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Lip Man 1
10-04-2003, 02:06 PM
I originally wanted to do this as a column at WSI, but I didnít have enough information so I just wanted to post this to stimulate discussion and opinion.

I also tried not to let any personal bias influence my findings but of course thatís impossible.

I tried to make a comparison of the four MLB markets that have two teams, in order to get a read on how the Sox stand and to get some clues on what the future may hold.

The four markets are NYC, So Cal, Chicago and the Bay Area. It is my conclusion that of the four markets the Sox are in the worst position possible among the four ďsecond classĒ teams.

Hereís why:

New York City - Without question the Yankees are the dominant team based on money, success, stadium and radio / TV rights.

However the Mets have the following things going for them. The population base is easily good enough to support two teams (some would say they can support three), the Mets have had some recent playoff success including getting to the World Series and last but not least they have the ability and desire to spend money. Their payroll has been close to 100 million. Now you can argue that they donít spend it wisely but the fact is they have the money to spend if needed. If next year for example, the club gets off to a good start, the Mets fans know they can add payroll, players.

Southern California - The main team is the Dodgers based on their history, success the past forty years in the playoffs / World Series and glorious Dodger Stadium.

The Angels though have bought themselves some time due to their fluke World Series win. I say fluke because before and after they had no real history of success. The Angels also recently got a new owner who has made statements about doing what is needed to win. And heís put that into practice starting by lowering across the board team ticket and concession prices.

Bay Area- The dominant team is the Giants based on beautiful Pac Bell Park, their attendance figures and Barry Bonds.

Like the Angels though, the Aís have bought themselves some time because of their recent playoff runs. Iíd argue the Aís have more time then the Angels because itíll still be a few years before they completely lose Tejada, Chavez, Hudson, Zito and Mulder (and make no mistake, they will lose all of them...)

Now letís look at Chicago.

I donít think any Sox fan can honestly say the Cubs are not the dominant team based on attendance, a fan friendly atmosphere, good PR / media relations and now a high payroll (approaching 90 million). They have also made the playoffs twice in the past six seasons.

The White Sox have an owner disliked by many, with a shrinking attendance base (based on season ticket sales and a general decline in fans attending since the early 90's). They have made the post season once during the same period of time the Cubs have been in the playoffs twice. They are coming off three disappointing seasons culminating with the failure in 2003 to advance to the post season. From a payroll standpoint the Sox figures according to the USA Today salary database are 22nd in baseball behind even the Minnesota Twins. The general manager has already said the payroll for 2004 is going to remain in the same money frame despite drawing almost two million fans.

Does this mean the Sox are going to move tomorrow? No (although I think thatís more because there is no viable location for them to go to) But unless something drastic happens with ownership thinking or a different ownership, I just donít see how this team can do anything but continue to be mediocre at best.

Please feel free to point out anything I may have missed or concluded in error in this evaluation.

Lip

soxtalker
10-04-2003, 02:41 PM
Let me throw out an additional factor that maybe should be factored in -- that is geographical location of the ball park.

I forget the columnist who pointed out about a month ago that one problem the Sox have is that the traffic patterns (particularly considering the never-ending construction) may be cutting down on Sox attendance from fans living in the suburbs. (The Cubs probably have a more affluent fan base within a few miles, plus they draw the "tourists".)

Given the traffic patterns around LA, I'd guess that the Angels and Dodgers draw from a somewhat different group of fans. LA is so spread out, and rush hour now extends to most hours of the day and evening. So, unless you are a fan living in the middle, I'd guess that one place is much easier to get to than the other.

I also recall that the A's were trying to move to silicon valley a few years ago, but that the Giants were fighting this. I don't know where that issue is any more.

For NY, I don't have a feel for what effect geography might have.

joecrede
10-04-2003, 02:48 PM
Originally posted by Lip Man 1
I just donít see how this team can do anything but continue to be mediocre at best.

The Sox will, at the very least, compete for the division title for the forseeable future.

jabrch
10-04-2003, 03:21 PM
Originally posted by joecrede
The Sox will, at the very least, compete for the division title for the forseeable future.

Why is that? Because we are that good - or Minn/Det/Clev are that bad? If you put us in any other division in the AL (and I think any NL division as well) we don't compete nearly as much...

woodenleg
10-04-2003, 04:26 PM
Originally posted by soxtalker
Let me throw out an additional factor that maybe should be factored in -- that is geographical location of the ball park.

