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JB98
10-23-2012, 04:54 PM
Starting a second thread, so the results from today's conference call don't get buried in the other thread. Here are the discussion points:

1. Brooks opened the call by saying the ticket price reductions are merely a first step. There will be a number of other announcements coming this offseason as the organization hopes to connect further with the fans. Their goal is to create a greater atmosphere in the ballpark. Obviously, that means getting more fans in the stands. Brooks said the Sox are aware some fans aren't attending as many games as in the past because their circumstances have changed, and the hope is the team can reconnect with those fans. At the same time, they hope to connect with and create new fans as well.

2. With regard to the surveys many of you filled out, the Sox weren't surprised by the results. Brooks said there weren't any "Oh, wow" moments where something was brought up that they didn't expect to see. Rich Luker, the guy the Sox hired to help them do the research, said he had never seen a group of fans respond to a survey the way Sox fans did. There were over 400 pages worth of comments. The biggest surprise of the whole process was the amount of detail the fans provided. The organization is grateful for the feedback, and it hammered home a lot of areas where they need to approve. Brooks said the organization is motivated to address the problem areas.

3. Believe it or not, ticket prices and parking fees weren't the most talked about thing in the 400 pages worth of comments. Rather, fans discussed the commitment of time it takes to attend a Sox game. It is not real easy to get to the ballpark, especially for fans in the suburbs with traffic and all. Add on top of that, you might need to leave work early to a get to a weeknight game, and because baseball doesn't have a clock, there's no predictability about when the game will end. Because of the economy and other factors, people have changed their habits over the last four or five years. Brooks said coming to a Sox game has become like going to Great America for some people -- it's a once-in-a-summer kind of thing. Obviously, that's not what the organization wants. They need to change people's habits back, and they know pricing isn't the silver bullet to fix the problem. It's a combination of things to form a better connection with fans: Pricing, improving the ballpark experience, better broadcasts, more interaction between fans and players, etc.

4. With regard to the depth of the price cuts, they studied where they rank in MLB in terms of their pricing, and they determined they had the fourth-highest prices for bleachers and outfield seats in MLB. Way too high. At the same time, they were in the lower quarter or the lower third of MLB in terms of pricing in the prime seats in between the skins of the infield. They wanted to bring their prices back line with being around the 50 percentile mark for all of MLB.

5. With regard to the TV broadcasts, Brooks said too much is made of Hawk and Steve sitting so far apart from each other in the booth. Nobody should read anything into that because the space between the two is the result of electronic equipment, stacks of paper, etc. Brooks said both Hawk and Steve have had to make adjustments in order to make the broadcast better. There are three things the Sox want both the TV and radio broadcasts to do: 1) Teach the game, 2) Paint a picture and 3) Sell the experience. They want these guys to give the fans a feel for what is going on in the ballpark, both in the stands and on the field. They want people who are watching on TV or listening on the radio to realize the game is more fun when you're there in person. The Sox want the broadcasts to make you as a fan want to come to the ballpark more often.

6. The question about the Red Line being closed next season was posed, and Brooks noted the Green Line will remain operational as an option for those who desire to use public transportation. They are looking at possibly having a shuttle running to and from the 35th Street Green Line stop before and after games. Since it is only a couple blocks away, the Sox are also looking at ways to make sure it is safe and easy to walk those two blocks. JB98 makes that walk after every game and sees no reason for concern, but apparently it's an issue for some folks.

7. The surveying isn't done. The Sox are looking at everything from the moment we as fans step on the grounds of the ballpark, whether it's outside the stadium, the in-game experience, the in-between-innings entertainment, the music. All of these things are going to be looked at, and fan input will be sought. Brooks noted a lot of the stuff in between innings is sponsored, and they want to maximize the benefit the sponsors are getting. By no means do they want to have things the fans look upon as frivolous.

8. Concession prices for next year have not been addressed yet. Obviously, they compare what they are charging to other sports venues in town and work with the vendors to come up with the pricing. That step has not been taken yet for the 2013 season. As far as the merchandising, they've taken steps to make sure the pricing at Chicago Sports Depot and in the ballpark is competitive with "the guys down the street" and other retailers.

9. On the topic of dynamic pricing, Brooks said it wasn't a big issue in their study. He did note there were a number of fans who just wanted to know what the price was going to be. The response to that is the $20 tickets in the corner of the lower deck and the $7 tickets in the corner of the upper deck. Those prices are fixed for 78 of the 81 games, Opening Day and the two home games against the Cubs being the exception. He also said the Sox need to do a better job of communicating with the fans to make them understand prices don't always go up on the day of the game. Sometimes they do go down depending on the demand. They obviously don't want to be in a situation where the pricing always goes down, because then no one would ever buy a ticket early. Brooks said with the fixed pricing in the upper deck, you can now get a family of four into the ballpark (with parking included) for less than $50. They want to get more young fans into the ballpark, and there will be more youth-focused initiatives announced later in the offseason.

10. The prime and premier games are a thing of the past. There will be no more labeling of games. Everything is just going to be dynamically priced. A lot of fans didn't go to, say, the Yankees games because of the premier pricing. Brooks noted that the cheapest tickets were the ones that didn't sell for those games, which seems counterintuitive, but it's clear those labels dissuaded certain fans from attending certain games.

11. Brooks said the fan's attitude toward the on-field product has changed in a year's time. Coming off the 2011 season, there was a lot of discontent about the won-loss record. This year's survey didn't indicate anything of the sort. In fact, the survey showed winning was NOT the fans' top priority. Rather, people want a team that competes hard and represents the fan base. The survey showed that is more important than the winning and losing. Brooks acknowledged that some people might respond to that by thinking he's been spending too much time drinking in his office. He acknowledged that winning is very important, and it's the most important thing for some fans. However, factors beyond winning and losing are more important for more fans. Brooks added that doesn't mean there is going to be any shift in the goals of the baseball operations department. They know they need to win.

