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View Full Version : Sox Attendance Down 7%


CiscoCarlos
05-10-2003, 07:16 AM
Normally when a team hosts an All-Star game season ticket sales are given a significant boost and sales in the early month of the season are up. Not this year.

USA Today on Friday charted individual baseball attendance to date this year and reported that the Sox are down 7% year over year: 18,762 in 2002 to 17,368 so far this year. The Cubs are way up: 28,352 in 2002 to 32,513 so far this year.

Overall baseball attendance is down 6%--second year in a row for a steep decline, with other sports such as basketball and football once again showing little or no decline.

There's the usual lame excuses available: bad weather, bad economy, so-so start, but my guess is in the specific case of the White Sox the fan on the field incident didn't help, nor did the renaming of Comiskey. But more importantly, it shows what a bust the Sox completely uninspired marketing efforts surrounding the All Star game were.

So, once again Jerry's Pale Hose are in the bottom third of attendance--even further down because Kansas City has passed us up--despite being in a major market. While Reinsdorf often derides the ambiance of Sox games when they were owned by his predecessor, if I recall correctly the Sox averaged in the upper half of baseball attendance during the Veeck years (1976-80)though their on field performance was generally weak. Since the ball strike of the mid 90s they are routinely in the bottom third of attendance--a key measurement of any performance standard for a baseball owner.

duke of dorwood
05-10-2003, 07:27 AM
As nice as the park is, and I love it, it just costs too much for Sox fans, who are not affluent North Side or North Suburb people, to go. Parking is more than an upper deck bad ticket. That is ridiculous. We have had 3 people in our family lose jobs this year, and lots of people are enduring lay offs and pay cuts. A marketing gem would be free parking. Half price Mondays? Going out on Monday night is not desireable. And its amateur night, went to 4 of those, and its lots of punks. 1.00 hot dog thursdays? I'd rather park free and those are getaway days. What happened to ladies night? KIDS DAY IS GREAT-should be marketed more. Promotions are great, they make their sponsoring $. My family is big and to go we need 2 cars. Thats 30.00 to park-that is intolerable.

TornLabrum
05-10-2003, 07:58 AM
Originally posted by CiscoCarlos
Normally when a team hosts an All-Star game season ticket sales are given a significant boost and sales in the early month of the season are up. Not this year.

USA Today on Friday charted individual baseball attendance to date this year and reported that the Sox are down 7% year over year: 18,762 in 2002 to 17,368 so far this year. The Cubs are way up: 28,352 in 2002 to 32,513 so far this year.

Overall baseball attendance is down 6%--second year in a row for a steep decline, with other sports such as basketball and football once again showing little or no decline.

There's the usual lame excuses available: bad weather, bad economy, so-so start, but my guess is in the specific case of the White Sox the fan on the field incident didn't help, nor did the renaming of Comiskey. But more importantly, it shows what a bust the Sox completely uninspired marketing efforts surrounding the All Star game were.

So, once again Jerry's Pale Hose are in the bottom third of attendance--even further down because Kansas City has passed us up--despite being in a major market. While Reinsdorf often derides the ambiance of Sox games when they were owned by his predecessor, if I recall correctly the Sox averaged in the upper half of baseball attendance during the Veeck years (1976-80)though their on field performance was generally weak. Since the ball strike of the mid 90s they are routinely in the bottom third of attendance--a key measurement of any performance standard for a baseball owner.

Only on the great Sout' Side could renaming the ball park (in order to get funds to improve it) be thought of as a reason the fans aren't coming out.

I've frozen my way through a couple of ball games this year, but the vast majority of my tickets are for games after May 15. April and early May at the Cell are just too cold for an OF like me.

And what exactly have the Sox done to warrant fans even considering coming out. You can't call the play on the field entertaining, unless you happen to love watching 22 or so of your players just going through the motions. Veeck at least had the world's largest beer garden (since moved 8 miles north) to keep fans "interested" as guys like Tex Wortham and Alan Bannister blundered their way through season after season.

As for the "incidents" on the field the last two seasons, I don't think that has anything to do with attendance dropping unless it's one in the long litany of excuses Sox fans have been using for the past 8 years.

FanOf14
05-10-2003, 08:11 AM
After the game I went to last Sunday, chances are I will only be at one or two more games, at most.