I forget the columnist who pointed out about a month ago that one problem the Sox have is that the traffic patterns (particularly considering the never-ending construction) may be cutting down on Sox attendance from fans living in the suburbs. (The Cubs probably have a more affluent fan base within a few miles, plus they draw the "tourists".)



It's not only traffic - it's transportation, too.

Even though we have the red line going to the park, there are serious transportation problems on the south side. The red line doesn't connect well to the rest of the south side, whereas you can take trains to Wilmette, Evanston and Skokie via the red line.

I've long fantasized about an "L" that goes clear into the south burbs or Hammond, IN (of course I live a mile away from there).

The south side and NW Indiana really get the shaft when it comes to transportation into the city - bad hours, bad locations, confusing transfers, etc. All the buses are terrible, too - terrible waiting times.

Bisco Stu
10-04-2003, 04:46 PM
The A's can't move to the Valley, as the Giants owe the "territorial rights" to the 650.

xil357
10-04-2003, 05:01 PM
Originally posted by woodenleg
It's not only traffic - it's transportation, too.

The south side and NW Indiana really get the shaft when it comes to transportation into the city - bad hours, bad locations, confusing transfers, etc. All the buses are terrible, too - terrible waiting times.

I know I'm not the first to advocate this, and I know it may indeed be something that is in the works (at least that's what I heard), but just read my signature.

Putting a Rock Island Metra stop at IIT between 35th and 33rd Streets on the east side of the Dan Ryan fixes the problem for the Sox fans who have moved to the Southwest burbs from Chicago and the inner-ring burbs like Oak Lawn and Evergreen Park. It also will spur development in the area formerly occupied by the CHA projects because it increases accessibility.

Quite honestly given the intersection of interests in that immediate area (IIT, Bronzeville, the Sox, Bridgeport, etc.), and the positive impact it would have on area property values (and therefore property tax receipts), I'm surprised that such a station has not already been built.

It also would be a great transfer station between the CTA and Metra, which helps reduce traffic on the Dan Ryan and thus pollution. The point is, there are enough reasons to build the station even without the benefit to the Sox and Sox fans.

dickallen15
10-04-2003, 07:30 PM
The Sox played pitifully for almost 3 months, yet had 2 less wins than the Cubs. In fact, beat them 4 out of 6 head to head. White Sox attendance was up 17 percent, although you could credit that to the ASG, they did have their highest walk up attendance ever. The projects are being removed across the Ryan, With continued renovation to the Cell, and a decent product on the field, the attendance will continue to grow. If the Cubs are fan friendly, what are the Sox? Do the Cubs have half price nights, do they have kids days where they get in for a dollar? The White Sox are one of the most, if not the most, fan friendly team in baseball The White Sox demise is being greatly exaggerated on this board. The Cubs are the dominant team, but the Sox charts are on the rise.

greenpeach
10-04-2003, 09:37 PM
Having lived in New York for many years, I feel that I can comment on the state of the NY Mets. If they ever get their act together, they can challenge the Yankees for city wide supremecy. The reason ? It's the location of Shea Stadium. The Flushing location is much easier & faster to reach for the 4.5 million people who live on Long Island. The South Bronx is a war zone & doesn't have nearly the parking that Shea has. The Mets drew over 2 million fans this year for a crappy team playing in a dirty rundown stadium. Pretty impressive if you ask me.

The stadium was first conceived in the mid-1950's to accomodate the middle class whites who left Brooklyn & the Bronx for the Island. The use of the stadium was first offered to Walter O'Malley, but he rejected it in favor of greener pastures in Los Angeles. Charles Stoneham was so anxious to leave the Polo Grounds (Harlem) he didn't want to wait for it to be built. He took the Giants to SF instead. If he had been smart, he would've waited the new stadium out & the Giants would've owned New York again. In 1975 after Stoneham sold the Giants he apologized to the city of New York for taking the Giants away. He admitted that he had made a huge business blunder. O'Malley never apologized for moving the Brooklyn Bums.

poorme
10-04-2003, 09:46 PM
the sox arent' going anywhere for the foreseeable future (at least 10 years). they're making more money than several teams. they'll never get the love that the cubs get. i don't know why everyone spends their time worrying about the cubs.

joecrede
10-04-2003, 09:50 PM
Originally posted by jabrch
Why is that? Because we are that good - or Minn/Det/Clev are that bad? If you put us in any other division in the AL (and I think any NL division as well) we don't compete nearly as much...