12. Some interesting comments about the advertising campaigns. Brooks said they knew they had no momentum coming off a 2011 season that was a disaster in every way. As a matter of fact, they had an Adam Dunn commercial that never aired that year because of his struggles at the plate. Because of the discontent with the team, they thought it would be very challenging to put the players out there in any sort of advertising campaign. They had the two Robin spots early in the season to re-introduce him to the market, and then they built the "Appreciate the Game" campaign around the fans. They hired Poptent to create four spots, and those are the television ads we all saw throughout the season. They didn't involve the players in any of those spots, but they believe having a winning year this season gives them a chance to have the players start talking to the fans again. People are pleased with what Robin has done with the team. You have a budding ace in Chris Sale, Dunn and Rios produced closer to career norms, etc. So, we will see the players become involved in the advertising campaigns again for 2013.

13. There was one other question about season-ticket holders and dynamic pricing. There remains a gap between the STH price and the individual game pricing. Brooks said on only the rarest occasions would a dynamically-priced ticket sell for less than the STH price. Obviously, they want to encourage people to buy season plans, and the best way to do that is to convince people the best value resides in the ST packages.

JB98
10-23-2012, 04:56 PM
I know there's a lot to digest there. The conference call ran longer than I expected. I'm sure there were things said that I didn't even include. If anyone has any questions about what was said, I'll try to answer them.

roylestillman
10-23-2012, 05:20 PM
I think it's kind of not correct to say that winning is not the most important thing. When you fill out surveys, it's pretty apparent that you're not doing it for people who are putting the team together on the field, so you tend to talk about the off field issues. That said it was interesting to hear that they realized what an absolute disaster 2011 was in terms of fans throwing in the towel. I am glad that he agrees that it's time to put the players front and center to reconnect with the fans. The more fans get to know about them, down to a personal level about their lives the more they'll care and follow them. Again, as I said before, use the Blackhawks model.

I still don't know what the obsession is with dynamic pricing. I noticed recently that it has spread to even theatre tickets. It's as though to have any credibility in the entertainment biz you have to talk dynamic pricing. Fool's gold pushed by a bunch of consultants.

MUsoxfan
10-23-2012, 05:42 PM
Thank you for the nice summary

skobabe8
10-23-2012, 05:45 PM
Thanks for sharing.

Brooks said a lot of good things. I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt about the 'winning is not the biggest priority' thing. Obviously he knows how much the fans want to win, and winning becomes a byproduct when the team plays hard and competes, like the fans said they want.

Lip Man 1
10-23-2012, 05:50 PM
JB:

Many thanks for stepping in and helping out today. VERY WELL DONE summery.

And I agree with what Royle stated. Winning is ALWAYS the most important thing for a franchise ask Kenny how he feels about that point LOL.

I understand where Brooks is coming from and it might simply be a matter of semantics they way he talked about it. Like Royle said there's always a certain segment that just wants to have fun, sit in the sun, drink a beer and if the Sox win, that's gravy...but for most fans it's about winning first, last, always in my opinion.

And Brooks understands that based on his comments. I think many who filled out the survey and made comments along the lines of winning not being the top priority are probably casual fans, for wont of a better word and I understand the Sox need them too.

Lip

JB98
10-23-2012, 06:10 PM
JB:

Many thanks for stepping in and helping out today. VERY WELL DONE summery.

And I agree with what Royle stated. Winning is ALWAYS the most important thing for a franchise ask Kenny how he feels about that point LOL.

I understand where Brooks is coming from and it might simply be a matter of semantics they way he talked about it. Like Royle said there's always a certain segment that just wants to have fun, sit in the sun, drink a beer and if the Sox win, that's gravy...but for most fans it's about winning first, last, always in my opinion.

And Brooks understands that based on his comments. I think many who filled out the survey and made comments along the lines of winning not being the top priority are probably casual fans, for wont of a better word and I understand the Sox need them too.

Lip

I think it is a matter of semantics. Hopefully, I explained Brooks' point correctly. He said that winning is very important to fans, and it is the most important thing to some fans.

Winning is the most important thing for me -- as it is for you, Lip -- and I'm sure it is the most important thing for many of our posters here at WSI. But there is a group of fans out there that do like the White Sox, but maybe don't live and die with every win and loss the way many of us do here. They need those folks in the stadium also.

I'd also point out that while the 2012 team ultimately did not win the division, watching this group was a breath of fresh air when compared to the misery of 2011. So, I think there's a chance a lot of the survey respondents indicated, "Hey, at least this team played hard and made me proud to be a Sox fan again. That wasn't the case last year." If a market researcher reads a comment like that, one possible interpretation is that playing hard and representing the fan base is extremely important and even more important than whether they won or lost.

When you think about it, it makes sense within the context of what has taken place here over the last couple years.

Daver
10-23-2012, 07:06 PM
Thanks for stepping up to be the voice of the site, I appreciate it.

Frater Perdurabo
10-23-2012, 07:22 PM
Most excellent reporting, JB. Thank you.

Brian26
10-23-2012, 07:23 PM
I'd also point out that while the 2012 team ultimately did not win the division, watching this group was a breath of fresh air when compared to the misery of 2011. So, I think there's a chance a lot of the survey respondents indicated, "Hey, at least this team played hard and made me proud to be a Sox fan again. That wasn't the case last year." If a market researcher reads a comment like that, one possible interpretation is that playing hard and representing the fan base is extremely important and even more important than whether they won or lost.

I took the survey, so I'm going by memory on this. There was a comments section at the end where people could add any thoughts, but earlier in the survey there was a very specific section of questioning where you ranked, from 1 to 10, the importance of (paraphrasing here) "the team winning, nothing else matters", "the team is very competitive and the ballpark experience is fun", "the food and ballpark experience is most important no matter what happens on the field", etc.

