Home Games: 69
Total attendance: 38,956 (down 22% from 2016: 50,063)
Average attendance: 572 (down 25% from 2016: 770)
Highest attended game: 4,527 on Monday, July 3rd vs Daytona
Lowest attended game: 291 on Tuesday, August 22nd vs Florida
Average Time of Game: 2 hours, 43 minutes
Double headers: 1 (May 25)
Cancellations: 0
Notable rehab assignments: Josh Donaldon, Troy Tulowitzki
Other notable appearances: None

(red highlight = below 2016 annual average of 572)


By Month:
The following graph depicts the average attendance by month.

By Day:

Blue Jays attendance increased 5% on the weekend compared to their average Monday through Thursday attendance.
  • Mon-Thurs average attendance: 559 (38 games)
  • Fri-Sun average attendance: 588 (31 games)
  • Difference: 5%
The following graph depicts the average attendance by day.

The following chart looks at how often daily attendance increases when compared to the day 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.

For other years, see:

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Clearwater Threshers 2017 Attendance Review

Welcome to our fourth attendance review of 2017 and our eleventh attendance review of the Clearwater Threshers. Today we look at the home attendance of the 2017 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 2017:

Home Games: 72

Total attendance: 200,201 (up 10% from 2016: 181,594)

Per Game Average: 2,988 (up 10% from 2016: 2,710)

Highest attended game: 9,729 on Monday, July 3rd vs Tampa

Lowest attended game: 1,211 on Wednesday, July 26th vs Daytona

Double headers: 5 (Apr 13, June 5, June 14, July 25, July 30)

Cancellations: 0

Average time of game: 2 hours, 31 minutes

Notable rehab assignments: None

Other notable appearances: None

(red highlight = below annual average of 2,988)


Top 10 attended games:

By Month:

The following graph depicts the average attendance by month.

By Day of the Week:

Threshers attendance increased 11% on the weekends compared to their average Monday through Thursday attendance.
  • Mon-Thurs average attendance: 2,867 (41 games)

  • Fri-Sun average attendance: 3,179 (26 games)

  • Increase: 10.8%
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:

The following 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.

Additional Clearwater Threshers Reviews:

2016 Clearwater Threshers Attendance Review
2015 Clearwater Threshers Attendance Review
2014 Clearwater Threshers Attendance Review
2013 Clearwater Threshers Attendance Review
2012 Clearwater Threshers Attendance Review
2011 Clearwater Threshers Attendance Review
2010 Clearwater Threshers Attendance Review
2009 Clearwater Threshers Attendance Review
2008 Clearwater Threshers Attendance Review
2007 Clearwater Threshers Attendance Review