The way the rules are currently set up the AL central sends a representative to the playoffs. I'm happy the Sox are in that division.

Wsoxmike59
10-04-2003, 10:28 PM
I've posted this over at WhiteSox.com that the Wsox attendance figures aren't as bad and all gloom and doom as the raw figures would suggest. For example.

A regular everyday seat in the OF at Sox Park (The Cell) costs $24. The Sox get credit for one admission at the turnstyle at that price. The Dodgers regular everyday seat in the OF at Chavez Ravine costs $6!! A family of 4 can sit in the OF at a Dodger game for the cost of one regular Sox ticket.

There are similar ballparks like the Big Ed in Anaheim or Kaufman Stad. in KC where fans can sit in the OF for $10 everyday. That is still less than 1/2 of what we pay for an identical seat on 1/2 Price Night!!!!

Compare prices on our Upperdeck Boxes to Turner Field in Atlanta and you get the feeling we Sox fans are getting shaken down just to attend a game. The 12 time Division Winning Braves know how to treat the working man/woman who follow their team.

So while it appears we had a weak year at the gate with some 1.8M fans.....we probably had revenues equal to other teams that draw 2.5 or 2.6M fans

GoSox2K3
10-04-2003, 11:23 PM
Originally posted by Wsoxmike59
I've posted this over at WhiteSox.com that the Wsox attendance figures aren't as bad and all gloom and doom as the raw figures would suggest. For example.

A regular everyday seat in the OF at Sox Park (The Cell) costs $24. The Sox get credit for one admission at the turnstyle at that price. The Dodgers regular everyday seat in the OF at Chavez Ravine costs $6!! A family of 4 can sit in the OF at a Dodger game for the cost of one regular Sox ticket.

There are similar ballparks like the Big Ed in Anaheim or Kaufman Stad. in KC where fans can sit in the OF for $10 everyday. That is still less than 1/2 of what we pay for an identical seat on 1/2 Price Night!!!!

Compare prices on our Upperdeck Boxes to Turner Field in Atlanta and you get the feeling we Sox fans are getting shaken down just to attend a game. The 12 time Division Winning Braves know how to treat the working man/woman who follow their team.

So while it appears we had a weak year at the gate with some 1.8M fans.....we probably had revenues equal to other teams that draw 2.5 or 2.6M fans

Don't forget that the Sox also get pretty decent TV revenues compared to most teams in the league.

I believe that it is possible for the Sox to successfully existing in Chicago. Unfortunately, they have an owner who spent the last 20 years driving a ton of fans away with a number of bonehead moves. Now that he's reduced our fanbase, he insists runing the Sox like a small market team.

If we could ever get past this endless cycle of alienating the fans and then refusing to spend for a winner because of poor fan support, the Sox could become a great franchise. Unfortunately, this is just wishful thinking under the current ownership.

StillMissOzzie
10-04-2003, 11:47 PM
Originally posted by jabrch
Why is that? Because we are that good - or Minn/Det/Clev are that bad? If you put us in any other division in the AL (and I think any NL division as well) we don't compete nearly as much...

But, the same can be said about the Scrubs, who won arguably the weakest division in all of MLB this year. They'd have finished 2nd or lower ina any other division, too.

SMO
:gulp:

MisterB
10-05-2003, 03:50 AM
Originally posted by Wsoxmike59
I've posted this over at WhiteSox.com that the Wsox attendance figures aren't as bad and all gloom and doom as the raw figures would suggest. For example.

A regular everyday seat in the OF at Sox Park (The Cell) costs $24. The Sox get credit for one admission at the turnstyle at that price. The Dodgers regular everyday seat in the OF at Chavez Ravine costs $6!! A family of 4 can sit in the OF at a Dodger game for the cost of one regular Sox ticket.

There are similar ballparks like the Big Ed in Anaheim or Kaufman Stad. in KC where fans can sit in the OF for $10 everyday. That is still less than 1/2 of what we pay for an identical seat on 1/2 Price Night!!!!

Compare prices on our Upperdeck Boxes to Turner Field in Atlanta and you get the feeling we Sox fans are getting shaken down just to attend a game. The 12 time Division Winning Braves know how to treat the working man/woman who follow their team.

A few observations from looking at the ticket prices of other teams:

The Sox have far fewer price levels than other clubs. Most teams have upwards of a dozen different price zones for single-game tickets whereas the Sox only have six. There's no reason anyone sitting in the last row of the UD in the RF corner should be paying the same as someone in the 20th row in the UD behind home plate.

