MLB Sports

Dear Florida……You do not deserve Major League Baseball

empty seats ninth inning - Dear Florida……You do not deserve Major League Baseball

The latest figures are the final straw for me on this matter. I have defended the need for Major League Baseball in the state of Florida for quite some time, but the latest figures on average attendance throughout the whole league puts both Florida teams in the bottom 5. That is a disgrace. The Tampa Bay Ray’s with a pitiful 21,823 (26th out of 30) whilst they are leading the chase for a division title and the Florida Marlins at 16,336 (30th out of 30) while they try to fight for a playoff spot (5-1/2 games out of the wild card and division). No amount of excuses can justify the facts:

  • The San Fransisco Giants who, with their awful off season maneuvers, still managed to average 35,391 fans to watch their sub standard (besides Tim Lincecum) product.
  • The Seattle Mariners who are at this point 36 games out of first place, pulled in an average of 29,442 lovers of baseball.
  • The University of Southern Florida Bulls who play at Raymond James Stadium had an average home attendance of 53,170 in 6 games. (This figure is here to illustrate that their are sports fans in Tampa, they just hate baseball) 33,639 turned out to watch them play ELON!!!!!
  • If you combine the total average attendance of the 2 Florida teams you wouldn’t even crack the top 8. The same can’t be said for any other pair of teams.
  • This list can go on, but I think you get the point.


  • It’s a touchy subject…Very similar to the controversy in the NFL right now about whether or not they should put a team in Los Angeles or not. A Lot of immediate attention vs. staying power in that city.

    In the case of Florida, for the most part, it is a lot of retired people who don’t really see the regular season games because they go on vacation to other parts of the country. Once spring training is over, they book flights home to the midwest to see their energetic family members.

    Look at the attendance figures for the Tampa Bay Rays this year…they won their division against the Yankees and the Red Sox, and they are having a hard time drawing 15,000 a game. That’s because it’s a fucking retirement community.

    And look at the Florida Marlins…

    Ok, don’t…


  • How much higher do you expect the Rays to go? they average 23k plus fans a game? 9 or 10 years of losing is not wiped away after one season. they will go from 1.3 million fans in 2008 to 1.9 million in 09. Thats awesome.

    The Marlins did draw fans in 1997 when they had good players and went to the World Series. The owner spends nothing in Miami as a way to get a new stadium, he cries the blues gets the stadium and will spend more once he gets the Stadium. MLB is mainly about local revenue and you get some MLB welfare.

    Don’t Blame the state of Florida cause the product has not been that great in both cities over the last 10 years.

  • Less than 1,000 more people per game after a trip to the world series? Sad for the claim that people would support a winning product. Less that 20,000 showed up for the two WS rematch games with the Phils. Once again sad. Not one World Series rematch has averaged less that 37,000 fans. I could go on if you like.

  • The Rays I don’t will draw like the current dodgers or Yankees but the RAYS drew 2.5 million in 98 and have lost every year until last year. Them gaining 1000 fans in 09 over 08 is good because of the economy and the fact they are not in 1st place. It took the Yankees some time to win back fans after they started winning again in 96,97, etc. Example the Yankees won the world series in 96 and had a mild increase in attendance in 97 and it took to 2003 to be 1st in attedance and that is suppose to be the mega market.

    It is going to take time for fans to believe amd support the product. The Rays have to build a history of winning before fans will respond. They Bottomed out attendance wise at 1 million fans in 02 and 03. You can not wipe away a decade of failure with one world series run. Plus do Rays fans believe they can win long term vs the Yankees and Red Soxs. On a side note this year and last year the Rays spent any money on the product in recent years.

  • I will make a quick comment since I have a lot on my plate today. Unless attendance #’s get better in the second half of this year you can most likely say goodbye to two cornerstone pieces of the rise of the Rays (Crawford & Pena).

  • I agree with you that Pena and Crawford could be gone if Revenues do not increase but all I am saying is it takes time to build a loyal fan following.

    Tampa revenues are pretty good according to Forbes compared to what they spend and it would be an ownership mistake to unload Pena and Crawford.

    Year Team Revenues Payroll
    (payroll and revenues are in the millions)
    2003 TAM 101 31
    2004 TAM 110 30
    2005 TAM 116 30
    2006 TAM 134 35
    2007 TAM 138 24
    2008 TAM 176 44

    Also the whole point of my realignment plan would be move Tampa and Florida to a division where they can spend 50-60 million and have a chance to win yearly.

    If you put teams in divisions by payroll teams would be more competitive yearly and draw more fans. Just my thoughts, its not always the fans fault or cause its a “small market”.

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