You can see how that middle comment above could have easily ranked highest.

Wedema
10-23-2012, 07:27 PM
JB, thanks for the recap.

JB98
10-23-2012, 07:31 PM
I took the survey, so I'm going by memory on this. There was a comments section at the end where people could add any thoughts, but earlier in the survey there was a very specific section of questioning where you ranked, from 1 to 10, the importance of (paraphrasing here) "the team winning, nothing else matters", "the team is very competitive and the ballpark experience is fun", "the food and ballpark experience is most important no matter what happens on the field", etc.

You can see how that middle comment above could have easily ranked highest.

Good point. Thanks for adding that. The way the survey is designed and worded obviously has a big impact on the results.

Brian26
10-23-2012, 07:32 PM
The one comment that is a head-scratcher is the shuttle buses from the park to the Green Line station. I'm assuming anyone taking public transportation needs to walk at least three blocks to get home AFTER they get off the train, so I'm not sure why the three blocks to get there BEFORE they get on the train is a struggle. It's not that far.

kobo
10-23-2012, 07:37 PM
5. With regard to the TV broadcasts, Brooks said too much is made of Hawk and Steve sitting so far apart from each other in the booth. Nobody should read anything into that because the space between the two is the result of electronic equipment, stacks of paper, etc. Brooks said both Hawk and Steve have had to make adjustments in order to make the broadcast better. There are three things the Sox want both the TV and radio broadcasts to do: 1) Teach the game, 2) Paint a picture and 3) Sell the experience. They want these guys to give the fans a feel for what is going on in the ballpark, both in the stands and on the field. They want people who are watching on TV or listening on the radio to realize the game is more fun when you're there in person. The Sox want the broadcasts to make you as a fan want to come to the ballpark more often.

Then they need to hire new Play by Play guys. Neither Farmer or Hawk do any of the 3 things mentioned. Farmer maybe a bit moreso than Hawk, but that's only in regards to teaching the game. Hawk, for all his passion for the Sox, just does not come across as a teacher and definitely does not paint a picture. He's the complete opposite. I'm not trying to upset anyone here, but if the organization seriously wants the broadcasting teams do these things then changes need to be made.

fisk4ever
10-23-2012, 07:40 PM
Thanks, JB.
#3---about the time commitment. We live downstate, and the time commitment is as much of a factor as the cost. We used to go several times a year and stay overnight, but hotel costs are too high now, so it's up and back the same day. Not much Brooks can do about that--unless there are ticket/hotel deals and they'd have to be signifcant deals. Shorter games would help. Understandably, we are not the target market, though.

kobo
10-23-2012, 07:41 PM
The one comment that is a head-scratcher is the shuttle buses from the park to the Green Line station. I'm assuming anyone taking public transportation needs to walk at least three blocks to get home AFTER they get off the train, so I'm not sure why the three blocks to get there BEFORE they get on the train is a struggle. It's not that far.
It goes back to the perception that the area and neighborhood are 'bad'. We all know the area is safe but there are still plenty of casual fans and non-fans who think that if you walk outside of a 1 block radius of the park you'll be mugged or beat up or shot. The Sox really do need to try and do something to change the perception of the area surrounding the park.

ChicagoG19
10-23-2012, 08:04 PM
3. Believe it or not, ticket prices and parking fees weren't the most talked about thing in the 400 pages worth of comments. Rather, fans discussed the commitment of time it takes to attend a Sox game. It is not real easy to get to the ballpark, especially for fans in the suburbs with traffic and all. Add on top of that, you might need to leave work early to a get to a weeknight game, and because baseball doesn't have a clock, there's no predictability about when the game will end. Because of the economy and other factors, people have changed their habits over the last four or five years. Brooks said coming to a Sox game has become like going to Great America for some people -- it's a once-in-a-summer kind of thing. Obviously, that's not what the organization wants. They need to change people's habits back, and they know pricing isn't the silver bullet to fix the problem. It's a combination of things to form a better connection with fans: Pricing, improving the ballpark experience, better broadcasts, more interaction between fans and players, etc.



I realize this is wishful thinking and a reversal of a 60-year trend, but I hope during my lifetime we see a renaissance on the Southside, and middle/lower upper-class residents populate not only Bridgeport, but the neighborhoods around Bridgeport as well. I am not talking about just about the yuppie types, but families with some disposable income to more games without the time commitment being a factor because they live in the area.

JB98
10-23-2012, 08:04 PM
The one comment that is a head-scratcher is the shuttle buses from the park to the Green Line station. I'm assuming anyone taking public transportation needs to walk at least three blocks to get home AFTER they get off the train, so I'm not sure why the three blocks to get there BEFORE they get on the train is a struggle. It's not that far.

That gave me pause, too. Like I said in my initial post, I make that walk after every game I attend. The only time I'm dissuaded from walking down to the Green Line is if it is raining, in which case I'll join the masses cramming into the Red Line station.

I guess what it comes down to is the Sox need to increase the reasons for people to come to the ballpark, while at the same time taking away some of the excuses people make. "I don't want to walk to the Green Line" seems like a lame excuse to me -- unless you're handicapped -- but you can bet there will be people out there saying that out of pure laziness, irrational fear of the neighborhood or some other silly reason.

JB98
10-23-2012, 08:07 PM
Then they need to hire new Play by Play guys. Neither Farmer or Hawk do any of the 3 things mentioned. Farmer maybe a bit moreso than Hawk, but that's only in regards to teaching the game. Hawk, for all his passion for the Sox, just does not come across as a teacher and definitely does not paint a picture. He's the complete opposite. I'm not trying to upset anyone here, but if the organization seriously wants the broadcasting teams do these things then changes need to be made.