A lot of teams have gone to 'premium' pricing for Friday & weekend games, or games against specific opponents (like the Yankees). Perhaps the Sox could just make ticket prices cheaper overall for Monday through Thursday rather than doing the half-price nights (especially if some seat prices have already been lowered per the previous point.)

The Lower Deck Box seats at the Cell are not the most expensive single game seats in the house, while comparable seats in other stadia are.

So while it appears we had a weak year at the gate with some 1.8M fans.....we probably had revenues equal to other teams that draw 2.5 or 2.6M fans

But the Yankees can make the same by drawing only 1 million (and the Red Sox even less than that).

ewokpelts
10-05-2003, 09:40 PM
the chairman will shy away from variable pricing or flat out lowering tickets because it will affect his rent payment, which is based off FULL PRICE ADMISSIONS. He's better off sticking with the granton offer and other promos to build "attendance" while making money off the state.
Gene

1951Campbell
10-05-2003, 10:08 PM
I'm not so pessimistic as to think that the Sox will move anytime soon. But I sure as hell know that the only thing that's gonna get the Sox out of "small market" status is Uncle Jerry choking on a chicken bone and a Mark Cuban-type scooping up the franchise.

ode to veeck
10-05-2003, 10:11 PM
It is my conclusion that of the four markets the Sox are in the worst position possible among the four ďsecond classĒ teams.

I don't have to read another word of the article to be in total agreement with this obvious statement, and place 99.99999999% of the blame at JR's feet ... all other variables are third or fourth order significance at best

ode to veeck
10-05-2003, 10:39 PM
I also recall that the A's were trying to move to silicon valley a few years ago, but that the Giants were fighting this. I don't know where that issue is any more.

Several years ago, before Yuppie Bell Park was built in China Basin in SF, a referendum was held to build a park in the south bay, not too far from Hwy 237 and current forty whiners practice facility---voters and fans here were intelligent enough to vote it down (why should the public pay for a ballpark!)

Since that referendum, the baseball mafia aka Bud and his Buds the Giants owners have held that silicon valley is uniquely Giants territory and threatened legal and other bad things to the A's everytime they've even suggested considering moving to the south bay

I think it would be an easy anti-trust case, especially in this state with all the Al Davis precedents to win such a case against Bud and his butt buddies (& secretly wish for its fruition)--but that said there has been no obvious action on the A's part along these lines recently

The A's are arguably the lowest of these two market teams in terms of fan draws, but win over Sox with a much, much better organization.

With very competitive teams & the A's the last couple of playoff chokes notwithstanding and very good teams in the 70s (three rings) and under LaRussa (not as many as they should have rings) they still have a hard time drawing.

I bought outstanding field level seats for all three home games of the ALDS a few rows back right at third or 1st base the second day they went on sale. In fact, I have MVP seats tomorrow--no way this situation would be true if Sox went to playoffs--similar seats were also available last Saturday for ALCS when they went on sale.

Because of their historical problems (being in Oakland and lost faith by local fans that goes back to Charlie Finley screwing fans over CA Seals hockey), they continue to not be a great drawing team, in spite of a pretty darn good stadium for baseball (Al Davis's skyboxes notwithstanding) also in spite of being in the third largest metropolitan area (population wise) in the country. However, they have a great organization and in spite of continuing to lose great players like Jason and Mini Giambi and as Lip points out soon to lose upcoming great pitchers, they will likely continue to field competitive teams because they have a great baseball organization.

Bottom Line: Sox lose to A's here on three counts
-1-New Cell is not better than older Colliseum,
-2-Sox front office PR sucks--the JR & owners role in '94 strike only the most glaring of many serious transgressions here, & finally
-3-Sox ability to field quality baseball management, organization, and competitive team over the 20+ years of Reinsdorf era sucks--Sox haven't come close to a playoff series win in that time and have several years of major disappointments: 94, 03 etc

OK mayby I'm double counting the strike in items (1) and (3) but for the Sox fans that experienced it, 2X is a conservative number

voodoochile
10-06-2003, 12:02 AM
There is a basic economic theory at work here for next year. The flubbies are at capacity right now. They will raise ticket prices this year and still probably sell out every single seat for the season before the first pitch is ever thrown.

