The Tampa Bay Rays dropped the opening game of the AL wild-card series to the Texas Rangers 4-0 on Tuesday. There were 19,704 fans in attendance at Tropicana Field, the fewest number of fans to attend an MLB playoff game in more than 100 years.
Via The Athletic’s Tyler Kepner, the Game 1 crowd was the lowest attendance for a postseason game — outside the 2020 COVID-19 season — since Game 7 of the 1919 World Series in Cincinnati.
Here’s some perspective on today’s attendance of 19,704 at the Trop: according to @Stathead, it’s the lowest (non-Covid year) attendance for a postseason game in 104 years. Last one below 19,704 was Game 7 of the infamous 1919 World Series in Cincinnati.
— Tyler Kepner (@TylerKepner) October 3, 2023
The Reds had a reason for their low number in 1919, according to SABR director of editorial content Jacob Pomrenke:
“Some context on 1919 World Series ticket snafu: Reds forced fans to buy 3-game blocks, and this was their 4th home game — single-game tickets were only on sale for a few hours that morning in downtown Cincinnati. Only 13K showed up for Game 7 (of 8).”
MLB announced Monday that the 2023 regular season saw total attendance reach 70,747,365, which comes out to a gain of more than 6 million fans from 2022, a 9.6% increase. The Rays finished 27th overall with a total of 1.4 million, according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal. That total breaks down to an average of nearly 17,800 per game, an increase of almost 4,000 per game from last season.
The issue of attendance at Tropicana Park has been a topic for years. But there is hope that a new, 30,000-seat, $1.6 billion stadium set to open in time for the 2028 season will make this talk go away.
The Rays’ product on the field has certainly been worthy of more butts in seats lately, with four division titles, nine playoff appearances and two trips to the World Series since 2008. With their 2023 season on the line Wednesday, you would think the stadium will be a bit fuller in order to create a better atmosphere.