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How long does it take to build a solid fanbase (i.e. Rays)?

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The Rays have been mentioned lately in the media for their low attendance numbers. The stadium and its location have been described as possible factors. While these are definitely issues, I think it just takes a few decades to build a solid fanbase. Tampa Bay got MLB in 1998; however, unless the residents were young kids, they had already had a favorite team. Some people obviously will jump ship to the local team, but I think that many of the Florida residents/transplants kept their former allegiances.

Someone who was 8 when the Rays came in, is only 20 now. A 20 year old doesn't have the disposable income to be part of the season ticket base (and is probably in college anyway). I think judgment should be withheld until that group of young kids is able to become part of the fanbase. I know it isn't a popular opinion with the media, but I think it takes 25-30 years to develop a solid fan base as an expansion team in any sport.

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Interesting theory but I strongly disagree. How long did it take the Rockies to build a solid fan base? The Diamondbacks?

How come the Buc games are not selling out down here?

It is not a matter of time, it is a matter of the fan base down here. Folks will jump on a bandwagon when a team is doing well and jump right back off the second a team falters (once again the bucs and also the lightning). Heck last season when the Rays were a good team but obviously not headed to the playoffs fully half the Rays hats/shirts disappeared from the general populace, only to come back out now that the team is playoff bound.

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I think it really depends on a lot of factors. Such as the respective sport's popularity in said area or past history of there or not being a franchise in that town.

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This is an interesting concept, but it doesnt hold a lot of value in regards to the Florida area. Even if people started following the Rays when they were younger, they were a horrible team until three years ago. At least the D'Backs, Marlins, and Rockies got good fast.

The Marlins have been around a few years longer with two World Series wins and they still don't have much of a following.

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The Ravens have sold out every single home game, except 2 their final year in Memorial Stadium since moving to Baltimore. I think Baltimore could get a NBA or NHL team tomorrow and it would get a lot of support.

Some places don't go crazy for pro sports, especially many cities in Florida and California where there is a lot of stuff to do outside other than sit in a stadium. Look at Jacksonville. Miami has won 2 world series in 13 years and no one cares. Dolphins games routinely don't sell out and they have been around for almost 50 years. LA, the biggest TV market in the US, doesn't have the NFL, has lost several teams, and they don't really care to get it back.

Geographic and population make-up are two important variables when looking at sports in cities. Tampa has some big factors working against it in both. A lot of transplants and a stadium that is a PITA to get to.

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Both Florida teams struggle with attendence. They're more of a football state I suppose.

Cept the pro football teams don't draw well either.

Well except the Hurricanes, they do pretty well.;)

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Well, just for example, the Diamondbacks have drawn 2 mm fans or more every year of their existence. The Rockies have failed to draw 2 million only once. So, the Florida teams' problems go way beyond the fact that they haven't had enough time to build a fan base.

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I don't think there's a clear answer.

Take Denver and Miami as examples since they both came into the league at the same time. Denver managed to build a team very quickly, making the playoffs in three years. They got a new stadium within that same period, back when that actually meant something. They played in the most offense-friendly ballpark in the modern era at the height of "Chicks Dig the Long Ball." They've been over .500 seven times in eighteen seasons (including projecting this season).

The Marlins, on the other hand, took five years to get above .500: the 1997 championship season. They got there by purchasing as much talent as possible in 1996 and 1997, then selling that talent off immediately and losing 100 games in 1998. Their next season above .500: the 2003 championship season, followed by another talent sale. They have the same seven .500+ seasons as Colorado, but never got that new park until just now, and screwed over their fans on multiple occasions immediately after great years.

Two teams with similar success (Colorado three playoff appearances with one World Series appearance; Florida two playoff appearances, both World Series victories) over the same period, but one has gone in one direction and the other in the other.

Or Phoenix and St. Petersburg. The Diamondbacks were in a new park from the start, while the (Devil) Rays were in one that was less than a decade old but already obsolete. The Diamondbacks had success right away, making the playoffs the year after they entered the league and winning a title within three. The Rays took a decade just to get a winning team, let alone a playoff team.

In both cases, one team had more overall success right away, while also being in brand new stadiums in great locations--even in Denver's case, Mile High was not only built with baseball in mind but was right in downtown Denver.

Both the Marlins and Rays got stuck long-term in obsolete stadiums in poor locations, and didn't have near the success (the Marlins could argue that, but even with the championship the aftermath made it a Pyrrhic victory in many ways).

Interestingly, the one popular concept in my mind that doesn't hold much water is the idea of there being too many other things to do in Tampa and Miami. Both Phoenix and Denver have multiple sports franchises, and are in regions with "outdoorsy" populations and activities.

Basically, if there is a blueprint, I would say it is this:

-New ballpark, right away or in the very near future, in an accessible area.

-Early, and reasonably-sustainable, success.

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