September 29, 2010

Tampa Bay Rays cause Economic Stir

It is a race to the finish as the MLB baseball season comes to a close. There have been two very interesting races over the month of April; one in the NL west and the other in the AL east. In the east the world famous Yankees have been competing against the young up-incoming Tampa Bay Rays for the top spot in the division. Obviously for any baseball fan and especially fans of either team this is a must watch spectacle. Not so, for the fans of Tampa Bay. Stadium attendance at, the Tropicana Stadium has consistently been low all year, and even during the nail biting end of season battle attendance figures plunge to less than 15,000.

This is where the economic issue arises. The Rays have a major star on the team they are young and exciting to watch, yet economically they are unable to attract fans to the stadium. Initially I considered the idea that the market for tickets has not reached equilibrium. Maybe the owner of the Rays wants to make more money from high ticket prices than fans are willing to pay. The author took a different approach as a means of explaining the problem. He considered the lack of an aesthetically pleasing dome as the culprit. This is most definitely not an economic issue, nor would a new stadium remedy the problem.

He continues to explain that the demographic in Tampa Bay will not consistently go to the games, but he fails to give any sort of economic explanation to his assumption. He states that the demographic is primarily elderly and retired people. These assumptions are inaccurate because if these elderly people are fans then what is to stop them from enjoying every game of the season. After all they are retired and are not tied down to work or a daily schedule. Maybe the author should investigate deeper into the economic situation in Tampa Bay; this could possibly give insight into why there is a lack of support to the Rays. One could assume that because football season is now underway focus has shifted, but even the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are under a similar situation. Because they were unable to sell out the stadium quick enough, their game was not locally televised on Sunday. So maybe there is a larger economic issue at hand. People are not attending games because they cannot afford these certain luxuries. Or people are spending time and money doing more important things. Maybe Tampa Bay is just not a good market for sports teams?

The author states that for tonight’s home game finale for the Rays, they are going to give away 20,000 tickets to any fan that arrives at the stadium during the time frame before the game, yet people are unsure whether these tickets will even “sellout”. So does that mean it is not an issue of equilibrium and, it is merely an issue of people’s tastes and preferences? The author seems to be deriving this as his conclusion, but he is unable to provide the necessary foundation and proof to consider his logic relevant.

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