The Tampa Bay Rays, after an impressive start to the regular season, encountered a disappointing turnout for their AL Wild Card Series game against the Texas Rangers. With only 19,704 attendees, well below the stadium’s listed capacity, the Rays recorded the lowest attendance for an MLB postseason game in 104 years. Some speculate that the low turnout can be attributed to the weekday afternoon game time, which made it difficult for many fans, particularly younger ones, to attend. Others point to the lack of notice given and the early start time as contributing factors. Despite the disappointing turnout, the Rays faced a 4-0 loss against the Rangers, putting them one game away from postseason elimination. As they face another early afternoon start time in their next game, it remains to be seen whether the outcome will be different and the attendance will increase.
Reasons for Low Attendance
Game held at 3 p.m. on a weekday
One possible reason for the low attendance at the Tampa Bay Rays’ postseason game is that it was held at 3 p.m. on a weekday. This timing may not have been convenient for many fans who had work or other commitments during that time. Weekday afternoon games can be challenging for fans to attend, especially if they have limited flexibility in their schedules. It is essential to consider the availability of the target audience when scheduling games to ensure a higher attendance.
Difficulty reaching the Trop due to traffic
Another factor contributing to the low attendance could be the difficulty fans experienced in reaching Tropicana Field due to traffic. Traffic congestion is a notorious issue in many cities, and St. Petersburg is no exception. The timing of the game coincided with rush hour, making it even more challenging for fans to navigate through traffic and reach the stadium on time. This issue can discourage fans from attending games, as they may be deterred by the potential frustrations and delays caused by heavy traffic.
Parents not willing to bring their kids out of school
Some fans believe that the low attendance can be attributed to parents not being willing to bring their kids out of school for a non-elimination Wild Card game. Education is a top priority for many families, and parents may feel hesitant to take their children out of school for a sporting event that is not considered a critical playoff game. This factor can significantly impact the number of families attending weekday afternoon games, as parents prioritize their children’s education over attending a baseball game.
Lack of notice and early start time
Another reason mentioned by fans for the low attendance is the lack of notice given for the game and the early start time. Fans expressed their dissatisfaction with only having two days’ notice before the game and criticized the choice of a 3 p.m. start time. Such short notice may have made it difficult for fans to plan and make arrangements to attend the game. Additionally, an early start time can pose challenges for fans who work during the day, as they may struggle to leave early or adjust their schedules to make it to the game on time.
Suggestion to build a new stadium with a moat
One fan took the opportunity to suggest a solution to improve attendance at Rays games by proposing the construction of a new stadium with a moat. While this suggestion may be unconventional, it highlights the desire for a new and exciting venue that can attract more fans. The concept of a moat adds an element of novelty and could potentially generate buzz and increased interest in attending games. Building a new stadium in the same neighborhood as the current Tropicana Field would also provide continuity for fans while offering an enhanced fan experience.
Rays lost to the Rangers 4-0 in the Wild Card opener
In the Wild Card opener, the Tampa Bay Rays faced a tough defeat, losing to the Texas Rangers with a score of 4-0. This loss put the Rays in a challenging position, as it left them with only one more game to turn things around and advance in the playoffs. The outcome of the game may have impacted fan morale and enthusiasm, possibly contributing to the lower attendance for the subsequent games.
Wednesday’s game is their final chance to advance in the playoffs
With Wednesday’s game being their final opportunity to advance in the playoffs, the stakes were high for the Tampa Bay Rays. The team needed a win to keep their playoff hopes alive and extend their postseason journey. The significance of this game may have created a sense of urgency and heightened excitement among fans, potentially leading to an increase in attendance compared to the previous games.
Game on Thursday also has a 3:08 p.m. start time
The upcoming game on Thursday will also be held at Tropicana Field, and once again, it will have an early start time of 3:08 p.m. This timing may present similar challenges as the previous games in terms of attendance, particularly for fans who have work commitments during the afternoon. While an elimination matchup can generate excitement and draw more fans, the early start time may still limit the number of attendees who struggle to make it to the game on time.
Hope for a larger crowd due to elimination matchup
Despite the potential obstacles posed by the early start time, there is hope for a larger crowd at Thursday’s game due to the elimination matchup. The do-or-die nature of an elimination game often generates increased interest and enthusiasm among fans. The urgency and intensity of the game can be compelling factors that motivate more people to attend, regardless of the timing. Fans who may have initially hesitated to attend the earlier games might seize the opportunity to witness the Rays’ last chance in the playoffs, leading to a higher attendance for this crucial game.
In conclusion, several factors contributed to the low attendance at the Tampa Bay Rays’ postseason games. The timing of the games on weekdays at 3 p.m., combined with the challenges of traffic congestion, made it difficult for fans to attend. Additionally, parental concerns regarding taking children out of school, short notice, and the early start time were factors that influenced fan decision-making. Despite these challenges, fans are hopeful for a larger crowd at the upcoming elimination matchup game, where the do-or-die scenario can motivate more people to attend, even with the early start time. As the Rays continue their postseason journey, it will be essential to consider these factors and explore strategies to maximize attendance and fan engagement in the future.