Author Archives: BAM

Top Off The Trop Part IV (2016) Detais

Top Off The Trop Part IV Announcement:

· Saturday June 18th 4:10PM
· Tampa Bay Rays vs San Francisco Giants
· Ticket Offer Good for Groups of 20+
· $25 Lower Level Ticket (Up to a $60 Value!)
· Summer Concert Series Following the Game: The Fray
· Official 2016 TOTT T-Shirt (while supplies last)
· For each ticket you purchase the Rays will match and donate a ticket to the Tampa Bay Area Big Brothers and Big Sisters for the Sunday June 19th Game

Ways to Get a Group Going…

1) Corporate Outing: One of the reasons we are doing Top Off The Trop earlier in the year than later is that we were hearing from a lot of companies that there corporate or “group outing” budgets were depleted. If you have budget left I would strongly consider the “value” that Top Off The Trop offers your group. Many firms each years (over a 100 different firms) use this night to bring 20, 40, 80 or 100 associates to a ball game (a-hem Yanks-Rays) at a reasonable price (and great seat). Yes your group will be seated together (with the exception of small breaks for season ticket holders)!


2) Group Leader / Organizer: No budget? Maybe you don’t have the corporate budget but you have a leader that loves to support the Rays? Create a group leader role and have employees sign up and use web based sites like PayPal to pay the group leader or simply have employees pay the firm who will make payment to the Rays.

Top Off The Trop III – Letter from Brett Morgan

Past Participants, Group Leaders and Bay Area Influencers,

BIG NEWS: On Wednesday May 13, 2015 we will have our 3rd Annual Top Off The Trop as the Rays take on the New York Yankees at the Trop! 

Like many of you I am a huge fan of the Tampa Bay Rays. It’s not always an easy job being a baseball fan in this town as you know. There is the constant scrutiny of the national media, consistent reports of our low attendance (even during periods of winning) and of course the current story line of Rays ownership being unable to get St. Pete’s blessing to glance across the Bay. 

There have been times where I have been so discouraged that I feel empathy will set in.  Then I am reminded why I got behind this initiative in the first place. It’s because I know we can make a difference. We live in a world full of bay area influencers and in the past our combined effort has made for a fantastic group night at the Trop. Each event has brought between 1800-3200 fans on an off night to add to the existing attendance….truly a game changer in the attendance line. 

If you need a refresher what is Top Off The Trop: Top Off The Trop is a group event that is made of smaller groups, typically small to medium bay area businesses. What happens is the Rays give me a great offer and I bring it to my friends, local business leaders, Rays fans, groups through Social Media … heck, anyone who will listen…and you take action to create ONE LARGE GROUP OUTING on an off-night (like a Wednesday). 

This years offer: Same as last, for groups of 20 or more $30 (no taxes or ticket fees) gives your group member a lower level seat (guaranteed) and a free Rays hat (choose from several / while supplies of last) to see the Rays and Yankees play on May 13, 2014. WE WILL ONLY HAVE ONE TOP OFF THE TROP THIS YEAR so the good news is that you won’t be hearing from me for the rest of the season (unless you want to) after the 13th.

You can purchase “Top Off The Trop” tickets directly through my Rays Season Ticket representative. Simply reply to me with your information, how many tickets you would like and the best way to be reached and Scott with the Rays will be in contact to fulfill your order. 

Brett A. Morgan

COO, Morgan Auto Group

President, Tampa Bay Area New Auto Dealers Association

6 Things that No One is Talking About as the Rays Stadium Stalemate Continues…

I still believe the Rays and the City of St. Petersburg will come to an agreement that allows the Rays stadium search to consider sites in Tampa. I also think that this is a positive, for no other reason than it is what the Rays want and it pushes forward the conversation of a new stadium during a time of sub-par Tropicana Field attendance.

Regardless of what side of the fence you sit on I am convinced that there are certain elements of this conversation being ignored by fans, area leaders and the media.


1)   Uncertainty is Bad Business.  

