Over the course of the last week, many of you responded to our survey regarding the 2011 Rays attendance woes. The results have been tabbed, picked over, and they are now ready for you to devour. Please note: I chose to post only some (not all) of the written responses. Why? Because many of the responses were simple yes and no answers. I don’t know about you, but if I’ve read one yes or no answer, I’ve read 100. I also chose to keep the responses as they were. That is to say, I didn’t edit them in any way, shape, or form. Some of the responses are very illuminating to say the least, and can be seen below.

Question 1

Question 2

Question 3

Question 4

Question 5: What factor(s) have stopped you from attending as many games this year?
1. $$ and other plans
2. Health issues
3. expense
4. Price of the tickets and food.
5. I moved out of state
6. Vacations
7. Work
8. Price to attend, including: ticket price for decent seat, parking, food/drink.
9. Greedy, corporate style ownership. Concession prices too high. Baseball not that interesting.
10. Economy, it’s hard to go to a lot of games because of the cost. It’s easily a 100 dollar trip if you include ticket, parking, food, etc.
11. Night time grad school. I normally attend 20-25 games a season.
12. We have 2 tickets (full season ticket holders) and share the cost with another person. 80+ games is a lot to commit to with a busy schedule, but when someone can’t go we sell them on stubhub. If they do not sell on stubhub we give them away to someone who will go. We do NOT want our seats empty!
13. No factors, I just only go to 5-10 a year.
14. Not much interest in baseball unless it’s with a group of friends/ not much disposable income.
15. Finances, family obligations.
16. i’m broke
17. Gas and time.
18. money, scheduling with work
19. Personal finances
20. Money for game and parking. We bring our own water and snacks because we can’t afford concession stand prices.
21. ticket prices. cost to park. work schedule.
22. None really. Lots of games and can’t conceivably go to all of them. That certainly isn’t the team’s fault.
23. Distance, time, and money. Any one of the is not a big deal, but all of them together makes it tough, especially on weeknights. Plus my daughter can’t usually sit through a whole game, so I either have to go for part or go without her, both options have their downsides.
24. There are LOTS of games, I have a family.
25. I enjoy watching the game on TV because I can see everything that is happening. Although I love the excitement at the Trop, everytime I go to a game, someone much larger than me is sitting in front of me, and I can’t see! Also, it is a very long season, and school nights are hard for families with kids to attend. I realize that attendance is a problem…but, not just for the Rays. Watching them play in other stadiums shows evidence that they too are having attendance issues. Times have changed, the economy is bad, and not too many people with a family can afford to attend every game. But, I am sure that most of the area is watching it on TV or listening to the game via the radio if they are not physically at the game. Could the team have their own station so that all the revenues from the advertising would go directly to the team? I also would be curious to know what percentage of the population go to games in St. Pete. vs New York or Boston etc.
26. Prices and I am a jinx
27. uncertain economy and job status
28. I live in Gainesville
29. Drive, need for a babysitter
30. have half season tickets
31. i’m on a fixed income it isn’t easy
32. Owner and player comments
33. price. it’s so expense to go, parking, ticket and something to eat and you’ve spent 100 or more for 2 people
34. Scheduling and money
35. Doesn’t fit our current budget to go to more games.
36. Lack of money
37. Handicapped
38. I am a season ticket holder who shares a package. I have attended about 30 games every year. The only factor that would encourage me to attend more is economic.
39. I live in South Carolina. Lol
40. Just didn’t have the money. Watched most of them on tv but didn’t have the extra cash to go to as many as I would like. Also I just hate the stadium.
41. Gas costs; parking costs. Time constraints. I WORK AND CANNOT ATTEND EVERY SINGLE GAME! This goes for a majority of the people in the TB area. It’s a working class economy and it really is a sacrifice to make a weeknight game. There is plenty of fan support, but they all have to make a living!
42. parking prices, not being able to afford tickets in this economy
43. 150 miles round trip
44. Time and money.
45. to busy and money
46. Money, other obligations
47. The season I attended the most Rays games of any of their 13 seasons. I hope to attend at least as many in the 2012 season.
Financial Situation… the games are still a great deal for a family of 4, but job situations have limited our discretionary spending.

