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Rays again to offer $10 tickets to all games, move weeknight starts

After a nearly 30% increase in attendance led to its highest total since 2014, the team will follow a mostly similar plan for 2024.
 
The Rays saw a  27.7% increase in attendance from 2022 at their home games this past season.
The Rays saw a 27.7% increase in attendance from 2022 at their home games this past season. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published Nov. 29, 2023|Updated Dec. 1, 2023

ST. PETERSBURG — Having drawn their most fans last season since 2014, the Rays will stick to a mostly similar ticketing plan for 2024.

Most notably, they again will offer $10 tickets to all games, a program launched last year they felt went well.

“I think it resonated with the fan base,” chief business officer Bill Walsh said. “We were able to bring some new people out to the ballpark through that program, which was exactly the hope, and we’re going to continue to build on that this year.”

As in 2023, at least 1,000 of the $10 tickets will be available for each game — “and more than that on many games, most games in fact,” he said — with seating in the Party Deck above leftfield and select lower-level areas.

Having moved their weeknight start times up to 6:40 p.m last year, the Rays will push them back to 6:50 for the coming season, essentially splitting the difference from the 7:10 starts that had been standard. The league-wide reduction in game times, down nearly a half hour last year to 2:42, also was a factor.

Walsh said the adjustment was made to allow more time for fans, especially from Tampa and points beyond, to arrive but also to get them home early. The earlier starts didn’t generate many complaints.

“It really was not an issue for us,” Walsh said. “We did not receive overwhelming negative feedback. In fact, to the contrary — it’s challenging to get here regardless of what time the game is from Tampa — so I think getting folks home at a reasonable hour was kind of paramount, and that seems to be how it played out in terms of the feedback we got over the course of the season.”

Most Saturday home games will start at 4:10 p.m. and Sunday games at 1:40. The March 28 season opener against Toronto, on a Thursday, will start at 4:10.

Also, as they did last year, the Rays will put single-game tickets on sale in advance of the holiday season.

Sales to the general public will start Dec. 7 via the MLB Ballpark app and raysbaseball.com, following the standard pre-sales to season members, spring season ticket holders, corporate partners and Rays Insider newsletter subscribers. See raysbaseball.com for more information and the schedule.

The Rays drew 1,440,301 fans last season, an increase of 27.7% from 2022 and their most since 1,446,464 in 2014. They had six sellouts (with a capacity of 25,025 when the upper deck is closed) and crowds of 27,078 and 32,142 (for games with it open). Their average of 17,781 was 27th in the league, ahead of the Royals (16,136), Marlins (14,355) and A’s (10,275).

“We felt good about it,” Walsh said. “The league experienced some really nice growth, which is great, obviously, for the league and the game as a whole. It was nice to see us over-index a little bit, punch above our weight.

“We view last year as a big success, not just on the field but off the field as well. We’ve got a lot of momentum heading into this season. We’re going to have another great team. We’ve got a lot of exciting things happening with the ballpark. I think it’s resonating, it’s generating a lot of interest from fans, and we’re going to continue to build from there.”

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Attendance for the Rays’ Wild Card Series games — 19,704 and 20,198 — was the lowest for any non-pandemic postseason games in the majors since 1919.

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