Even though Brooks hasn't specifically said it, I feel like he's implied the Sox broadcasters need to do a better job of those three things. It's not clear if or how the issue is being addressed.

Harry Potter
10-23-2012, 08:24 PM
Jason - thanks for providing a very detailed recap - much appreciated.

8. Concession prices. That's a very interesting topic because some stadiums offer a STH discount on food at select concession stands. I was at a Braves game this past summer and noticed this. While it's not a priority on my list (there are many Sox games I attend in which I don't eat anything), it's an interesting perk I wonder if the Sox have considered.

SoxThunder
10-23-2012, 09:28 PM
Here are my suggestions to improve the ballpark experience:

1. Hire friendly, personable guest services staff. I know these are low-paying jobs, but why do these people have to just stand there like statues and never smile? The lowest moment that I witnessed was last year when an older gentleman tripped and fell down several stairs at the Gate 5 exit. All the guest services people just stood there and watched, silently holding their "thank you, fans" signs. For goodnes sakes, help the man up and help gather his belongings! Does this really require training?


2. Offer free wifi at the Cell. Some of the diehards might hate this and say, "watch the game and put away the smartphones!" But face it...younger fans love posting pictures on Facebook during the game, tweeting, or watching in-game stats/replays on MLB At Bat app. My Internet browser (Verizon iPhone) almost never works when I'm at the Cell. Maybe US Cellular does this on purpose to make you think about changing cell phone carriers! The Sox should give incentives/prizes to people who "check in" on Facebook, Yelp or other social media. You can create that "buzz" if you're constantly seeing your friends "checked in" at the ballpark. Seeing this on your newsfeed makes you wish you were where the action is.


3. Have the in-game entertainment be more fan interactive. For example, ask trivia questions about Sox history or trivia about what the correct umpire ruling would be in an odd situation. Fans could text their response and the first 10 people to get it right would get a text response: "Correct! Please proceed to guest relations to get 2 ticket vouchers." Or whatever...be creative. Just please, no more horrible fan dancing on the dugouts.


4. Lastly, (going along with the idea of making the broadcast more "educational"), make the pregame experience educational as well...especially for kids. Have Bulls/Sox training academy coaches host mini training sessions to teach kids how to run bases, how to bunt, how to field, how to throw, hitting off a tee, etc. Do this with wiffle or tennis balls to reduce injuries if necessary. Make use of the fields and grass at beautiful Armour Square Park. People love baseball more (and go to more games) if they appreciate the fine details and fundamentals of the game. I know they have the Fundamentals deck in the park, but there's not much space there.

Lip Man 1
10-23-2012, 09:42 PM
Thunder:

They do have This Day In Sox History feature (sometimes with video) and ask questions about the franchise on the scoreboard, I've seen it.

Lip

SoxThunder
10-23-2012, 09:58 PM
Thunder:

They do have This Day In Sox History feature (sometimes with video) and ask questions about the franchise on the scoreboard, I've seen it.

Lip

Yeah, I know. I just think it'd be better and more interactive if you could text and submit your answers and win prizes while at the park.

My main point is...a large percentage of fans now have smartphones that they're holding all game. Make them "active participants" with the in game experience as much as possible.

fisk4ever
10-23-2012, 10:37 PM
Even though Brooks hasn't specifically said it, I feel like he's implied the Sox broadcasters need to do a better job of those three things. It's not clear if or how the issue is being addressed.

Many have commented on the radio guys not giving the score often enough. Seems easy enough to solve that one.

ws05champs
10-24-2012, 12:18 AM
Interesting about how high time commitment ranked. I live in Elmhurst and that was a major factor for me giving up my season ticket. It just sucks when you are coming home from a night game and are stuck in a traffic jam on the Eisenhower at 11 P.M. While there is nothing the Sox can do about that, how about more PACE buses to the ballpark or making getting out of the parking lots more efficient. Also it is aggravating after spending more than an hour to get to the game, having some parking lot attendant give ambiguous directions and then getting verbally abused by some other moron parking lot attendant at the other end.

As far as concessions and customer service go, it sure would be nice if the concessions people were a bit faster. It seems like getting anything requires the sacrifice of at least a half inning. I doubt if McDonald's would put up with how slow and inefficient the concessions staff is at the park.

dickallen15
10-24-2012, 03:17 AM
I don't know how they are going to deal with the time factor, most of that is out of their control. As someone wh lives on the near north side, I can tell you it takes significantly more time to get to the games and get home on the Red Line these days than it did 5 years ago, and I only go to Clark/Division. I went from Jackson to Howard this past afternoon on the Red Line and that project they finished a couple of years ago is already one big slow zone. the trip took 70 minutes. It makes me wonder how long the Red Line on the south side will be running at decent speed once it is "fixed". Probably less than 2 years.

Martinigirl
10-24-2012, 04:58 AM
This is a stupid little thing but I would think of it every winter before Opening Day. Why not have a countdown on the board that faces the Ryan? Give people a little hope for summer while driving in slush and freezing. Build excitement before the season.

My mother said they did that decades ago and I have always questioned why they stopped.

spawn
10-24-2012, 07:31 AM
Thanks JB for the recap. Nicely done! :thumbsup:

DeadMoney
10-24-2012, 09:00 AM
1. Hire friendly, personable guest services staff. I know these are low-paying jobs, but why do these people have to just stand there like statues and never smile? The lowest moment that I witnessed was last year when an older gentleman tripped and fell down several stairs at the Gate 5 exit. All the guest services people just stood there and watched, silently holding their "thank you, fans" signs. For goodnes sakes, help the man up and help gather his belongings! Does this really require training?


