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For the Rays, there's a bright side to losing

ST. PETERSBURG — Make no mistake, the Tampa Bay Rays' collapse to the Boston Red Sox early Friday morning was bad.

But in all things, even a walkoff 8-7 loss, there is a silver lining.

The extension of the American League Championship Series and a return to St. Petersburg means one or possibly two more games for the Rays at Tropicana Field.

For the Rays, it means at least an extra $1-million in their pocket, according to noted sports economist Andrew Zimbalist.

For area business owners, that means one more night – and a Saturday night at that — of Rays-related business.

For the Renaissance Vinoy Resort, which will host the Red Sox, it means 70 to 90 more rooms booked at about $200 a night.

For the city, it translates into one more night of national television exposure (assuming they don't say the game is in Tampa).

And for fans lucky enough to have a ticket Saturday night, it means actually getting to go to the game. For scalpers, it's another bonanza.

Groggy Rays fans, nonetheless, insisted Friday a win would have been better.

"I wished they would have clinched and these tickets would have been obsolete," said Pete Williams, 47, of St. Petersburg, who is trying to sell four upper-deck seats for tonight's game.

"I could use the money, though," adding he was recently laid off. "I'm not going to lie."

At the Renaissance Vinoy Resort, the weekend went from steady to slammed the moment Red Sox rightfielder J.D. Drew slapped a ball over Gabe Gross' head. The Red Sox piled into their rooms early Friday morning, said Vinoy sales and marketing director Dennis Lesko.

"We can't anticipate when playoff games are going to happen or not going to happen," Lesko said. "Thankfully, we had enough rooms to accommodate the Red Sox.

"But we're very, very tight this weekend."

The extra game also helps the Rays' bottom line. While the Rays are required by baseball to fork over 60 percent of their ticket sales from Games 1 and 2 to players, the team gets to keep that bounty for Game 6 and Game 7, if there is one.

Plus, the Rays have removed the tarps off 5,762 upper-deck seats for tonight's game. At $25 a ticket, that alone means an additional $144,000 for the Rays.

Asked Friday if the extra business helps make up for the Game 5 loss, Rays senior vice president for business and development Michael Kalt simply said "No."

Not at all?


For the Rays, there's a bright side to losing 10/17/08 [Last modified: Monday, October 20, 2008 5:31pm]
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