Now the Sox are a substitute product in a market where the competition has no more supply to offer. As a result, the Sox will see demand for their tickets actually increase. If they can field a competitive team next year, they will sell well more than 2M tickets. The question is will JR go for it or just sit back and reap the rewards of the flubbies success.

Lip Man 1
10-06-2003, 01:53 AM
Voodoo:

That's an interesting theory and perhaps you can go into more detail on why you think this is a possibility.

My only question would be what makes you think the casual fans are going to want to see the Sox because they can't get a ticket to the Cubs?

Why wouldn't they stay home and watch the Cubs on TV, or go to a bar and watch the games with friends.

I don't know if Chicago has that many die hard baseball fans who would rather see any baseball even the Sox, then go see the Cubs.

You might be right but I wouldn't automatically assume this will happen and I don't think the Sox organization should either. If as so many folks here at WSI say, that the Cubs fan base couldn't care less about the game itself but go because of the party atmosphere why would then drive down to Comiskey and see the Sox?

Lip

Iwritecode
10-06-2003, 11:03 AM
Originally posted by voodoochile
There is a basic economic theory at work here for next year. The flubbies are at capacity right now. They will raise ticket prices this year and still probably sell out every single seat for the season before the first pitch is ever thrown.

Now the Sox are a substitute product in a market where the competition has no more supply to offer. As a result, the Sox will see demand for their tickets actually increase. If they can field a competitive team next year, they will sell well more than 2M tickets. The question is will JR go for it or just sit back and reap the rewards of the flubbies success.


Originally posted by Lip Man 1
Voodoo:

That's an interesting theory and perhaps you can go into more detail on why you think this is a possibility.

My only question would be what makes you think the casual fans are going to want to see the Sox because they can't get a ticket to the Cubs?

Why wouldn't they stay home and watch the Cubs on TV, or go to a bar and watch the games with friends.

I don't know if Chicago has that many die hard baseball fans who would rather see any baseball even the Sox, then go see the Cubs.

You might be right but I wouldn't automatically assume this will happen and I don't think the Sox organization should either. If as so many folks here at WSI say, that the Cubs fan base couldn't care less about the game itself but go because of the party atmosphere why would then drive down to Comiskey and see the Sox?

Lip

I'm not sure I agree with this theory. The problem is that 90% of the time, one team is in town while the other is on the road. Even when they are in town on the same dates, usually one team has a day game while the other has a night game.

So, if somebody gets the urge to go watch a Cubs game and finds out that the series is sold out, I doubt they are going to wait the few days for the Sox to come back into town just to fill their urge to watch a game.

It's an interesting theory though.

I guess we'll see what happens...

voodoochile
10-06-2003, 11:46 AM
Originally posted by Lip Man 1
Voodoo:

That's an interesting theory and perhaps you can go into more detail on why you think this is a possibility.

My only question would be what makes you think the casual fans are going to want to see the Sox because they can't get a ticket to the Cubs?

Why wouldn't they stay home and watch the Cubs on TV, or go to a bar and watch the games with friends.

I don't know if Chicago has that many die hard baseball fans who would rather see any baseball even the Sox, then go see the Cubs.

You might be right but I wouldn't automatically assume this will happen and I don't think the Sox organization should either. If as so many folks here at WSI say, that the Cubs fan base couldn't care less about the game itself but go because of the party atmosphere why would then drive down to Comiskey and see the Sox?

Lip

Originally posted by Iwritecode
I'm not sure I agree with this theory. The problem is that 90% of the time, one team is in town while the other is on the road. Even when they are in town on the same dates, usually one team has a day game while the other has a night game.

So, if somebody gets the urge to go watch a Cubs game and finds out that the series is sold out, I doubt they are going to wait the few days for the Sox to come back into town just to fill their urge to watch a game.

It's an interesting theory though.

I guess we'll see what happens...

Maybe someone else who understands economics better than I can explain it better, but it the home/away day/night thing won't matter. Casual fans or people who just want to watch a certain visiting team live won't be able to get tickets for the flubbies next year, so they will be forced to go to the Cell to see live MLB teams.

The flubbies cannot sell more tickets. It's that simple their supply is static and already sold. Demand for flubbie tickets is going to skyrocket this off season. That means prices (even face value) are going to jump like crazy and anyone who thinks differently doesn't understand even basic economics, IMO. The Trib is going to try and grab the windfall that is there for them next season. I expect bleacher seats to go up to at least $25 (probably $30) and box seats are going to be like at Fenway and Yankee stadium ($75/seat/game).

