Sunday Rewind: ” Rays trying to Boost Season Ticket Sales”


Bloggers Note:

It is still kind of wild how this same subject seems to coast to the surface right before the Tampa Bay Rays have their annual Fan Fest, but the Rays are again seeking to increase their Season Ticket fanbase for the 2010 season. So I decided that I might wander back to February 2,2009 and pull up an old blog entry that seems just as current today.


On February 2,2009, the St. Petersburg Times ran a story telling what local population segment the Tampa Bay Rays were going to be very aggressive in their push to increase their Season Tickets throughout Spring Training. The Rays currently still hold onto the bottom slot of the list among teams in the American League when it comes to active full Season Tickets, and the plan is to make the benefits of a Rays package or plan more attractive and further showcase what over 8,000 Rays fans already know, that Season Ticket packages give you some interesting options during the season. Television ads will begin their airtime barrage  showcasing key Rays players’ getting ready for the season and each will be narrated by Rays Manager Joe Maddon.


Most people in this region look at Rays Full Season Tickets as an expensive investment (81 games), but they are also not targeting most of the fanbase to purchase two seats in the Home Plate Club for around $ 12,400. for each padded seat. There are as many great season ticket packages and options as there are Rays selections in jerseys right now. And just because you select a seat in the Upper Deck, or even the T B T Party Deck, you are still considered a prime member of the exclusive Season Ticket membership

Now I have sat in my section (138) of the Trop in the plastic seat for the last 11 years, and I can not even imagine sitting anywhere else within the confines of Tropicana Field. but some people might not have the luxury of time away from other life requirements or  the money to invest in the team to this level. But for me, it is an investment in my sanity. Baseball is my form of relaxation and watching the game brings me down after the highs and lows of the day to a sense of neutrality again. 


A Full (81 games ) Season Ticket in the Upper Deck area of the Trop. went for about  $ 754.  during the 2009  season, which will come in at a discounted savings of $ 215. over the entire baseball season if you bought your seat at one time instead of fighting with Stubhub or Ticketmaster over the seats. But the Rays have also thought long and hard about the fan who can not make 81 games, or have  families or kids who play sports in the early Spring or Summer, which limits their chances to attend Rays games.

They have thought about this group of fans by including a huge list of  packages and seat options that could fit into anyone’s budget. And the team even offers a 20-game voucher system to induce fans to include friends, family or co-workers to come out to a Rays game on short notice. There are also half season Season Tickets that will let you pick from two great options that include weekdays or weekend games.

An example of the  weekday plan cost yaround $ 727.50 for a seat out in the Rays outfield seat, and included the Pomp and Circumstance of the 2009  Opening Day game and every game played from Monday to Thursday  during the season, including games against the Boston Red Sox, Philladelphia Phillies and New York Yankees.


Also offered again in 2009 was the popular 20-game package, which cost about $ 550. for a Baseline Box seat, such as Section 138. The package will be fine tuned and configured around the weekend games at the Trop. There were three viable options here, either you picked Friday, Saturday, and Sunday games, then the package was tailored to your needs.

The most popular option in the 20-game package was the Saturday night game option which gave you a seat for each of the Rays Concert Series performances in 2009. But this package also is limited in its effect to get you multiple games/seats against the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies in the same seat as your 20-game option. 


Then there is the entire Weekend Rays games plan which for an Outfield seat cost you $678.50 and would include every Rays home game played from Friday night through Sunday afternoon, and wiould include the popular Concert Series nights in the package. This package also gave you an additional ticket to attend the Opening Day game and  subsequent games against the Chicago White Sox, Red Sox, and Yankees. 

All of the half  season and limited game packages have a reduced level of Season Ticket benefits, but include such great items as priority numbers for Rays Postseason ticket purchases before the general publicsale ,10 percent discount for merchandise at the Tropicana Field Rays Team Store, and your own personal Season Ticket representative.





