I'm sure this report doesn't come as a surprise to anyone that's been to Tropicana Field:â†µ
Thomas Kelsey contacted me with data based off the 2000 census showing the population around current, future, and potential MLB markets based on minutes from the ballpark location. Indeed, the Rays have the smallest population core nearest to the ballpark (270,000 at 15 min) and 670,000 at 30 min.â†µ
Actually, when you look at the data, the numbers are even more extreme than the above statement suggests. With only 670,000 people living within 30 minutes of the Trop, that not only puts them in last place among all major league teams: it puts them in last by a landslide. The next worst team has 1.18 million people within a 30 minute radius, and if you were to magically double the amount of people living near the Trop, the Rays would still only finish ahead of four teams.â†µ
Yeah, that's right. Four. In case you never believed it before, yes, the Trop's location does have a large impact on the Rays' attendance.â†µ
But there is also some encouraging news from this report. Alternative markets like Portland and Las Vegas don't look nearly so attractive, as they'd be smaller overall markets than Tampa Bay, and placing a stadium in Tampa would alleviate many of the Rays' woes. In fact, at 1.24 million within a 30 minute drive, Tampa looks like the best possible market for relocation....minus North Jersey, but there's no way the Yanks let that happen.â†µ
Anyone out there have mayor Bill Foster's email address? Here's hoping these numbers end up in his inbox sometime today.