No matter if we’re talking the stock market or our own lives, uncertainty creates stress and impedes growth. This will be true for the Tampa Bay Rays. It will become tougher to retain the right personnel, attract new fans, retain old fans and grow the Rays brand in our region as uncertainty continues. Politically we seem very comfortable wallowing in some kind of stadium purgatory. As this saga drags on markets like Charlotte, Montreal, Nashville, Indianapolis and Las Vegas will continue to call us clouded and undeserving. Are they wrong?


2)   St. Petersburg has failed at Major League Baseball.    

It is time for everyone to admit that baseball, on the basis of attendance, has failed (in its current existence) in St. Petersburg. We can talk of great TV ratings and speculate on the Rays bottom line but I promise you outside of Tampa Bay no one is listening. A profitable team does not trump our current attendance situation at the Trop.


3)   Tampa residents will now be LESS LIKELY to attend Rays Games.

The cat is out of the bag. Whether you like it or not St. Pete and Pinellas residents (I am one) the team will be allowed to look at Tampa eventually because it is what they want to do. My fear all along is that Tampa residents will now sit on the sideline waiting for the Rays to waltz across the bridge. They will not increase their support of the franchise in the years to come.


4)   The MoU that the St. Petersburg City Council will eventually approve won’t be a whole lot different than the deal voted down on December 18th.

I applaud Mayor Kriseman for having the foresight to recognize two things: One is that the Rays current lease is an impediment to the future of baseball in Tampa Bay. Did majority owner Stu Sternberg know of the 2027 lease when he bought the team? Of course he did. Well then how is that our problem? Simply put the Rays presumed a winning product would create a winning atmosphere inside of the Trop and it hasn’t.

Ultimately the Rays might flex on the condition of profit sharing for Trop redevelopment but I don’t see the compensation dollar value improving drastically here. Secondly the Mayor sees that without the crutch of “municipal stadium financing,” that the Rays need to move forward without being unreasonably “penalized” for a break of lease.  If you disagree that the Rays will need to “win” here than you are simply hoping to remove one shackle from Raymond’s left leg only to peg another to his right.


5)   Attendance is Going to Get Worse

Just watch. The team has lost marquee faces of the team (Joe Maddon, Andrew Friedman, Wil Myers, Jeremy Hellickson and Matt Jocye to name a few) and while change can be good we are going through a transition that will ultimately hurt “butts in seats.” Add to that the prospects of a losing record and now what does attendance look like going into Fall 2015? The continued uncertainty of our Stadium Saga will magnify these negatives.


6)   The Stalemate has provided an opportunity for some to confuse the issue at hand.

One local leader (who personally I have a great deal of respect for) tweeted just moments after the December 18th vote: “City Council votes unanimously to study building a new stadium for the Rays in St Petersburg. Rejects the concept to let them look in Tampa.” While this tweet isn’t untrue it is certainly misguided. The issue at hand is still whether or not the Rays should be able to explore sites in Hillsborough County. What I see for many, is they are using this opportunity to return to a “baseball will exist only in St. Pete” agenda. I am not saying St. Pete shouldn’t be a part of the conversation but maybe the only way to get back into the conversation might be by letting the Rays explore other area options. Selfishly, I’d love to see a new Stadium in St. Petersburg.

Instead of focusing on the quality of baseball’s life in St. Pete it would seem to be that local leaders are only focused on the quantity (years potentially remaining at the Trop). In my opinion this is both shortsighted and dangerous.


Brett Morgan is a St. Petersburg resident, Social Media enthusiast and Rays Season Ticket holder. He is the platform manager for the Morgan Auto Group that operates car dealerships in Pasco, Hillsborough, Alachua, Marion and Sarasota Counties. Around the Trop he is known as “Top Off The Trop” guy, founding an annual movement that works with Small and Medium Bay Area businesses to drive attendance at Tropicana Field. Since returning to Florida after college in 2004 Brett is proud to say he’s seen a Game 7 ALCS game in St. Petersburg, a World Series opener and of course the greatest game ever, “Game 162.”



3 Takeaways From Top Off The Trop Part II

1) We were a big part of the 28,000 + at the Trop last night. That is something to be proud of and I do believe a lot of that success was in the night we picked and some luck. The rain out in Baltimore gave us a Price v Sabathia match up (which certainly didn’t turn out the way we wanted). We also had the fact that many kids were out of school tomorrow which was a positive. Either way I think the Rays must have sold at least 6,000 single game tickets in the last 10 days to this game and I would like to think that even if they weren’t Top Off The Trop tickets, that we had a hand in creating some demand.