Question 6: What could the Rays organization do to get you to attend more games in the future?
1. build a new stadium in St. Pete
2. Lower parking rates & ticket prices.
3. more family days
4. lower the price of the tickets.
5. Pay for my airline ticket home, lol
6. ũbeer & hot dog nites were big in past..need to her colleges & schools more involved…host different nites ie hospitals, hospitality, financial etc..get corps like Raymond James, HCA, Walmart, etc more involved …have charities nite
7. Have more give aways love Bobble Heads
8. Make it more affordable in this economy. I know we’re the “most affordable in MLB” but it’s still not enough
9. Lower concession prices. Ownership should get more involved in local community, stop being such dicks.
10. I would really like to see the Rays stay in St. Pete. I don’t believe that moving to Tampa, or Orlando, or other city’s in Florida would help attendance. This is a melting pot of people who have come from other places. Given time the Rays with have the following they’re looking for, like the other top baseball teams. I’ve grown up with the Rays and I have seen a growth in their following in the past several years. They need to keep winning and show that their fan base, nor stadium isn’t the reason they aren’t winning. Offer more days of free parking, coupons for cheaper food, or coupons for tickets, things like that might help attendance issues.
10. Get our pathetic mayor to let the rays seek stadium options anywhere in Tampa bay.
11. Cash giveaways, ticket giveaways. Other than that, stop complaining about the fans not attending!
12. focus on group deals/packages, lower price on food/drinks/beer
13. Nothing. Have no complaints about the organization, games just didn’t fit my schedule.
14. Be centrally located.
15. I have taken advantage of the ticket specials e.g. 9=8
16. Drop the price of parking and concession. Run specials like hot dogs for ũ.00, etc.
17. occasional ticket specials.
18. Maybe better parking. I’d say concession prices, but honestly they are high everywhere.
19. Nothing as far as individual fans go, I think the problem is not marketing to the businesses.
20. I think that you could probably get more families going, if children were given free admission. Try to involve more school participation….Perhaps feature a different school each game. Give the students free admission and of course the parents would have to pay for their seats.
21. Move to Hillsborough
22. do not move them
23. Build a new stadium
24. I’ll go regardless, but it would be nice for the organization to at least attempt to attract fans. Maybe try being nice to them, reducing the parking cost, promote the surrounding area so fans would know there are plenty of things they could do before and after games, have players on a regular basis interact with fans inside and out of the Trop.
25. Offer more smaller ticket packages. Promote more of an entertainment district around the park.
26. Keep the stadium indoors and in pinellas.
27. As long as I can still afford my season ticket package, I will continue to go to 25 to 30 games a year.
28. Not make parking so much. Or atleast I used to like if you got 4 then it was free but it seems they barely do that anymore.
29. Lower the price of parking and the prices at the concession stands.
30. win the alds
31. Reduce the parking fees in the main lots, continue to field a great team and do more to involve the community in attendance (schools, businesses, etc.) Speak positively of the fans and the area, no matter what their private feelings.
aside from re-locating to Sarasota, or giving me a job, not much. Will still attend as much as possible.