That has a backlash effect for people who cannot afford that price yet still want to watch live baseball. They have a substitute product available. In addition, even if they can afford the face value increases, the scalpers will be getting $100 a seat for almost every game, IMO. Now if the flubbies tank next season, that will change the dynamics later in the season, but there STILL won't be tickets available at the box office day of game or week before the game.

There are some really fancy graphs you can draw to prove all of this, but I can't do that here and only remember the theory, not the way it looks on paper.

Basic example. For MOST people, Coke and Pepsi are substitute products. If the supply of Coke drys up at the same time the price triples, the casual soda drinker is going to switch to Pepsi. Not trying to start a soda discussion, just giving an example.

Hangar18
10-06-2003, 12:08 PM
Originally posted by voodoochile


Basic example. For MOST people, Coke and Pepsi are substitute products. If the supply of Coke drys up at the same time the price triples, the casual soda drinker is going to switch to Pepsi. Not trying to start a soda discussion, just giving an example.


In a Nutshell, this is interesting. But knowing the SOX, they'll simply sit back, and wait for the Dump Truck full of Money to drive up to 35th & Shields, and deposit its load. That wont happen.
Reinsdorf and the marketing Geniuses have to realize there WILL BE A SMALL, MINOR MARKET to go for (cub fans who cant get tickets) and Go for it. Getting these extra fans WILL NOT BE A BIRTHRIGHT Mr Reinsdorf, so I hope thats not how you guys go into next yr, hoping and Praying that disgruntled cub fans will show up at Comiskey.

voodoochile
10-06-2003, 12:18 PM
Originally posted by Hangar18
In a Nutshell, this is interesting. But knowing the SOX, they'll simply sit back, and wait for the Dump Truck full of Money to drive up to 35th & Shields, and deposit its load. That wont happen.
Reinsdorf and the marketing Geniuses have to realize there WILL BE A SMALL, MINOR MARKET to go for (cub fans who cant get tickets) and Go for it. Getting these extra fans WILL NOT BE A BIRTHRIGHT Mr Reinsdorf, so I hope thats not how you guys go into next yr, hoping and Praying that disgruntled cub fans will show up at Comiskey.

Actually, you won't be marketing to the "true flubbie fans" just as in the soda example, "true coke drinkers" would still pay the extra money and look far and wide for their favorite.

It is the casual fan and the tourist dollar that will be there for the grabbing. Mom and dad bring their two kids to Chicago on a vacation and try to get tickets to a flubbie game at "beautiful Wrigley Field" only to find out that there are no tickets available unless they want to pay $150/seat. Little Johnny and Janey still want to go to a baseball game because podunk, Nebraska doesn't have live baseball. What do they do? They go to see the Sox...

xil357
10-06-2003, 12:54 PM
Originally posted by voodoochile
It is the casual fan and the tourist dollar that will be there for the grabbing. Mom and dad bring their two kids to Chicago on a vacation and try to get tickets to a flubbie game at "beautiful Wrigley Field" only to find out that there are no tickets available unless they want to pay $150/seat. Little Johnny and Janey still want to go to a baseball game because podunk, Nebraska doesn't have live baseball. What do they do? They go to see the Sox...

Yes. Now I see.

Baseball is a business, and never before have the stakes and the profits/profit potentials been so huge.

What can we WSI "sock flyers" do, other than continue our attempts to influence and/or change media coverage?

If we want to be nefariously pathological, if the Cubs make it a series against the Marlins, or make it to the WS, we should all dress up in Cubs gear and give away free liquor to people who are "celebrating" or "hanging out" in Wrigleyville. If we can augment the perception (reality) that Cubs fans are a bunch of hooligans, meatheads, frat boys and criminals who are not interested in baseball but rather the party atmosphere of the Urinal, then the Cubs efforts to add seating capacity and other amenities may die at City Hall.
Seriously, we can specifically write/call/e-mail all the aldermen representing the areas in and around Wrigley, and the Office of the Mayor, and tell them that we do not, under any circumstances, support or endorse the Cubs' proposal to add seats and other amenities to Wrigley Field, nor do we want them to be able to schedule more night games. We must tell the elected officials that the must deny the Cubs' wishes.

The point is, if the Cubs use their PR success of this postseason to gain approval for their plans to add capacity to Wrigley, it will add supply and further choke off the "oxygen" of casual fan support for the White Sox.