The ushers were annoying/rude - they repeatedly check mine and my bf's tickets and never once checked the two groups of people that took the season ticket holders' seats after they left to seek refuge from the rain - why did they get to stay in seats that the usher knew wasn't theirs? I could understand hassling my bf since he was decked out in Mariners' gear, but why me - I had my Konerko alternate jersey on, my retro 1917 jacket (the uniforms they wore on Sunday home games last year - the authentic winter-like jacket is what I was wearing) and I never once left my seat (my bf left his once to buy a bag of peanuts for me because the only vendor that showed up once the game started was the beer guy. Then on top of that it started raining from the 1st inning on until they called the game in the fifth.

Besides that game that I just whined about, they are playing like crap and if I am expected to take out a second mortgage on my house to see them lose, I'll just as soon pass on that offer. Between tickets, parking and then food (if you get any - usually I will get a brat and a bottle of pop that I will refill with water on the warm days) it is more money than I can afford to part with at this time.

TornLabrum
05-10-2003, 08:45 AM
Originally posted by FanOf14
After the game I went to last Sunday, chances are I will only be at one or two more games, at most.

The ushers were annoying/rude - they repeatedly check mine and my bf's tickets and never once checked the two groups of people that took the season ticket holders' seats after they left to seek refuge from the rain - why did they get to stay in seats that the usher knew wasn't theirs? I could understand hassling my bf since he was decked out in Mariners' gear, but why me - I had my Konerko alternate jersey on, my retro 1917 jacket (the uniforms they wore on Sunday home games last year - the authentic winter-like jacket is what I was wearing) and I never once left my seat (my bf left his once to buy a bag of peanuts for me because the only vendor that showed up once the game started was the beer guy. Then on top of that it started raining from the 1st inning on until they called the game in the fifth.

Besides that game that I just whined about, they are playing like crap and if I am expected to take out a second mortgage on my house to see them lose, I'll just as soon pass on that offer. Between tickets, parking and then food (if you get any - usually I will get a brat and a bottle of pop that I will refill with water on the warm days) it is more money than I can afford to part with at this time.

Were they rude when they asked to see your ticket? (Polite: "May I see your ticket please?" Rude: "Show me your ticket.") Was it more than one usher?

As for not checking tickets of others, perhaps you should have mentioned that you knew the season ticket holders who have those seats and that those weren't the people. I'm sure they would have checked then.

I do agree that there is little perceived value in watching 9 inning of corpseball every time you go to a game. That's reason enough to stay away.

FanOf14
05-10-2003, 08:53 AM
Rude as in checking it 3 times in 2 innings. Rude as in checking our tickets several times and not checking the others that he knew didn't have those seats - he was having long conversations with the actual seat owners before the game and during the first 2 innings before they sought shelter from the rain. I am guessing he didn't do anything about the seat stealers because of the weather, but he ended up making himself look bad for reasons I am not going into here. The one group actually told him they had moved seats and he still did nothing. In the long run, I don't care, but if you are going to check my ticket multiple times, at least check the tickets of surrounding people at least once.

Hangar18
05-10-2003, 09:42 AM
In my section, LF, I politely introduced myself to the ushers there. I told them that that Im going to be sitting in this particular area the whole season, and Please dont bother me with checking my tickets every inning. I explained its stupid to check tickets when there are only 8,000 people in the park. The ushers were cool and said sure, and they havnt bothered me since Opening Day. I appreciate that

dllrbll7
05-10-2003, 09:53 AM
Originally posted by duke of dorwood
As nice as the park is, and I love it, it just costs too much for Sox fans, who are not affluent North Side or North Suburb people, to go. Parking is more than an upper deck bad ticket. That is ridiculous. We have had 3 people in our family lose jobs this year, and lots of people are enduring lay offs and pay cuts. A marketing gem would be free parking. Half price Mondays? Going out on Monday night is not desireable. And its amateur night, went to 4 of those, and its lots of punks. 1.00 hot dog thursdays? I'd rather park free and those are getaway days. What happened to ladies night? KIDS DAY IS GREAT-should be marketed more. Promotions are great, they make their sponsoring $. My family is big and to go we need 2 cars. Thats 30.00 to park-that is intolerable.

