ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays will hold a drive-through fan event in the Tropicana Field parking lots on March 27 in place of their usual Fan Fest inside the domed stadium.
The event, called Drive to Opening Day, will feature giveaways, experiences and photo opportunities for fans to participate in from their cars. It will be open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Tickets are free but required and can be reserved at RaysBaseball.com/Drive starting at 10 a.m. Thursday, with Season Members having priority access. (If space is available, day-of-event entry is available for a $10 donation to the Rays Baseball Foundation and Rowdies Soccer Fund.)
The Rays typically hold their fan event inside the stadium in February, around the start of spring training, with appearances, interactive events and autograph signings by players a big part of the appeal.
The Rays made the change this year due to coronavirus concerns and protocols. And part of the Trop is being used for televised WWE wrestling events. As a result of the re-scheduling, with coronavirus protocols and the event coinciding with an exhibition game, no players or coaches will be taking part.
“Fan Fest is a fan favorite at Tropicana Field,” Rays marketing and creative services vice president Eric Weisberg said in a release. “The event is evolving to make sure that fans can still celebrate the excitement of the upcoming season — and the success of 2020 — in an engaging and safe way.”
Among the activities, with fans not leaving their cars:
• Taking a photo with the 2020 American League championship trophy.
• Interacting with the Rays and Rowdies mascots and the street team.
• Getting snacks, a car magnet and a gift bag of promotional items that could include bobbleheads, note pads. pajama pants, etc.
• Having the opportunity to buy “mystery” balls, game-used ($20) and autographed ($40), with proceeds to the Rays Baseball Foundation and Rowdies Soccer Fund, as well as from a Tyler Glasnow bobblehead ($5).
• Receiving an additional promotional item for donating to the 10 Tampa Bay and Feeding Tampa Bay’s Cereal for Summer Drive.
• Getting signed schedule posters from TV broadcasters Rich Hollenberg, Doug Waechter and Tricia Whitaker.
There also will be access to the team store and ticket sales representatives.