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It’s often been noted that the location of Tropicana Field has held back Tampa Bay Rays fans from attending games.
But it didn’t stop WWE fans from attending the Royal Rumble.
The WWE announced that 48,044 people attended the Royal Rumble on Saturday, a Tropicana Field record.
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The Women’s Royal Rumble match during the Royal Rumble at Tropicana Field. (Joe Camporeale-USA Today Sports)
Of course, it should be noted there are at least 81 baseball games at the Trop per year, while the Royal Rumble is an annual event held in a different location every year.
Plus, WWE makes it possible for fans to fit on the field level, resulting in more seats (obviously, that’s impossible for baseball).
But the Rays, no matter the team’s success, have consistently ranked near the bottom of attendance. It’s been so low that the upper deck is often covered with tarps.
Even when the team won the division in 2008 and 2010 (they won in 2020 and 2021, but attendance was restricted due to COVID), they averaged 22,259 and 23,025 per game, respectively.
Opening Day at Tropicana Field, as the Tampa Bay Rays take on the Detroit Tigers on March 30, 2023, in St Petersburg, Florida. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
This past season, the Rays hosted an average of 17,781 people, still unable to reach the 25,000 seats that are not covered by tarps. Only 19,704 people attended a wild-card round game this past postseason.
Well, Tropicana Field was filled to capacity on Saturday night.
The Trop opened in 1990, first being the home of an Arena Football League team. The NHL’s Lightning played there from 1993 to 1996, and the Rays were born in 1999.
It’s in St. Petersburg, making it a pain to get to – it’s also widely regarded as one of the worst ballparks in North America.
Game two of the wild-card series between the Texas Rangers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on Oct. 4, 2023. (Mike Carlson/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
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The stadium’s highest attendance average was in its first season, when the Rays averaged 30,942 people per home game in 1998. But the Rays have not averaged more than 20,000 fans at the stadium since 2010.
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