Last weekend in milwaukee they had a great promotion for the whole weekend: half price tickets, dollar hotdogs, and FREE parking if you arrived 90min before game time!! when i heard that i was just in shock at how good an idea it was and how well the Brewers knew how to get the fans attention. I dont know if it worked for there attendance but if i was stayin up here that weekend i definately would have gone

TornLabrum
05-10-2003, 10:01 AM
Originally posted by FanOf14
Rude as in checking it 3 times in 2 innings. Rude as in checking our tickets several times and not checking the others that he knew didn't have those seats - he was having long conversations with the actual seat owners before the game and during the first 2 innings before they sought shelter from the rain. I am guessing he didn't do anything about the seat stealers because of the weather, but he ended up making himself look bad for reasons I am not going into here. The one group actually told him they had moved seats and he still did nothing. In the long run, I don't care, but if you are going to check my ticket multiple times, at least check the tickets of surrounding people at least once.

Maybe the seat holers told the usher they were leaving and not coming back.

You still didn't answer two of my questions: Was it the same usher every time who checked yours? Was he impolite in the way he asked you?

And finally, were you drinking heavily (and I don't mean Pepsi, the official cola of the Chicago White Sox).

Hangar18
05-10-2003, 10:03 AM
Doesnt surprise me attendance is down. This Team STINKS.
I know a ton of people who were very Excited about the upcoming season, and Some of these people hadnt been to the park in a couple years. This was going to be a watershed year for people I know going to the games. Instead, these Idiot Sox didnt take advantage of a "soft" early schedule, Stumbled thru April and basically had the Wind removed from their Sails. MOst of these people have changed their minds, and have done other things instead. Some of the Roadtrips Ive planned, people are cancelling, and I can expect that sure. but its very disheartening to see this Team Spiraling out of Control like it has. Not being able to Sweep KC when they were here hurt more than people think. It allowed Cleveland to come in here and SPLIT a series we shouldve SWEPT and a few bad Umpiring Calls, a couple JM managerial blunders later, were 3 games under 500 and sinking. THIS IS WHY FANS ARENT COMING. Sox Fans arent buying into this team. They Stink. Most of these guys arent Playing Hard. Some of these guys arent that good. And a couple of these guys SUCK. Throw in a GM that is undermining his own team and PRESTO. You have your Recipe for Disaster.
Let Simmer for 2 months, and SERVE COLD IN SEPTEMBER

soxnut
05-10-2003, 10:27 AM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by duke of dorwood
[B]As nice as the park is, and I love it, it just costs too much for Sox fans, who are not affluent North Side or North Suburb people, to go.


I find that insulting. Yeah, so many blue collar Union workers make so little money. They just tend to spend it more wisely. When a team plays like crap you don't spend your money on it.(and I'm not saying all our fans our blue collar either)

It's a combination of things as to why the attendance is down. Some people may be out of work(a.k.a.--me). The weather has been terrible for going to a baseball game.(If I was working, I think I may have only been at the game the wackos ran on the field-that was really the only nice weather day we've had) And THIS TEAM IS PLAYING LIKE CRAP. So I don't blame anybody for not coming out.....yet.

Attendance at our ballpark is all about value expectation:
The teams plays well, we come(2nd half '90-94)

Half-price Mondays(10,000+ more than avg)(at least if the game sucks, we only paid 1/2 price)

Fireworks nights(if the game sucks, at least we get a GOOD SHOW after the game)


:D: :cool: :smile:

Procol Harum
05-10-2003, 10:27 AM
So much for JR's brilliant money grab--although the cynicism with which I hold his regime makes me sure that he probably factored in his ticket hikes while allowing for a 10% drop in attendance and figured even with that he'd still come out slightly ahead of 2002.

Attendance is down because the team stinks, the fans know that there's no immediate hope for real change (i.e. new ownership, or at least a new general manager and pr director), and the jump in ticket prices in the midst of a mediocre economic climate is a stab in the heart of the Sox' constituency which is less well-heeled overall than that of their North SIde rivals.

Personally, I'm ticked because of the astronomic jump in the charges for Club Level tickets which had been our favorite seat in Comiskey/The Cell. The rise in the parking fee is particularly grating as this has always been a MAJOR peeve of mine with Reinsdorf's operation (the 30% jump after the 2000 season really burnt my biscuits) and has always seemed like a symbolic first slap in the face every time you go to a Sox game. My Lord, even Bud the Ripper Selig's fans up in Milwaukee can park for half what it costs us. As we live out in the heart o' DuPage and have a life, we can only make it to 6-10 games a year under normal circumstances and depending on how exciting the team is. We haven't been yet this year, due to various circumstances (partly due to the ticket price hike), but I doubt seriously we'll make more than two games in 2003.