I will be posting a list soon of all the groups that were involved but all I can say is that I was thrilled and humbled by the support. What a great day. We sold about 2200 tickets which was more than our first effort. 4,000 (our goal) would have brought a surprise sellout but I’m not frowning at 28,000 on a Thursday. I know for a fact too that many fans used their Flex Pack tickets to attend this game or bought single game tickets outside of our “group” ticket offer for Top Off The Trop.


2) Don’t let Yankees fans persuade you that last night was anything but your typical Yankee crowd at the Trop. That’s all it was. It was the same number of Yankee fans at any prime time Rays v Yankee game. It just was great because it wasn’t weekend game. My take is always that opposing fans are always welcome at the Trop as long as they are respectful. Florida (and specifically St Pete/Tampa) has always enjoyed a pretty special connection with New York and of course that is going to show in these games. But all in all it was the same number of Yankee fans that were at Game 162 and the one Yankee v Rays game that sold out last year. Rays fans had little or nothing to cheer about last night and at times Yankee fans sounded bigger than the 5-6k of them that were there. I started to see a lot of negative spewing from Yankee fans on Twitter and I think it’s important for any “real” conversation to have some context.

As I pointed out in a previous blog a Yankees – Rays game is no “slam dunk” when it comes to attendance. Of the 9 Yankee games at the Trop last year (6 of which being Fri, Sat or Sun games) only 2 had more fans than last night’s 28k. Only one sold out. In fact the average game missed a sellout by 10,600 tickets. Last night was not a typical night at the Trop. It was a fantastic crowd.

Also tonight’s attendance will be telling if it is about the same as Thursday night (or maybe even a little less). (Friday ended up 2,000 less at 26k and change but also up against a home Lightning Playoff game)


3) This thing has legs: Last night we got a few second on Sun Sports with Kelly Nash. She’s personally excited to see what “we” are doing. After basically being panned as a failure last year by the media I avoided them to a degree. Media exposure wasn’t selling tickets, it was the personal reach of folks like K&S Wholesale Tile’s Keith Lisenko and Ferman Auto Group’s Debby Loper & friends. Also my life has been crazy and I really didn’t have the time. Having said that the exposure on Sun Sports was great. We gained new followers, it reinforced what we are doing and it acknowledged our effort. As I’ve said countless times probably the greatest thing about Top Off The Trop is that our effort is quantifiable. We know exactly how many people attended on our offer and I hope we get to do it again. People are also getting familiar with what we are about. People like the St. Pete Chamber were on board and made a real effort to help us out. It felt amazing.

Isn’t it fair in the attendance conversation to talk total inventory?

Something I’ve never seen anyone do: the math when it comes to total ticket inventory each of our major league franchises truly has (roughly). The Lightning play 41 home games (capacity 19,204). Rays play 81 home games (capacity 31,042) and the Bucs play 8 home games (capacity 65,890).


When people always talk about the Lightning selling out I always want to talk about the additional ticket inventory the Rays actually have to move. The baseball season is a LONG LONG season but I think it’s only fair to put some of these conversations in context.


Total Inventory: 

Bolts: 41 x 19,204 = 787,364 tickets in a season

Bucs: 8 x 65,890 = 527,120 tickets in a season

Rays: 81 x 31,042 = 2,514,402 tickets in a season

Rays have more than 3X the ticket inventory than the Bolts and almost 5X the inventory to sell than the Bucs. But no one ever brings this up…



From Sold Out Trop to 11,000 in 24 Hours. Does it Matter?

I got a lot of texts/tweets last night from my Rays fan friends and friends who support other teams. How can you go from Sold Out on Opening Day to 11,000 people in less than 24 hours they asked? Some had even thought Tuesday was our Opening Day (“Can’t sell out Opening Day? Pathetic!”). I even got to take a typical dip in the Troll pool with this tweet:





I didn’t respond. It’s a fair point. The contrast from Opening Day looked TERRIBLE. On TV it looked worse BUT Truth be told we knew it was coming. Let’s implore some logic…I don’t care if it was the 2nd game of the season; it was a Tuesday night game against the Blue Jays. Yeah sure some of our Canadian friends are still waiting for their homes to thaw out and probably stuck around a little later this Spring to see their Jays play – but not enough to make a huge difference. This was never going to be a great turnout night. We have to crawl before we can walk but let’s not go crazy just yet because a Tuesday night Jays game drew 11k.