I am serious when I say that this is a crucial time for the White Sox and Sox fans. I support efforts to write/call/e-mail Ken Williams and JR to add payroll in an effort to fight back on the field. But we Sox fans who want to keep our team in Chicago need to take some actions too.

Come on, Sox Army! Never before was there a more important time to FIGHT BACK!

TornLabrum
10-06-2003, 08:25 PM
I think the problem with Voodoo Economics is that there are plenty of other places to see professional baseball in the Chicago area. The Kane County Cougars sold another half million tickets this year. The Joliet Jackhammers had their first sellout this year and finished with better attendance than in their inaugural season. The Schaumburg Flyers are doing well. There is a very nice new stadium in Gary, IN for their Northern League team. And the tickets are cheaper.

Where have all the Sox fans gone? Many of them just decided to go elsewhere to see baseball, including the son of Andy the Clown, who is a regular at Cougars games.

:andy

"Goooooooo you Cooooooouuuuuuuugarrrrrrrrrrs!!!!!!"

voodoochile
10-06-2003, 08:31 PM
Originally posted by TornLabrum
I think the problem with Voodoo Economics is that there are plenty of other places to see professional baseball in the Chicago area. The Kane County Cougars sold another half million tickets this year. The Joliet Jackhammers had their first sellout this year and finished with better attendance than in their inaugural season. The Schaumburg Flyers are doing well. There is a very nice new stadium in Gary, IN for their Northern League team. And the tickets are cheaper.

Where have all the Sox fans gone? Many of them just decided to go elsewhere to see baseball, including the son of Andy the Clown, who is a regular at Cougars games.

:andy

"Goooooooo you Cooooooouuuuuuuugarrrrrrrrrrs!!!!!!"

I agree and it is the single hole in the theory. There are other "substitute products" available. However, the Sox are the only "true" substitute because they are the only other MLB franchise in the city.

Using the soda example. While most people won't mind drinking Pepsi instead of Coke, they won't go all the way to generic cola and no restaurant would even consider it. RC would be another acceptable substitute, but not much beyond that.

If you want to watch MLB caliber players live in Chicago next year and you don't have tickets to the flubbies, then you are going to have to go to The Cell...

On a side note: My Uncle is the one who caused Bush I to coin the phrase Voodoo Economics. The Laffer Curve - based on Supply Side economics was the lynchpin of the Reagan economic plan. Like Uncle like nephew...

soxtalker
10-06-2003, 09:26 PM
Originally posted by TornLabrum
I think the problem with Voodoo Economics is that there are plenty of other places to see professional baseball in the Chicago area. The Kane County Cougars sold another half million tickets this year. The Joliet Jackhammers had their first sellout this year and finished with better attendance than in their inaugural season. The Schaumburg Flyers are doing well. There is a very nice new stadium in Gary, IN for their Northern League team. And the tickets are cheaper.

Where have all the Sox fans gone? Many of them just decided to go elsewhere to see baseball, including the son of Andy the Clown, who is a regular at Cougars games.

:andy

"Goooooooo you Cooooooouuuuuuuugarrrrrrrrrrs!!!!!!"

Well, why don't the Sox consider relocating some of their minor league franchises to the Chicago suburbs. This couldn't be done for the entire system. They have a good history with teams in cities in the SE, and not all of the minor league levels are covered in the suburb teams. But one or two?

booter14
10-06-2003, 09:44 PM
the Voodoo theory won't hold up. In 85' the year after the Cubs were a few outs from the World Series, White Sox attendance dropped 25%. In 99', the year after a lame Cubs wild card team, White Sox attendance dropped 5% from a whopping 1.4 million.

The lone exception was the 90' White Sox, after the Cubs got spanked in the 89' NLCS. The 90' squad produced a 100% increase in attendance. Why? because they were good, because it was the last year of Old Park, because they were a fun team, because the 89' team was really bad. None of those reasons had anything to do with what the Cubs did the previous year or the current year.

Wrigley field will draw 2.5 million people per year for the same reason there are two hour waits at Great America, Disney World, etc. Because Wrigley is the ultimate adult and kid amusement park.

Sox Park fills up because of the product, and Sox fans will not support a bad team! The simple fact is that the Cubs have a wider fan base than the White Sox, and the pivotal year was 1984. The Sox were actually turning the tide in the early 90's, but the strike year completely wiped that out. Remember the early-mid 90's? The only team with a better record from 90'-95' was the Atlanta Braves. Nothing to show for it except a AL West Champs t-shirt in 93'.

