The Tampa Bay Rays attendance issues have been a joke for most of their history. That is starting to change.
The Rays are off to the best start in the majors, entering Friday with a 21-5 record. Their impressive start has led to an increase in attendance, leading to the Rays increasing seating options at Tropicana Field. As Jordan Moore from The Athletic noted, attendance has been good enough that the Rays are taking the tarps off of top level seating for their series against the Yankees.
Tampa Bay Rays drawing fans to Tropicana Field
It is easy to look at the Rays attendance figures and laugh. Improved attendance means that they have drawn an average of 16,862 fans per game heading into Friday, ranking 24th in the majors. However, that is a distinct improvement over 2022, when the Rays averaged 13,927 fans. If one goes back to 2019, the last year before the pandemic, the Rays drew an average of 14,734 fans.
An increase in attendance was to be expected as time went on. The Rays have mostly been a competitive team since 2008, but as an expansion team, did not have a built in fanbase. The fact that they are in Florida, home of spring training and retirees with lifelong allegiances to other teams. Those fans are not going to suddenly shift to rooting for the Rays.
There is still a lot more that needs to happen. The Rays desperately need a new ballpark in a better location. They need to continue to grow their fanbase and build support. As they are continuing to win games, and ownership is increasing payroll as they lock in their core, the future in Tampa Bay is bright in virtually every area. That includes their attendance numbers.
The Tampa Bay Rays are drawing more fans to the ballpark. It was a matter of time before this happened.