Lip Man 1
05-10-2003, 11:12 AM
Two simple truths regarding the Sox:

Don't play well...don't draw well

Have a history of not winning anything and you start the season poorly...don't draw well.

Lip

T Dog
05-10-2003, 04:21 PM
An usher approached me from behind while I was seated Sunday and checked my ticket for no apparent reason. I felt more curious than offended. It wasn't as if I was being forced to submit to a search.

The weather has been brutal. Even if the team was winning, attendance would be down. Couple the disappointing play since the middle of the Cleveland series with so many voices in the media telling people not to go to Sox games, and your attendance is going to be down.

Weather and bad baseball are valid reasons to stay away from the park. The fans who stay away from the park because of the name change, because of the labor dispute almost a decade ago, because of the a trade made five years ago or because they don't like the ownership are only making things worse for their team.

Dadawg_77
05-10-2003, 06:32 PM
The thing is what you guys are talking about is why walk up attendance is down. This year the Sox were probably banking on the All Start game to raise season tickets sold. I think the amount went up but probably not enough to counter act bad walk up due to weather and other things. You can not run a team based on walkup or single game ticket sales, you need strong season ticket base. The Sox lost theirs after 94 and have never recover from that. So while JR was trying to break the union he shot himself in the foot.

FanOf14
05-10-2003, 08:05 PM
Originally posted by TornLabrum
Maybe the seat holers told the usher they were leaving and not coming back.

You still didn't answer two of my questions: Was it the same usher every time who checked yours? Was he impolite in the way he asked you?

And finally, were you drinking heavily (and I don't mean Pepsi, the official cola of the Chicago White Sox).

Firstly, I don't drink anything heavier than diet soda and the heaviest thing my bf drinks is regular Mountain Dew- I am the daughter of a recovering alcoholic and I have seen the destruction alcohol addiction and will not take the chance of becoming one myself. Secondly, I thought I did, maybe I didn't type it, but yes, it was the same usher.

Lip Man 1
05-10-2003, 10:51 PM
We get back to one of the core questions that have been debated here by the good fans of WSI.

Basically it comes down to this... should fans support a team, particularly an organization that has done numerous things to insult and drive those same fans away simply because they live in the city where the team is located?

Should they support an organization that at best has only payed "lip service" (no pun intended) to the goal of professional sports...that's to win?

Should they support an organization and show up in droves in the HOPE that the same organization MIGHT actually try to win a championship, not just try to win a weak division with a payroll less then the Minnesota Twins?

Do those fans who stay away think that by staying away it might actually HELP the current organization see the error of its ways or try to sell? (So that by staying away they might actually be HELPING the franchise in the long run?)

I personally know how I feel but I can't speak for other Sox fans so I won't. I'll let all of you begin the debate.

Lip

npdempse
05-11-2003, 01:03 AM
Originally posted by Dadawg_77
I think the amount went up but probably not enough to counter act bad walk up due to weather and other things.

IIRC, the jump was on the order of 20% or so.

I'm still chalking up the drop to lousy weather. I've sat through 5 games so far at the Cell with weather in the 40s, and plenty of intermittent rain (and fog). If it wasn't for the fact that those tickets were already bought, I certainly wouldn't have been to a single game this season.

I wouldn't be surprised if a chunk of that 7% wasn't constituted by the pathetic opening day attendance--which I think was entirely due to the horrendous weather.