This is a big thing in my mind. Go to other parks around the country and normally you'll find older (possible retired, or semi-retired) people ushering people in the seats. This year alone, I was to St. Louis, Seattle, and Los Angeles (NL) and the ushers were so friendly and so accommodating even though we were there cheering for the visiting team. Interestingly enough, when it comes to friendly/accommodating ushers, the same thing can be said for most of the ~25 parks I've been to.

Let's face it, a lot of people nationally think the worst of our ballpark - and the 'Southside of Chicago'. When people who support other teams come in to our park, having a friendly staff (from ticket takers to ushers to concession people) would probably go a long way towards changing that perception. Unfortunately, I know the concession people are the same people we get at every other venue in this city so that probably won't change, but the rest of the service staff at the park could use a major upgrade.

doublem23
10-24-2012, 09:37 AM
Sox are limited to who they can hire for in-stadium staff, IIRC, due to a deal made when the new park was built, they have to be from local neighborhoods. Trade off, I suppose, to allow the Sox to further destroy their neighborhood.

beasly213
10-24-2012, 10:39 AM
Sox are limited to who they can hire for in-stadium staff, IIRC, due to a deal made when the new park was built, they have to be from local neighborhoods. Trade off, I suppose, to allow the Sox to further destroy their neighborhood.

I've never had much of an issue with ushers at the park. For the most part they are quiet and if I ever had a question they were always able to point me where I needed to go.

The people in the gift shops have also always been nice. As far as the food stand workers.. yeah they're not the happiest people in the world but honestly I don't know why people who are buying a burger and a beer at a ball game want to be treated like they're spending $200 on a steak dinner at a restaurant downtown.

These people aren't making a lot of money and while I've never been blown away with how nice they are I've also never thought to myself "Man he/she is a real jerk."

mrfourni
10-24-2012, 10:49 AM
I've never had much of an issue with ushers at the park. For the most part they are quiet and if I ever had a question they were always able to point me where I needed to go.

The people in the gift shops have also always been nice. As far as the food stand workers.. yeah they're not the happiest people in the world but honestly I don't know why people who are buying a burger and a beer at a ball game want to be treated like they're spending $200 on a steak dinner at a restaurant downtown.

These people aren't making a lot of money and while I've never been blown away with how nice they are I've also never thought to myself "Man he/she is a real jerk."

I've never had a problem with the concession people not being courteous, but I have with how slow the entire process of ordering something can be. Like someone mentioned, during a busy game, you typically sacrifice an entire inning to go to the concession stands and order a beer.

doublem23
10-24-2012, 10:59 AM
I've never had much of an issue with ushers at the park. For the most part they are quiet and if I ever had a question they were always able to point me where I needed to go.

The people in the gift shops have also always been nice. As far as the food stand workers.. yeah they're not the happiest people in the world but honestly I don't know why people who are buying a burger and a beer at a ball game want to be treated like they're spending $200 on a steak dinner at a restaurant downtown.

These people aren't making a lot of money and while I've never been blown away with how nice they are I've also never thought to myself "Man he/she is a real jerk."

This pretty much mirrors my experience, too, although, I do admit that if I'm going to eat at the park, I try and get there a little bit earlier and beat the lines. So maybe after serving people for a few hours they get worse?

This summer I was able to go to Miller Park, Coors Field, and Nationals Park. Felt that the experience at each park was basically what I get at the Cell. Good experiences all around.

TheVulture
10-24-2012, 11:40 AM
I kind of agree with the winning isn't everything idea. Would you rather spend the summer watching the 1990 White Sox, or the 2008 White Sox?

Lip Man 1
10-24-2012, 11:53 AM
Considering the 08 club won 89 games and made the post season and the 90 club won 94 games, my answer is both.

Lip

ws05champs
10-24-2012, 11:59 AM
Sox are limited to who they can hire for in-stadium staff, IIRC, due to a deal made when the new park was built, they have to be from local neighborhoods. Trade off, I suppose, to allow the Sox to further destroy their neighborhood.
I don't put the reason for the slowness of ordering food solely on the staff itself. It is a minimum-wage, part-time job and it's not going to attract world beaters. I do put the blame for the slowness on the ordering/preparation/delivery process and how the staff is trained and motivated. This is something totally under the control of Sox management.

As far as the staff in general, I have found them for the most part friendly and welcoming.

Jerko
10-24-2012, 12:00 PM
Ok most of this is non-baseball related, but here are a few things they can change IMO to make Sox games a more pleasurable experience.

Ushers: Having one in every section, and having them work the same area of the park every game, might make them a little more "on the ball" so to speak. I know a few of these guys because I usually stand on the concourse, and without their little guide book, they're lost; even for something as simple as where certain stands are located throughout the park. Nice guys; not really trained properly IMO.

Concession workers/lines, etc: Yes, this seems to be the "nastiest" group of non-baseball related workers in the park, but I kind of see their angst. On a typical day these past few years, very few stands are open and everyone is funnelled to the fan deck. So, they are busier than most others, and that also makes for long lines since everyone is at the same damn stand. Open ALL the stands, Sox.

Driving/parking: I don't have to drive to games but for those that do, it's a circle jerk. Every lot should have cash spots available. IIRC only two lots accept cash, and you never know which entrance is open or not. Lot G in particular is a pain in the ass because if the gate on 33rd street is closed, you can only access it via 35th street going north on Normal. If you get to 33rd and try to take Normal going south, a cul de sac cuts you off before you reach the lot opening. If it's a crowded day, and you don't know exactly what lot to go to as you leave the house, it takes FOREVER to negotiate the few blocks needed until you reach the cash lot. Also, the cash lot to the south of 37th street is about 30 miles away from the park, and if you park there you are greeted by the two most inept and ignorant traffic management people in the city's history. Nobody wants to deal with that crap after a good drive and a 20 minute, 3 block trip to the correct lot. Make cash parking available in all lots.

Bathrooms: Yes the bathrooms are nice and spacious, but when it's crowded, forget it. You'll miss a good 2 innings but there's really nothing you can do about it.

