Attendance Versus Division Rivals - Boston Red Sox

Man, so it's been a while since I last got something up here.  I apologize for that - my senior thesis was owning my butt for the last few weeks, but I just got it turned in today.  That said, I've got a couple different projects I'm working on with attendance as the focus, and here's a sneak peak.

I hypothesize that there are three main variables that affect attendance: the competitiveness of the home team, the day of the week the game is played, and the quality of the opponent faced.  There are other variables that can influence things as well, like if an ace pitcher is throwing or if there's a really popular promotion, but intuitively, those three feel much more significant than any other variable you might be able to come up with.  Also, these three variables interact with and influence each other.  For example, a really competitive team will draw more than a team that has historically stunk, but even competitve teams will most likely draw significantly worse during the week and against weak opponents.

In one of my early posts on attendance, I mentioned how I was going to chronicle how the Rays typically draw against various opponents.  It's taken long enough, but I finally have a couple results to share.  So here we go - we'll start off with a detailed look at how the Rays have historically draw when playing the Boston Red Sox.

Also, if you haven't read any of my earlier articles on attendance, feel free to direct yourself here, here, here, and here.  For this current piece I'm going to be drawing on methodology from the second of those articles, where we looked at how the Rays have drawn on different days of the week.  If you're interested by what I say here, feel free to take a look back at any of those articles for more information.

So far, I've only looked at how days of the week influence attendance.  In that post on weekly attendance trends, I concluded that over the course of our franchise's history, we've drawn the most amount of fans on Saturdays and Sundays, and the least amount on Wednesdays and Thursdays.  Big surprise, I know, but here's the average breakdown by percentage points above/below our average attendance per game.

Mondays -7.07%
Tuesdays -7.42%
Wednesdays -10.46%
Thursdays -11.02%
Fridays -1.46%
Saturdays 27.73%
Sundays 14.29%

With that as a background, now on to the Red Sox.  As one would assume, we've always drawn very well against the Sox, averaging 30% better attendance in games against them than our yearly average.  Where things get interesting, though, is when we break it down by day of the week.

Monday - Thursday 13%
Friday - Sunday 60%

Again, this shouldn't be much of a surpise; it appears that we've historically drawn slightly above average again the Sox on days in the middle of the week and sold out the games on the weekends.  For a good example of this trend, take a look at our attendance numbers during our home series against the Sox just last week:

Thursday 20,341
Friday 27,045
Saturday 34,910
Sunday 32,332

Notice the jump from Thursday night to Friday?  That's an important thing to remember because taken in isolation, that 20K attendance on Thursday might seem concerning.  Remember, though, Thursdays are normally our worst day of the week for attendance.  The fans came out in droves over the weekend, which helped us average 28.6K for the entire series.

Another quick thing to note is that from 1998 to 2005, we played the Red Sox in a weekend series at home only once a year; some years, like 2001 and 2004, we didn't face them at home on the weekend at all.  in the past couple years, though, the Rays started playing the Red Sox at home in two weekend series a year.  Whether this was a conscious effort to try and attract more fans to the Trop or random schedule fluctuations, it helped bump our attendance up slightly those two years.

You're probably asking yourself, how do these numbers compare to other opponents?  Do the Rays experience the largest bump in attendance versus the Sox or against the Yankees?  How do the Marlins compare?  Sadly, this is all I have for now, but hold onto all those questions because they'll be answered next.

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