The principal owner of the Tampa Bay Rays, Stuart Sternberg, recently chatted with Roger Mooney of TBO.com, and in their conversation, Sternberg indicated he had faith in an increase in the Rays' constantly flagging attendance. According to Mooney:â†µ
Sternberg is optimistic attendance will increase this season, but he remains cautious. He expected the Trop to fill up in 2009 as fans flocked to see the defending American League champions and was more than surprised and very disappointed when they didn't. His optimism for this season stems from an upturn in the economy, a slight increase in season-ticket sales and the excitement in the Bay area surrounding the team that reached the postseason during the past two years.â†µ
Well, don't get too excited just yet, Mr. Sternberg. I'm afraid to report the most recent data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not really giving an endorsement to the hope of increased attendance in 2012:â†µ
Note: 2011 data is both preliminary and only partially completed.
It is important to note that employment as a whole in the US is up from last year. The very latest employment figures suggest the US added around 3.5 million jobs this last year -- which is great -- but for a Tampa Bay economy that was seemingly disproportionately hit by the recession, it appears likely the gains in Pinellas and Hillsborough will lag behind the national gains.â†µ
The preliminary and partial data above shows Hillsborough county clearly started to rebound while Pinellas continued to sink. A rebound for Tampa is great and all, but who can really spend ~1 Mayan long-count calender on the bridge, trying to get to St. Pete after work?