Upper deck policy: I'm one of the few that actually agrees with this policy, but I can see it being a turn-off for some. As an old RF season ticket holder in the days before that policy though, I think it's a godsend. If people complain about the lines at the concession stands and bathrooms now, it's a piece of cake compared to the pre-policy days. I used to go UPSTAIRS to get food and hit the head, and I haven't seen anybody piss in a sink since the policy has been implemented. Yes we want bigger crowds, but not all in the same john.

Handicap acessible areas/seating: I think the Sox could do more to make their disabled guests more comfortable. Right now, they keep the area between the last row of seats and the plastic chain that fronts the concourse open for wheelchair bound patrons, but the people with them have to sit on 30 year old 2 foot wide chairs that look like they came from the Chicago Ampitheater after Dick the Bruiser's last match. Very uncomfortable. I don't know what they can do, but at the very least, update the damn chairs.

Family area: Again, the park is already built, but I think there should be a family section. Too often I've seen the "guy who just wants to down a few beers" vs the "don't say poo in front of my little Johhny" scenario play out. Yes people like to drink at games, and yes people like to bring their kids to games without getting a beer bath or sitting near obnoxious idiots.

As for the "baseball isn't a timed game" thing, well, it never has been, so I don't buy that. Baseball has never had a clock, and there have always been night games since the advent of lights, so I don't buy that as an "excuse" not to attend. It's not like this just became an untimed game.

Now I must say, I can go to a game, stand in my spot, have my beer brought to me by our vendor, and enjoy myself like that, but not everybody is me.

Over By There
10-24-2012, 12:35 PM
Great recap, JB - thanks.

2. Offer free wifi at the Cell. Some of the diehards might hate this and say, "watch the game and put away the smartphones!" But face it...younger fans love posting pictures on Facebook during the game, tweeting, or watching in-game stats/replays on MLB At Bat app. My Internet browser (Verizon iPhone) almost never works when I'm at the Cell. Maybe US Cellular does this on purpose to make you think about changing cell phone carriers! The Sox should give incentives/prizes to people who "check in" on Facebook, Yelp or other social media. You can create that "buzz" if you're constantly seeing your friends "checked in" at the ballpark. Seeing this on your newsfeed makes you wish you were where the action is.[/FONT]


This is an interesting one. I've definitely noticed that cellular service is slow to non-existent at the Cell. We only made it to one game last year (hey, I live 1,000 miles away), but while we were there my wife wanted to "check in" and post a picture of our family at the park on Facebook. She had lots of difficulty doing so. At first I thought, no big deal, the game is most important. But the post above brings up a good point - if a casual fan's Facebook feed is filled up with pictures of friends having a great time at the park - eating a churro, kids playing at Fundamentals or posing with Southpaw - they might be more inclined to buy some tickets themselves.

doublem23
10-24-2012, 12:41 PM
As for the "baseball isn't a timed game" thing, well, it never has been, so I don't buy that. Baseball has never had a clock, and there have always been night games since the advent of lights, so I don't buy that as an "excuse" not to attend. It's not like this just became an untimed game.

Yes, but the length of a game has increased over the years due to more offense and bullpen specialization.

Jerko
10-24-2012, 12:45 PM
They have free Wifi there but it is slow. Boingo hotspot.

WhiffleBall
10-24-2012, 12:48 PM
Great recap, JB - thanks.



This is an interesting one. I've definitely noticed that cellular service is slow to non-existent at the Cell. We only made it to one game last year (hey, I live 1,000 miles away), but while we were there my wife wanted to "check in" and post a picture of our family at the park on Facebook. She had lots of difficulty doing so. At first I thought, no big deal, the game is most important. But the post above brings up a good point - if a casual fan's Facebook feed is filled up with pictures of friends having a great time at the park - eating a churro, kids playing at Fundamentals or posing with Southpaw - they might be more inclined to buy some tickets themselves.

Didn't they offer free Wi-Fi this year?

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-04-12/business/chi-white-sox-roll-out-wifi-at-us-cellular-field-20120412_1_wi-fi-boingo-wireless-white-sox-roll

Over By There
10-24-2012, 12:52 PM
I don't know how they are going to deal with the time factor, most of that is out of their control.

I call bull. They could've re-signed Buehrle.

:redneck

bunkaroo
10-24-2012, 01:14 PM
Didn't they offer free Wi-Fi this year?

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-04-12/business/chi-white-sox-roll-out-wifi-at-us-cellular-field-20120412_1_wi-fi-boingo-wireless-white-sox-roll

Well, sort of. It's a pain in the ass to use. If you're not using it continuously you have keep accepting the terms. Every 1/2 inning break I'd take my phone out and have to do the same thing to get on. Kind of a deterrent.

Thankfully the last couple games I went to this year I had my new iPhone on AT&T LTE and I could actually do stuff on the internet as opposed to when I was on 3G.

SoxThunder
10-24-2012, 01:16 PM
They have free Wifi there but it is slow. Oingo Boingo hotspot.

I've tried using this Wifi at the Cell, but it never works. The Sox should copy what the D-backs did at Chase Field...looks very cool: http://arizona.diamondbacks.mlb.com/content/printer_friendly/ari/y2011/m04/d22/c18115394.jsp

If fans have reliable Wifi service at the ballpark, there could be so many cool social media fan interactions. Think about the possibilities: During pregame autographs, a fan gets his/her picture taken with Gordon Beckham, tags @whitesox and @gordonbeckham, and uploads it to Twitter/Facebook. Everyone sees the picture in their newsfeeds and this makes them wish they were at the ballpark to "get in on the action". (Let's face it...Facebook has become a way to show off to all your friends all the cool places you've been.) By doing this, the players would get more "followers" and get a larger audience to tweet to. During the game (between innings), the Sox could show some of the tagged "fan pictures of the game" and show them on the scoreboard. This would get people to do creative stuff just to get their pictures on the scoreboard: dress their whole family up in Sox gear, make creative signs, take tailgating pictures, get their pic with Southpaw, etc. This creates that "buzz" feeling and also makes the fan feel like a contributing part of the White Sox family and the game experience.