In the grand scheme of things Tuesdays/Wednesdays vs anything less than a top tier team (Yanks, Red Sox, Dodgers etc) are not going to be anything to write home about. In talking with some in the off season even Friday night games are going to become challenging to a degree within the context of attendance. SO when we first looked at the schedule we saw nothing but a rough start. Yeah it doesn’t help that the Lightning are in the playoffs. Yeah it doesn’t help that Tampa vs. St. Pete stadium talk has begun to isolate a few…BUT the real issue is a bit of that same old same old. Our Season Ticket base is small, and the Jays and Rangers don’t draw well at the Trop from visitors and those who have relocated to our region.



There is nothing wrong with looking at our attendance challenge strategically. That’s what we did this year with Top Off The Trop. We picked a game with broader appeal (Yankees) but it is still an off night (Thursday). We knew we’d open with the Jays / Rangers at home and than hit the road for 10 days. We are to a degree counting on some PENT UP DEMAND. My Point: We can still move the attendance needle and draw 11,000 against the Jays on a Tuesday night (I PROMISE). I know for a fact that many of our followers were SHOCKED to learn that in 9 games at the Trop last year vs. the Yanks the average game missed a Sell Out by 10,000 each night (AND 6 OF THOSE GAMES WERE WEEKEND DATES). So in my estimation a simple focus on Yanks, Sox and other high profile games could still pay a HUGE dividend in our attendance challenge.



Yeah it didn’t look good last night. Yes it’s a splash of cold water to the face to remind us our problems have not gone away. But it was just one game. Let’s continue to build support one fan at a time, one ticket at a time. Let’s get rid of the talk that divides and let’s unite over the biggest issue of all: Losing our team to another City. Montreal attracted nearly 100,000 baseball fans last week over a series of two exhibition games. Don’t think that didn’t send a message to MLB? 


Your business lacks budget…don’t let it stop you from supporting Top Off The Trop!

Just because your business can’t afford a night out at the Trop doesn’t mean YOU can’t help. 

1) Choose a group leader in your office (maybe it’s you or the biggest Rays fan in your office)

2) Use Social Media, Company E-mail, a signup sheet or Group Event software ( to organize a group.

3) Use resources such as PayPal to allow group leader to collect everyone’s ticket price (remember NO FEES!)

4) Place your order here and my Rays Ticket Representative will contact you IMMEDIATELY.

5) Enjoy Getting Behind the Rays and bringing a Surprise Sellout to the Trop!

TRUE or FALSE: It’s Yanks – Rays, of course it will sellout!

“It’s the Yankees at the Trop, of course it will sellout!” I’m starting to hear this one a lot since we are playing the Yankees for Top Off The Trop part duex on Thursday April 17th.

What if I told you that in the Rays 9 home games against the Yankees last year they only Sold Out ONCE. Would you believe me? Cause it’s true. And with a recent trend that has made Friday games a challenge to sellout in MLB you better believe that Thursday (without our help) vs. the Yanks will not be a sellout as well.

While I’m guilty of basing opinions without facts in my own life let me load your lips with reality. These were all taken from ESPN’s announced paid attendance from last year’s Rays vs Yanks games:

Tropicana Field Capacity (2013) – 34,078 (will be less this year after Rays 360° construction)

4/22 – 15,331 (Mon)
4/23 – 17,644 (Tues)
4/24 – 19,177 (Wed)

5/24 – 17.825 (Fri)
5/25 – 25,874 (Sat)
5/26 – 24,159 (Sun)

8/23 – 24,239 (Fri)
8/24 – 32,862 (Sat)
8/25 – 34,078 (Sun)

Average Yanks – Rays (@ the Trop) over all 9 games: 23,465 

Average Distance Per Game to Sellout: 10,613 (7,397 based on updated 2014 capacity)

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