Question 7: Does the barrage of criticism surrounding the drop in attendance change your opinion of the Rays organization? If so, how?
1. Yes, Stu Sternberg is a leveraging tool who couldn’t care less about my community beyond how it makes his business successful. His head is obviously up his ass since he never ever mentions the current state of our local economy. I wish he’d sell.
2. I’d like them to realize that many factors keep fans from attending the games that have nothing to do with supporting the team! We watch every game on TV & support by other means.
3. No. I think the men who run the Rays have huge egos and need to get over themselves.
4. Not really, sounds like ownership complaining.
5. Yes, If you look at a lot of the major league baseball teams, including the Yankees and Boston, over all attendance in MLB is down. I believe due to the economy and the fact that there are so many games in baseball people can’t afford going to a lot of them.
6. It changes my opinion of st. Pete residents. I had a twenty game pack the season following the world series run, and could not get people to come with me for free. I no longer beleive st. Pete should have a pro sports team, and I am a st. Pete resident.
7. Yes, I think it lowers the morale of the fans. I mean, we have faith in the team, whether we are in the stadium, on our couch, or at a bar watching the games. We don’t want to hear that we aren’t pulling for the team because we aren’t there…many of us aren’t even paying our mortgages! We are living in hard economic times. Not all stadiums are always full, and yet I only ever hear about the Rays even when I watch other teams.
8. not really. from what i’ve seen and read, it’s a great organization. it’s like a great lesser known band: just because they don’t play stadiums, doesn’t mean they suck.
9. It seems there is some ill-conceived, backhanded effort on the part of Sternberg to encourage attendance by directing incisive criticism at those he’s attempting to influence. Negative reinforcement will not bring fans to the Trop. Personally, I could care less what Stu says, my reasons for/against attending are purely personal, and are in no way related to the perceived ills of the Trop. Distance, pricing, etc have never played a role in my attendance decisions.
10. no, I just blame the Tampa Bay area in general for being so crappy.
11. I love the organization and how they operate. I just can’t get to many games. There aren’t enough hours in a day.
12. While I understand that baseball is a business I do feel unappreciated for what games I can attend. I feel like the lack of attendance goes beyond just depending on individuals attending games. A push for corporation and business support is a necessity.
13. I just wish there was more I could do to get more people to come to the games. I think being that the team is fairly new and we have so many transplants that moved here with their chosen teams already that it is hard to get more fans. I was raised a Detroit Tigers fan bit am now a Rays fan. I love my Rays!
14. yes, because the blame is automatically placed on the fans lack of interest in the team instead of considering the possibility of other mitigating factors. Being blamed and criticized is only going to push more people away; it’s disrespectful to the fans and why should they (we) be treated that way?
15. No. It’s up to us to go to the games. It kind of changes my opinion of the officials of St. Pete. I’m not sure if they want to fight hard enough to keep the Rays in St. Pete.
16. Not at all. They’re an absolutely stand-up organization and have done everything right to get asses in the seats. We just have a small market, a bad economy, and a short history (most of which was lackluster) so we don’t have the long standing tradition of some other outfits.
17. Yes, it makes me not want to go.
18. Absolutely not! They truly are a TEAM that works so well together. They are awesome!
19. Yes. They should not own a team unless they have the financial resources to re-sign a decent percentage of our best players. Fans see their team decimated a by this cheapness and won’t commit to such an ownership. Also the economy in this arae is VERY bad, If the Bucs can’t sell out, why are the Rays owners surprised at low turnout?
20. Yes, I am tired of the fan bashing. Sternberg’s comments immediately following the last game were so low class. We as fans are sick of it. We can only attend so many games because of our job situations, and the cost of games and vendors at the Trop. We love the Rays, want them in St. Pete. We are also among those that love the Trop and the 72 degrees when it’s near 100 outside.
21. It’s irritating to hear the front-office brass whining about attendance, particularly because: (1) the Rays are a profitable team; (2) the Tampa Bay area has been hit hard by the recession and was sporting an unemployment rate north of twelve percent last I checked; (3) Sternberg’s vaguely threatening talk sounds an awful lot like an attempt at arguing for public funding for a new stadium. During the post-season, the Rays sold out their home games, and their TV numbers were actually better than the Rangers’ or Diamondbacks’.
22. I don’t like how the Rays treat fans, clearly ownership is disconnected from the local climate.
23. no. underwstand the economy. Moving it wont change. See The Bucs and RayJ attendance
24. No just my opinion of national media
25. I’m sorry that they don’t seem to get it in this economy people don’t have that kind of money to spend to attend a ball game. I don’t think a new stadium would change attendance problems. Everyone I know was squarely behind the Rays and enjoyed watching the games but could not afford to attend more than a few games. The whole town was on fire in support of the team the past few weeks!
26. Not a fan of the owner
27. I think the criticism doesn’t take into account the economic factors that are effecting the bay area. High unemployment and one of the worst housing bursts in the nation. The discretionary funds just aren’t as readily available to our population as a whole.
28. They need to find more corporate sponsors and open their eyes to the unemployment in the state and bay area.
29. No. To me it simply speaks to the frustration of a management team that has made amazing progress on the field and in attempting to make the game experience a fun one. I find more fault with the national media and the local fans for the lack of support.
30. No I love the Rays and I really love the Trop!
31. I do really like how sternberg handled it and kind of called the fans out like that. I mean it’s not gonna make people go more by talking like that especially after how well they played and to just talk about that right after the seasons over.
32. Yes. I understand attendance brings in money. I understand these guys are straight from Wall Street, so their concern is the bottom line; however, you can’t criticize a working class economy and people. They have jobs that require them to work longer hours than most. You cannot claim there is no fan support. There is! People cannot sacrifice 81 days, with a majority being during the week, if they have greater priorities. I also understand TV ratings were down… get a new hitting coach, and that could be fixed….
33. not at all…all the bad publicity aggravates me. There are plenty of other teams that have problems with attendance, but for some reason it seems that we are always in the spotlight. Please just move the team and work on getting more Tampa businesses on board with corporate sponsorships. I think you moving the team spring training south put a big damper on attendance too.
34. No. Stu has delivered, fans have not.
35. Nope. I’m still there a few games. If everyone in the bay area would attend just one game a year, the place would sell out every game!
36. I have been very happy with my dealings with the organization. I work at a school, and we do family nights with the Rays a couple of times a year. We’ve sold anywhere from 300-550 tickets each time, and the Rays have been great to work with. If not for that I’d be really upset at the ownership’s comments. I think the St. Peersburg Times – our local paper whether they care to believe it or not – is just as bad with its continuous dunning of the Trop and the fans. it’s as if they are the ones behind the desire to move. Why? So they can get naming rights to another stadium in Tampa?

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1 Comment

  1. So many great comments! My husband and I had free tickets from our blood donation and we still spent a lot of money for food and parking. Our TV announcers do such a great job, so we can watch at home. I realize the prices of everything pays the players, but baseball players are making too much money, except maybe the newest players.

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