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Rays Wins vs Attendance

Is there a connection between wins and attendance? The more wins, the higher the attendance. Is that a true statement? Or does higher attendance drive more wins? Fans would certainly enjoy a game more if they witnessed a win over a loss. However, a fan traveling from the visiting team’s city negates that theory. They want to see a win too.

To find the connection between wins and attendance I collected data on season win totals and season attendance. The Rays franchise averaged 78 wins in their 26 years. The team’s attendance averaged 1.3 million per season. To keep numbers true, numbers from the 2020 season were used. In the 2021 season, the Rays posted their franchise best record by winning 100 games and losing 62. Peak attendance occurred in their inaugural season of 1998 with 2.5 million.

For analyzing purposes, I dissected the history of the franchise into four parts. Part one covers the first decade (1998-2007). The first 10 years for the Devil Rays were rough. They did not see the playoffs nor have a winning season. The new team were easy targets for their opponents. The team averaged only 65 wins per season during this period. Attendance numbers were surprisingly high and averaged 1.4 million per season. Attendance in five of the first 10 seasons either met or exceeded the 26-year average. Overall, there were no winning seasons but good attendance numbers for five seasons. Numbers always make sense but people do not.

In 2008, the Devil Rays shed their losing ways and became the winning Rays. From 2008 to 2013, the Rays reached the playoffs four of six seasons with their first world series appearance in 2008. In these six seasons span the Rays average 92 wins. Smashing the 26-season average of 78. Their success in the winning column did have a positive connection to attendance numbers. During these six seasons the average attendance was 1.7 million per season. This was a successful time with both winning games and drawing higher attendance. In this case, winning games is driving attendance.

Part three (2014-2018) saw a dip in wins and attendance. These teams hovered around the 500 mark. They did not see the playoff nor did they dwell in the basement. However, the Rays averaged 79 wins per season. One game above their 26-season average of 78 wins per season. During this period, attendance started at 1.4 million and declined to 1.1 million with an average of 1.2 million. Overall, these five years have had mixed results. In 2014, wins were down but attendance was up. A year later, wins were up but attendance was down.

The final part (2019-2023) examines the past five years. By this time, the Rays are now known as serious contenders in the always competitive American League East division. After a 96-win season in 2019, the Rays are in the playoff for the first time since 2013. Their attendance was still low with only 1.1 million attending. Then Covid hit in 2020. In the shortened 100-game season, the Rays were 60-40 and had their second world series appearance that no one could enjoy. Attendance league wide was at zero. Poor timing for the Rays. As the league began to open stadiums, fans returned slowly. Then the Rays had their best season and sadly drew 700 thousand in attendance. The Rays did not have as much success the following season (2022, 86-76), attendance did rise to 1.1 million. Last season, the Rays missed the 100-wins mark by one game but attendance remained idle at 1.1 million. Overall, attendance is not matching wins.

In conclusion, it is my opinion with the data I have reviewed there is no direct connection of winning games and attendance numbers.


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