View Full Version : OK, then read SUN-TIMES biz story

Medford Bobby
07-15-2003, 11:38 AM
This one is in todays bright one in the biz section by Chris Isadore

Home of the Sox fails to infatuate the fans

July 15, 2003

BY CHRIS ISIDORE Advertisement

U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago is a monument to the fat-cat luxury suite patron, designed first and foremost to separate fans as efficiently as possible from the greatest number of dollars.

It is a wonderful testament to the fact that this strategy is a money-losing one.

The home of baseball's Chicago White Sox, nee Comiskey Park II when it opened in 1991, is the site of tonight's All-Star game. But the stadium itself has been no star. Of the 14 stadiums built since 1991, it is by far the least successful at attracting fans and revenue to what has been a modestly successful team.

The problem lies in the two tiers of luxury suites that push the upper deck into the stratosphere. What's more, the architects pushed the front row of the upper deck behind the luxury suites and lower deck in order to avoid any overhang over the more expensive seats below. These two design decisions make the game a rumor for anyone above about the sixth row of upper deck.

The stadium also suffers in comparison to one of the great meccas for baseball fans--Wrigley Field, aka the Friendly Confines, home of the crosstown rival Chicago Cubs.

Wrigley, with its neighborhood park charm, its obstructed-view seats and relatively limited concession space, is a money machine for the team, a magnet for fans even during losing seasons. U.S. Cellular Field, with the warmth and charm of a suburban mall, almost seems to repel fans.

So since 1993, the Cubs, with about 12 percent fewer seats, have outdrawn the White Sox, even in years like 1993 and 2000, when the Sox finished first and the Cubs had their normal poor finish.

White Sox spokesman Scott Reifert argues the team draws better in its new park than in the old stadium that had been across the street.

"The 2000 attendance was the seventh best in club history," he said. "I don't know if it's anything that anyone has to apologize for."

He also points out the team has made some changes and plans more, such as brick work and lighting to improve the warmth and feel for fans. But while plans have yet to be announced, taking out a level of luxury suites and lowering the upper deck probably isn't in the works.

It's a wonderful thing, for those who like to see underdogs rise up and bite the fat cats, that the team is out far more money from lost ticket sales since the new park opened than it could ever bring in from all its luxury suites.

The 102 completed suites bring in less than $10 million in rent a year. But unlike many other stadiums, the White Sox haven't sold all the suites on a full-season basis, and haven't even completed outfitting all the suites it originally built.

If the White Sox had been able to raise their attendance to a modest 80 percent of capacity, with each extra ticket bringing in only an average of $12, less than the cost of a current upper deck seat, the additional ticket sales would have been worth between $11 million and $18.5 million a year since 1995.

White Sox owners, who chose this type of park over the more fan-friendly model in a misguided attempt to grab the big bucks, have no one to blame but themselves for the problem that will dog their box office revenue for years to come.

Chris Isidore covers the business of sports for CNNMoney.com. He can be reached at chris.isidore@turner.com

Any thoughts............its a true look that they screwed themselves out of millons intead of buiding a fan friendly ball park :angry:

07-15-2003, 11:49 AM
This is a microcosm of how this outfit operates. Penny wise and pound foolish.

I must say that on the other side of the coin, my son had a talk at Comiskey Park Sunday evening with another All-Star Week volunteer who is a Cubs fans and got Sox season tickets just to be able to get tickets for the All-Star Game.

Her comments were interesting to say the least. For one thing, she said that if she had any kind of question or problem and had to leave a message with anyone from the Sox, they called her back in 15 minutes. According to her, the Cubs rarely returned calls. She called the Sox "a class organization."

As far as the ballpark itself goes, I don't want it to be Wrigley Field. One square-block public urinal in Chicago is enough. What the Sox need to do is find some way of easing the climb from the bottom to the top of the upper deck. I have no idea how it can be done, but it has to. I nearly had a grabber climbing to my seats Sunday.

The upper deck is definitely not for the old and out-of-shape.

07-15-2003, 11:50 AM
Super Crappy, but at least this guy has most of his facts straight.

I mean -- nobody goes to Detriot, Cleveland, or Milwaulkee anymore...and those are just 3 of the 14 new stadiums he mentioned since 1991.

Peace :(:

Medford Bobby
07-15-2003, 12:05 PM
True alot of new '90's parks are empty now. It's either the tix are too much as well as bad teams on the field, but look at the Rockies. It's a great ballpark but I think they only sell out for opening day now. Would Sox fans have showed up in droves if we had a retro park and yet crappy teams during the '90's??Admit it, Jerry and the gang went with the belief that luxury boxes would forever be the sports cash cow machine beyound what regular seating tix would bring in??? :?:

:reinsy " Look, I said once before and I'll say it again, did ya want to continue taking a leak in the Old Comikey's sinks on Opening Day forever??????"

Lip Man 1
07-15-2003, 12:17 PM
If the Sox played in the worst park ever known to mankind and consistently won, they wouldn't have a problem.

The issue is a mediocre TEAM coupled with a mediocre stadium.


07-15-2003, 12:24 PM
I like this Article. the guy got it right pretty much, but he couldve left out the Wrigley references. The last part is the best.
Pointed out (SOX have been MUM on this for YEARS) that the
Sox WANTED that 3rd level of Skyboxes, and that of the 102
skyboxes available at the Cell, They are NEVER all completely Leased (which Ive noticed every time im there. MT SKYBOXES)
and some of them still havnt been COMPLETED!!! HAHAHHA
to the sox for being so FOOLISH in building that Upper Deck like that. I HATE IT UP THERE. I have to sit in 520 for all of these festivities, and I cant even read the names on the players backs were so high up. But I have a solution. Mind you, this is the ONLY SOLUTION that can save this park. This Solution cant be Half done, or half-baked or anything short of doing this COMPLETELY.
SOlution: Eliminate the ENTIRE top level of Skyboxes.......Dont ask questions, whine or moan about it. Top Level all the way around...>GONE. Next.....Retro fit the ENTIRE "Club" level, so that it NOW BECOMES THE NEW UPPERDECK. If you have MORE People AVOIDING the upperdeck because they hate it so much than actually USE the CLub LEvel, I believe thats a big problem.
Retro Fit the former "club" level so that it adds about 5 or 6 more Rows outwards towards the field. Cantilevering is what its
called, Sox shouldve tried MORE of this process when they
conceived the place (like in Cleveland). The pitch of our New UD
would be more pleasing, and we could Also Alter the way the Concourse looks too.....

07-15-2003, 02:34 PM
Love ya, Hangar, but structurally that would be impossible to do.