Harry Potter
10-24-2012, 01:23 PM
Driving/parking: I don't have to drive to games but for those that do, it's a circle jerk. Every lot should have cash spots available. IIRC only two lots accept cash, and you never know which entrance is open or not. Lot G in particular is a pain in the ass because if the gate on 33rd street is closed, you can only access it via 35th street going north on Normal. If you get to 33rd and try to take Normal going south, a cul de sac cuts you off before you reach the lot opening. If it's a crowded day, and you don't know exactly what lot to go to as you leave the house, it takes FOREVER to negotiate the few blocks needed until you reach the cash lot. Also, the cash lot to the south of 37th street is about 30 miles away from the park, and if you park there you are greeted by the two most inept and ignorant traffic management people in the city's history. Nobody wants to deal with that crap after a good drive and a 20 minute, 3 block trip to the correct lot. Make cash parking available in all lots.

I'm in the other camp. As a season ticket holder, I enjoy knowing that for the most part, Lots A and B are season ticket holder only. I thought Lot C and Lot E/F takes cash daily in addition to Lot G.

Especially if I leave work late for a weeknight game - it's nice to have a season ticket holder lot to park in.

Now that's not to say they can't improve traffic flow for the cash lots - that's a whole other discussion.

SoxThunder
10-24-2012, 01:28 PM
Also, I've found that my wife becomes more interested in the White Sox baseball when she's able to better "connect" with the players by knowing a bit more about their off-the-field personalities. We loved it when Beckham did that impersonation of Peavy this summer (talking in a tough, southern hick voice). It showed some of the players' character and made the players more likeable.

ChiSoxGal85
10-24-2012, 01:43 PM
I've tried using this Wifi at the Cell, but it never works. The Sox should copy what the D-backs did at Chase Field...looks very cool: http://arizona.diamondbacks.mlb.com/content/printer_friendly/ari/y2011/m04/d22/c18115394.jsp

If fans have reliable Wifi service at the ballpark, there could be so many cool social media fan interactions. Think about the possibilities: During pregame autographs, a fan gets his/her picture taken with Gordon Beckham, tags @whitesox and @gordonbeckham, and uploads it to Twitter/Facebook. Everyone sees the picture in their newsfeeds and this makes them wish they were at the ballpark to "get in on the action". (Let's face it...Facebook has become a way to show off to all your friends all the cool places you've been.) By doing this, the players would get more "followers" and get a larger audience to tweet to. During the game (between innings), the Sox could show some of the tagged "fan pictures of the game" and show them on the scoreboard. This would get people to do creative stuff just to get their pictures on the scoreboard: dress their whole family up in Sox gear, make creative signs, take tailgating pictures, get their pic with Southpaw, etc. This creates that "buzz" feeling and also makes the fan feel like a contributing part of the White Sox family and the game experience.
I agree 100% with this; the Dbacks setup looks great. Social media is the way to go - the more people tweet/FB post/ or whatever their media preference is, the better. Once a wifi network is in place that could handle a full stadium, I'd love to see between-inning tweet or text message contests, with White Sox giveaways. I was able to win Sox Tweet Seats once in 2010, which I thought was really cool.

I've given up on trying to use the Boing wifi, it was pretty much useless this season.

doogiec
10-24-2012, 01:49 PM
Ok most of this is non-baseball related, but here are a few things they can change IMO to make Sox games a more pleasurable experience.

Ushers: Having one in every section, and having them work the same area of the park every game, might make them a little more "on the ball" so to speak. I know a few of these guys because I usually stand on the concourse, and without their little guide book, they're lost; even for something as simple as where certain stands are located throughout the park. Nice guys; not really trained properly IMO.




I'm definitely with you on the usher point.

I've been to a lot of different parks over the years, and USCF is the only one that doesn't seem to want to bother with ushers. Using Detroit as an example, every time I've gone there the ushers check the ticket, and offer to show you where the seats are. Other ballparks are the same.

I sat in premium lower deck seats about 20 times last year. Not ONCE did anyone check my ticket when walking in, much less say anything to me. And the constant routine of people showing up for their seats after the game started, either needing to kick out the people who had stolen the seats earlier, with those people moving to other open seats, over and over again blocking the game gets tiresome.

The last game I attended someone with an aisle seat started smoking. Not just smoking, but intentionally blowing the smoke behind him. I was going to say something, but saw the usher walking toward him. She just kept on walking, and didn't say anything until another fan grabbed her and told her to take care of it.

If they want to charge for the premium seats what other teams charge for premium seats, they need to consider the entire experience, not just the seat location.

Foulke You
10-24-2012, 02:25 PM
I agree 100% with this; the Dbacks setup looks great. Social media is the way to go - the more people tweet/FB post/ or whatever their media preference is, the better. Once a wifi network is in place that could handle a full stadium, I'd love to see between-inning tweet or text message contests, with White Sox giveaways. I was able to win Sox Tweet Seats once in 2010, which I thought was really cool.

I've given up on trying to use the Boing wifi, it was pretty much useless this season.
I also had no luck connecting to the Boing wifi hotspot as well. 4G coverage in the ballpark is also pretty much non-existent. Social media interaction is huge for many younger fans, casual fans, and ESPECIALLY female fans. My wife always expresses her disappointment that her photos/check-ins don't upload until after the Sox game is long over. It's a big deal to a lot of people to be able to do use sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tout, etc. during a ballgame. I sat behind a group of girls in the bleachers who took their pictures after the Sox beat the Tigers in September and they each spent 5 min trying to upload the photo to no avail. I had to explain to them that US Cellular Field is a black hole for cell phone coverage. The Sox need to understand that people want to interact with their friends, brag that they are at the game, etc. As others have pointed out, it is FREE MARKETING for the team when fans check into YOUR product and post pictures from YOUR ballpark. The Sox seem to be slow in recognizing its importance in today's marketplace.

