The Tampa Tribune commissioned a study to determine whether the Rays attendance problem (i.e. they win and people still don’t show) is fixable. There isn’t an ultimate conclusion — like so many things the journey is better than the destination — but the upshot is that it’s not just a function of the economy or the team winning. Winning, the study founds, is the strongest predictor of attendance, but very, very close is the population within a thirty-minute drive of the ballpark, which is a category in which the Rays are dead last in all of baseball.
Makes sense to me. I love baseball more than most folks, but I don’t know that I’d want to travel an hour each way to the ballpark 81 times a year, and that’s what you’re asking season ticket holders to do.