But there are other goodies that Season Ticket can get you that most fans never get to enjoy like using the Rays Season Ticket gate entrances at Gate 1 or Gate 3 for quick entry into games, and the option to purchase discounted parking passes to include Lots 2 and 6 for each Rays home game.  I used this option a few years ago, and I could actually park within 50 feet of the back door of the Trop. and get to my car in less than 1 minute after leaving the confines of the stadium.

This comes in handy during those wild rain showers we tend to have in the summertime here in Florida. You also have a priority advantage to either upgrade your seat, or even decide in the off season you want to move closer to the rail or aisle end, you can contact your Season Ticket Representative and he will work with you to get that desired location or seat for you. 


If the level of secured Season Tickets for the Rays game could increase from the level they are today, to about 15,000, the team would have a guaranteed attendance of 1.8 million fans each season. One of the big reasons for the push to increase the Season Ticket fanbase is to try and sit about the MLB average every season in total attendance. Another is that the team increased their budgeted payroll for 2009 to a level that is 2 1/2 times the 2007 payroll for the team. With the estimated payroll exceeding $ 60 million in 2009, it will be the most talented and expensive team assembled in Rays history.


Full Season Tickets gets you a lot of great benefits besides the ones listed above. Full season patrons also get a guarantee of your same seat for every Rays game, a personalized nameplate on your seat, and an opportunity to purchase extra tickets to games during the Spring Training and Regular season before they go on sale to the public. Another great benefits is the exclusive events and parties that the Rays provide every year for the Full season crowd. 


In the past, Rays Season Ticket holders have enjoyed events during the All-Star game where the Rays staff has invited the Season Ticket folks to places like Game Works in Ybor City for a party and gaming with players and other fans. That event in 2008 attracted numerous Rays players like Grant Balfour, Jonny Gomes, Edwin Jackson and Rays Manager Joe Maddon. Players played video games and raced simulated car races against fans and Raymond during the event, which included free food and drinks and numerous prizes given out during the event.  And yes, that is me doing the chocolate fountain in the photo at that season’s event.
Another one of the perks of having a Season Ticket, is the fact that the Rays will give you a selection of pre-determined items from selected giveaways around the All-Star break. I can tell you as a Full Season Ticket holder since 2000, and a half season ticket holder since 1998, that it has been one of the best investments I have ever made, not just in Rays baseball.

Along with the game tickets, you can develop a sense of trust and personal face time with players and staff that is beneficial to having the true Rays baseball experience. And with this, it gives you a deeper understanding and knowledge of what Rays baseball is really all about.

Another Season Ticket plus that some people find pleasing this year is the fact that non Season Ticket holders over the age of 14, will have to purchase a wristband with a $ 10 donation to the Rays Foundation to get autographs this year during the upcoming Rays Fan Fest. Along with your free wristband, as a Season Ticket holder, you have the chance to gain early admission to the Fan Fest an full hour before other fans.

Not only that, but throughout the season you get Rays personalized birthday and holiday cards from the Rays staff, and also develop friendships and a common bond with your fellow Season Ticket buddies through the many events planned by the Rays staff throughout each Rays season.




So be sure to check out  all of the great options being offered by the team this year in their Season Ticket packages either online, or by contacting the Rays Season Ticket office to start your purchase plans this season. As is the way with most things in this life, the more pricey the seat, the more extended benefits you can get with your Rays experience. But every seat within Tropicana Field is unobstructed and has great sightlines of their own
Not having the money to get the plush spots in the Trop should not keep you from wanting to come enjoy this Rays team. Exciting things are in store again this season, and if you decide to join the Rays train you can be on the ground floor with the rest of the 8,000 plus excited Rays faithful Season Ticket fanatics. Even if you can not afford to put out extra money right now because of the economic situation, please come out and support the team when you can. We are about to again embark on another great year of expectations and surprises from the Rays. And it would be a shame for anyone, even you, to miss out on that special brand of Rays excitement.

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