Jerko
10-24-2012, 02:46 PM
I'm in the other camp. As a season ticket holder, I enjoy knowing that for the most part, Lots A and B are season ticket holder only. I thought Lot C and Lot E/F takes cash daily in addition to Lot G.

Especially if I leave work late for a weeknight game - it's nice to have a season ticket holder lot to park in.

Now that's not to say they can't improve traffic flow for the cash lots - that's a whole other discussion.

Good points.

Jerko
10-24-2012, 02:51 PM
I also had no luck connecting to the Boing wifi hotspot as well. 4G coverage in the ballpark is also pretty much non-existent. Social media interaction is huge for many younger fans, casual fans, and ESPECIALLY female fans. My wife always expresses her disappointment that her photos/check-ins don't upload until after the Sox game is long over. It's a big deal to a lot of people to be able to do use sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tout, etc. during a ballgame. I sat behind a group of girls in the bleachers who took their pictures after the Sox beat the Tigers in September and they each spent 5 min trying to upload the photo to no avail. I had to explain to them that US Cellular Field is a black hole for cell phone coverage. The Sox need to understand that people want to interact with their friends, brag that they are at the game, etc. As others have pointed out, it is FREE MARKETING for the team when fans check into YOUR product and post pictures from YOUR ballpark. The Sox seem to be slow in recognizing its importance in today's marketplace.

Closer to the end of the season, if I ignored the wifi and used the 4g it seemed to work on the first shot. I was at Bacardi a few Sundays ago, and there was free wifi in there (their own, not the Boingo), and it worked like a charm. I'm not a wifi expert by any means, but maybe by next season that will be improved?

doublem23
10-24-2012, 03:10 PM
I have Verizon and I never had any problems with my 4G inside the park at any game I attended.

keloms
10-24-2012, 04:23 PM
13. There was one other question about season-ticket holders and dynamic pricing. There remains a gap between the STH price and the individual game pricing. Brooks said on only the rarest occasions would a dynamically-priced ticket sell for less than the STH price. Obviously, they want to encourage people to buy season plans, and the best way to do that is to convince people the best value resides in the ST packages.

If im not mistaken, I saw that the new $20 tickets were going to be $1701 for a full season plan which averages out to $21 a game. Unless we're the Cubs and opening day games are 3-4 times the standard price, there's very little value in that.

tstrike2000
10-24-2012, 06:00 PM
I know there's a lot to digest there. The conference call ran longer than I expected. I'm sure there were things said that I didn't even include. If anyone has any questions about what was said, I'll try to answer them.

Nice work, Sir, in summarizing it for us.

palehosepub
10-24-2012, 09:22 PM
If im not mistaken, I saw that the new $20 tickets were going to be $1701 for a full season plan which averages out to $21 a game. Unless we're the Cubs and opening day games are 3-4 times the standard price, there's very little value in that.

I think its about seat loacation the best lower deck reserved seats will average $21 and the $20 daily seats will be in the corners. Plus other season ticket benefits......

WhiteSox5187
10-24-2012, 10:17 PM
I have Verizon and I never had any problems with my 4G inside the park at any game I attended.

I have Version but I don't have 4G and I can NEVER connect to a wifi network in the park.

Chez
10-25-2012, 02:47 PM
JB:

Thanks for the excellent summary. One question about the survey -- how did they choose the group that was surveyed? Did they only survey fans who were already at the park or who were frequent ticket purchasers, or did they also include fans or potential fans who didn't go to many (or any) games? I hope they included a representative sample from the latter group.

fisk4ever
10-25-2012, 03:27 PM
JB:

Thanks for the excellent summary. One question about the survey -- how did they choose the group that was surveyed? Did they only survey fans who were already at the park or who were frequent ticket purchasers, or did they also include fans or potential fans who didn't go to many (or any) games? I hope they included a representative sample from the latter group.
I only go to a few games a year and I got the survey.

mrfourni
10-25-2012, 03:28 PM
JB:

Thanks for the excellent summary. One question about the survey -- how did they choose the group that was surveyed? Did they only survey fans who were already at the park or who were frequent ticket purchasers, or did they also include fans or potential fans who didn't go to many (or any) games? I hope they included a representative sample from the latter group.

It was an online survey. I was sent an e-mail asking me to complete. I also remember the Sox advertising the survey on their television broadcasts.

JB98
10-25-2012, 05:44 PM
JB:

Thanks for the excellent summary. One question about the survey -- how did they choose the group that was surveyed? Did they only survey fans who were already at the park or who were frequent ticket purchasers, or did they also include fans or potential fans who didn't go to many (or any) games? I hope they included a representative sample from the latter group.

They gave 8,000 surveys to fans, all of whom bought tickets during the 2010 or 2011 season. They specifically tried to target people who were going to the ballpark less (or not at all) during the 2012 campaign.

If my understanding is correct, they did not survey any current STH. And by STH, I mean people who had either one of the 27-game plans or the full 81 games. As you might expect, the survey wasn't about finding out what the STH think. They targeted people who aren't buying as many tickets lately to find out the reasons why.

JB98
10-25-2012, 05:45 PM
It was an online survey. I was sent an e-mail asking me to complete. I also remember the Sox advertising the survey on their television broadcasts.

I don't think that was the same survey. This one was specifically targeted to certain people. It wasn't open to just anyone watching on TV. That would have skewed the results.