|Jersey Redesign Helping Rays
See Increase In Merchandise Sales
Rays merchandise sales this season have "risen faster than all" MLB teams except the Rockies, with a "70[%] increase in sales over last year," according to SportScan Info data cited by Tom Zucco of the ST. PETERSBURG TIMES. But SportScan, which tracks retail sporting goods sales, reported that the Rays hold a 0.51% share of the market, ranking "second to last in total market share, ahead of only" the Blue Jays. SportScan analyst Matt Powell said of the Rays, "It's a great team to watch. But the market is too small." Rays Senior VP & Chief Sales Officer Mark Fernandez believes that if "only retail numbers are used (and stadium sales were excluded), sales of Rays merchandise could fall into the upper third." Fernandez credits the team's name change, its uniform design and its performance -- the Rays' 27-19 record trails only the Red Sox in the AL East -- for the sales gains. Fernandez said that visits to the team's Web site in the past six weeks were "up nearly 8[%]." TV viewership also is "up about 15[%]" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 5/21
STADIUM OR BUST? St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce's baseball task force co-Chair Steve Raymund, whose group is studying the Rays' $450M waterfront stadium proposal, said that "rejecting the plan may be the end" of MLB in St. Petersburg. Raymund said that if St. Petersburg "won't build the Rays a new stadium, some other city will." Raymund: "The reality is that the Rays say they need a new stadium to remain viable, that it's critical to their organization. If it's not here, it'll be somewhere else" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 5/21).