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Tampa Tribune Study: Region May Not be Able to Support Rays With New Stadium


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http://www2.tbo.com/content/2010/nov/26/261319/can-the-tampa-bay-area-sustain-baseball/

A Tribune analysis suggests the Bay area has a few major drawbacks that even a new stadium – if the Rays get one – might struggle to overcome. That's not to say the team can't be profitable, but there are big challenges.

Among them: a lack of major corporations and its far-flung population.

The population within a 30-minute drive of Tropicana Field ranks dead last among all 30 Major League Baseball teams, according to a demographics database called ESRI. Moving the team to Mid-Pinellas or Tampa might help a bit, but the population within 30 minutes of a new ballpark still would be among the league's lowest.

...

The statistical study generally reinforced two fairly obvious conclusions.

First, it pays to win. The correlation between winning percentage and home attendance was about 50 percent (considered significant in such correlation studies). Second, bigger markets have an easier time filling ballparks. The correlation between population within 30 minutes of a stadium and home attendance was about 49 percent.

Less correlated were economic factors such as an area's personal income and unemployment rate.

I highly recommend reading the whole thing, especially the numbers at the end.

We usually think in terms of total population, whether it be city size or metro size or market size, but its interesting to see that density is that much of a factor. It does make sense: how many complaints have we heard since the Nationals moved to DC that its just easier to get to either RFK/Nats Park or Camden Yards, depending on one's location in the region?

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Bottom corporate cities:

24. Arizona Diamondbacks - 11

24. Seattle Mariners - 11

26. Tampa Bay Rays6

26. Florida Marlins - 6

26. Baltimore Orioles - 6

29. San Diego Padres - 5

6 in Baltimore? Does that count the suburbs?

Still, I can see why the Nationals really do hurt Orioles attendance because DC has way more corporate HQ's in or around the beltway.

On the other hand, if the Orioles are winning I bet plenty of corporations in DC come crawling back. Especially those on the MD side, looking at you Lockheed Martin.

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6 in Baltimore? Does that count the suburbs?

Still, I can see why the Nationals really do hurt Orioles attendance because DC has way more corporate HQ's in or around the beltway.

On the other hand, if the Orioles are winning I bet plenty of corporations in DC come crawling back. Especially those on the MD side, looking at you Lockheed Martin.

MD is ranked 44th in State Business Tax Climate Index, Fiscal Year 2011. Good luck getting businesses to moving back to MD. Virginia is ranked 12th...

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In baseball, where you have to have 20,000+ people show up 81 times a year, including Tuesdays in April, much of what we think of as the quality of the fanbase is actually other things. Location of the stadium and its accessability certainly plays a role. I'm sure at least part of the attendance boom of the last 25 years was driven by moving from multi-purpose stadiums 20 miles outside of town in the middle of 1000 acre parking lots to downtown ballparks with access to public transportation and within walking distance of other stuff you want to see.

Do you think the '74 Orioles would have cleared 1M in paid attendance (they didn't!) if all those fans didn't have to schlep all the way up to 33rd street 81 times?

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MD is ranked 44th in State Business Tax Climate Index, Fiscal Year 2011. Good luck getting businesses to moving back to MD. Virginia is ranked 12th...

I was thinking about this last night, not the taxation issue which is a problem, but about the using corporate HQ as a barometer.

It would be better to take the number of Fortune 1000 companies who have a major property or division in the area. A companies HQ could be anywhere, but they will buy season tickets for the team near its employee base.

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In baseball, where you have to have 20,000+ people show up 81 times a year, including Tuesdays in April, much of what we think of as the quality of the fanbase is actually other things. Location of the stadium and its accessability certainly plays a role. I'm sure at least part of the attendance boom of the last 25 years was driven by moving from multi-purpose stadiums 20 miles outside of town in the middle of 1000 acre parking lots to downtown ballparks with access to public transportation and within walking distance of other stuff you want to see.

Do you think the '74 Orioles would have cleared 1M in paid attendance (they didn't!) if all those fans didn't have to schlep all the way up to 33rd street 81 times?

This is exactly why the Marlins are rebuilding the Orange Bowl. Dolphin stadium is a crap location for most people in South Florida, not even well served by the train. Plus its a less then stellar baseball venue. Its fine for football because people are willing to drive farther 8-10 times a year. (Insert joke here about the Dolphins never filling stadium)

I've been to St. Pete, it is a terrible place for a baseball stadium. A sizable chunk of the population is snow birds and it isn't the easiest drive over from Tampa. Bradenton/Sarasota isn't a bad drive into the stadium, but they suffer from snowbirditis as well. The year round population is in Tampa and suburbs to the East on the way to Orlando such as Lakeland. And Orlando for that matter, 90 minute drive. Same as driving from Easton, MD to OPACY.

This snowbird issue can't be overlooked. The article discusses the population base within a 30 minute drive of the stadium, but it should be looking at the SEASONAL population base. Many of the towns around Tampa are deserted all summer long.

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This is exactly why the Marlins are rebuilding the Orange Bowl. Dolphin stadium is a crap location for most people in South Florida, not even well served by the train. Plus its a less then stellar baseball venue. Its fine for football because people are willing to drive farther 8-10 times a year. (Insert joke here about the Dolphins never filling stadium)

Is the Orange Bowl site any better? I've been to several Tech-Miami football games there and the area is kind of shady, I didn't see any evidence of public transportation, and it's not like people will go there to hang out and end up at a Marlins game. I don't know what the parking plans are, but at the Orange Bowl even that was bad - I've parked in someone's front yard more often than not.

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Is the Orange Bowl site any better? I've been to several Tech-Miami football games there and the area is kind of shady, I didn't see any evidence of public transportation, and it's not like people will go there to hang out and end up at a Marlins game. I don't know what the parking plans are, but at the Orange Bowl even that was bad - I've parked in someone's front yard more often than not.

I'm not incredibly familiar with Miami, but I have a friend who lives near Little Havana which is basically where the Orange Bowl is. Part of the rebuild involves infrastructure improvements around the area including parking and connecting to the bus/rail lines which are already in place. No, it isn't the best part of town but it is better now then in the past. It is however, along a major transit corridor and there is a large population working and living in the area. Wether this population shows up to games is questionable, but they at least have a chance. They hope the local Cuban population will embrace this but I'm not sure how confident they really are.

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I have to think that actually moving to Tampa (in physical location, not just name) is impossible, do to the presence of the Yankees' AAA affiliate there. If I remember right, I believe they were the reason St. Petersburg was chosen over Tampa?

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I have to think that actually moving to Tampa (in physical location, not just name) is impossible, do to the presence of the Yankees' AAA affiliate there. If I remember right, I believe they were the reason St. Petersburg was chosen over Tampa?

I don't think territorial restrictions apply, or at least they aren't insurmountable hurdles, when it's a major league team infringing on a minor league team's territory. When the majors expand it's not like they have to ask permission to crush the minor league team they're displacing. And I'm pretty sure the Nats didn't think twice about moving into the Baysox' and Potomac Cannons' backyards.

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