Winning will be a big draw, but with Gallas' focus on the families, weather could well be the decisive factor in attendance these days.

baggio202
05-11-2003, 02:45 AM
the sox underachieved last year then had the nerve to raise ticket prices..compare our ticket prices to other teams...kc has tickets that start at 5 bucks..their highest priced ticket is either 21 or 23 bucks...we are way up towards the top in pricing..

i got a family of 5..on a full price day i cant get in then cell for less than 90 bucks...15 bucks times 5 for the cheap seats plus another 15 for parking...

if you got a family who the hell can afford that???..so its up to 40 thousand of you single guys to keep filling the park every night :D:

TommyJohn
05-11-2003, 05:59 AM
Originally posted by baggio202
the sox underachieved last year then had the nerve to raise ticket prices..compare our ticket prices to other teams...kc has tickets that start at 5 bucks..their highest priced ticket is either 21 or 23 bucks...we are way up towards the top in pricing..

i got a family of 5..on a full price day i cant get in then cell for less than 90 bucks...15 bucks times 5 for the cheap seats plus another 15 for parking...

if you got a family who the hell can afford that???..so its up to 40 thousand of you single guys to keep filling the park every night :D:

Ain't that easy for us single guys, either. Bills, rent, etc.

baggio202
05-11-2003, 01:50 PM
Originally posted by TommyJohn
Ain't that easy for us single guys, either. Bills, rent, etc.

thats what the :D: was for

reinsdorf is in the process of pricing himself out of the market

Dadawg_77
05-12-2003, 08:27 AM
Originally posted by npdempse
IIRC, the jump was on the order of 20% or so.

I'm still chalking up the drop to lousy weather. I've sat through 5 games so far at the Cell with weather in the 40s, and plenty of intermittent rain (and fog). If it wasn't for the fact that those tickets were already bought, I certainly wouldn't have been to a single game this season.


20% of 10,000 or so, so now the Sox have 12,000 seats sold to season ticket holders. I would bet that the Sox had at least twice, maybe even three times, that amount sold to season ticket holders in 1994. 1994 and 1997 killed this organization and the team is still feeling it. Honestly, no promotion, no firing, no FA signing is going to bring the fans back. Old the sale of Sox or the death of JR will. Taking the small sample size of Sox fans I know, there are ten thousands of Chicago area residents who won't go back while JR controls the team.

soxrme
05-12-2003, 10:04 AM
I can tell you that it irks me as soon as I get to the park and they charge $13.00 to park, that is just me. But I think the real reasons attendance has been bad is weather and our less than stellar record.
Gallas does not have clue on marketing and hiring low level guys for jobs like gm and manager just does not inspire people to come out.

Procol Harum
05-12-2003, 10:23 AM
Originally posted by soxrme
I can tell you that it irks me as soon as I get to the park and they charge $13.00 to park, that is just me.

No, it ain't just you--and get ready to be even more irked: apparently the parking is now set at $15--the symbolic first slap-in-the-face for every Sox fan who comes ready to take a beating from the Reinsdorf Regime.

TornLabrum
05-12-2003, 08:45 PM
Originally posted by Dadawg_77
20% of 10,000 or so, so now the Sox have 12,000 seats sold to season ticket holders. I would bet that the Sox had at least twice, maybe even three times, that amount sold to season ticket holders in 1994. 1994 and 1997 killed this organization and the team is still feeling it. Honestly, no promotion, no firing, no FA signing is going to bring the fans back. Old the sale of Sox or the death of JR will. Taking the small sample size of Sox fans I know, there are ten thousands of Chicago area residents who won't go back while JR controls the team.

The highwater mark of Sox season ticket holders was something around 18,000 in the early '90s.

Hullett_Fan
05-13-2003, 10:47 AM
I'd say it's a combination of what we've all been saying:

1) WEATHER: I have the weekday night season tix package and have been to only one game where the temp was above 45 degrees (the night ump was attacked). As that LA Ram said during the '85 playoffs at Soldier Field: "They need to put a dome on this place!". Definitely get a lot more walk-ups if people knew they could see April and May games in comfort...

2) PERFORMANCE: That being said, people that'd come out early in the season to watch in comfort would see a good team and be more likely to come back later in the season. Unfortunately, this team has been painful to watch!

3) LACK OF LARGE FAN BASE: IMO, the traditional Sox fan is a person that gets off work and instead of going to happy hour at a bar, goes to Comiskey with some friends for a couple beers and baseball. They did this 20+ times a year. At least that's what my dad tells me most people did during the 70s at old comiskey. You see the same thing happening in towns with similar fan bases like Detroit, Milwaukee and Cleveland (now that they stink).

4) PRICE: That being said, Why would a group of 4 (be it a family or friends or co-workers) spend $200+ to sit in 40 degree weather and watch piss-poor baseball? Why bother when there is so much else to do in this city.