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The number we’ve been waiting for

Posted May 17, 2007 by Marc Lancaster

Updated May 17, 2007 at 10:35 PM

LAKE BUENA VISTA—Noticeably more fans in the upper deck seats tonight than the last two evenings, and it resulted in the highest attendance of the series, a paid crowd of 9,635.

The three-game average: 8,806.

Rays president Matt Silverman just addressed the media in the back of the press box and said he was not disappointed that none of the games actually sold out.

“This is our first time into this market, and what pleased us even more than the attendance was the exposure and the interest that was generated leading up to the series,” he said. “The coverage on TV, on radio and especially in print has been great, and it’s unprecedented for our team in this market.”

He was pleased that attendance for the final game was the highest of the three, hoping it indicated the desired buzz was building.

“I think the rising attendance is indicative of the rising interest level in the team and these games,” he said. “It takes time for a new product to take hold, and we’re seeing that and the momentum is building. I’m eager to see how the TV ratings will follow from these games and how much we’ll traffic we’ll get across I-4 to Tropicana Field over the summer.”

Silverman was noncommittal on whether the Rays would make this a regular event in the coming years.

“We have plenty of time in the months ahead to determine whether this will be a recurring event,” he said. “But we’re satisfied with the results of this series and we look forward to continuing our commitment to the Orlando market in a number of different ways, whether that includes playing more games here or not.”

Reader Comments

Por (Steve Kusheloff) on May 18, 2007 (Suggest removal)

So the Rays schedule a couple of games in a 9,000 seat stadium at Disney World.  What does that say about the popularity of the team in Tampa?  Unfortunate, considering the Tampa area’s long effort to get a Major League ballclub.

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