The Sox are in trouble, and they need a bigger year in 04' than in 03'. What the Cubs do is meaningless to the fiscal success of the White Sox. If they win early, AND they sustain it through August, then the Sox will draw well(over 2mil+). However, if they start slow and hang around the .500 mark or below, watch-out! The fire sale in Cincy & Pitt will look tame.

People like to point out that the Sox are in the 3rd largest market in baseball, and their payroll should dwarf the Twins. There are roughly 10 million people in the Chicago area, and I'll bet 6 or 7 people would call themselves Cub fans. Let's say then, that there are 3.5 million Sox fans in Chicago. The population of the Twin Cities is 3.5 million. That's why the Twins payroll is more like the Sox.

voodoochile
10-06-2003, 11:44 PM
Originally posted by booter14
the Voodoo theory won't hold up. In 85' the year after the Cubs were a few outs from the World Series, White Sox attendance dropped 25%. In 99', the year after a lame Cubs wild card team, White Sox attendance dropped 5% from a whopping 1.4 million.

The lone exception was the 90' White Sox, after the Cubs got spanked in the 89' NLCS. The 90' squad produced a 100% increase in attendance. Why? because they were good, because it was the last year of Old Park, because they were a fun team, because the 89' team was really bad. None of those reasons had anything to do with what the Cubs did the previous year or the current year.

Wrigley field will draw 2.5 million people per year for the same reason there are two hour waits at Great America, Disney World, etc. Because Wrigley is the ultimate adult and kid amusement park.

Sox Park fills up because of the product, and Sox fans will not support a bad team! The simple fact is that the Cubs have a wider fan base than the White Sox, and the pivotal year was 1984. The Sox were actually turning the tide in the early 90's, but the strike year completely wiped that out. Remember the early-mid 90's? The only team with a better record from 90'-95' was the Atlanta Braves. Nothing to show for it except a AL West Champs t-shirt in 93'.

The Sox are in trouble, and they need a bigger year in 04' than in 03'. What the Cubs do is meaningless to the fiscal success of the White Sox. If they win early, AND they sustain it through August, then the Sox will draw well(over 2mil+). However, if they start slow and hang around the .500 mark or below, watch-out! The fire sale in Cincy & Pitt will look tame.

People like to point out that the Sox are in the 3rd largest market in baseball, and their payroll should dwarf the Twins. There are roughly 10 million people in the Chicago area, and I'll bet 6 or 7 people would call themselves Cub fans. Let's say then, that there are 3.5 million Sox fans in Chicago. The population of the Twin Cities is 3.5 million. That's why the Twins payroll is more like the Sox.

You are correct, if the Flubbies are that far under capacity. This year they were over 93% sold and you can bet it will be 99% next year, IMO.

If there are a bunch of tickets left over for the casual fan, then no, it won't matter. It will only matter if the flubbies sell out all their games early in the season. I think that will be the case. Expect season ticket holders to mostly renew. Expect even more season ticket holders to jump in and expect scalpers to buy tickets like crazy early in the season. I fully expect them to be completely sold out before the first pitch is ever thrown.

The hype is going to be intense since they already won a playoff series...

washington
10-07-2003, 12:17 PM
I still think the whole "contraction" issue was a stunt by Selig and the owners to threaten the players' union with the loss of jobs if they didn't make concession. But aside from that, FWIW:

1. The state has spent, and continues to spend, millions of dollars on the team. If someone did try to move them there will be legal action by the city and state to try to stop it. The Twinkie-dome owners were initially successful last year in avoiding contraction (although the owners didn't continue to press for it)

2. Demographically, new residential construction south of the Loop has exploded, and extends to near 26th street. If it continues, 10 years from now the Cell may be in an area that's much more residential than it is now, which if the team ever decides to market itself competently could significantly increase attendance (like Wrigley in the early '80s)

3. No matter what the Flubs do this October, if the Sox ever win anything meaningful it cause a tremendous boost in attendance, ala the Halos this year, which drew over 3 M (up 31% from 2002)

Lip Man 1
10-07-2003, 12:37 PM
Just for the record:

The clause allowing the MLBPA to be able to go to court preventing owners from contracting teams ends after the current agreement ends in 2006.

As part of the new deal signed in August 2002, the MLBPA agreed to give up that right in the future. Meaning that after 2006, owners can do anything that they want involving contraction WITHOUT the MLBPA having anything to say about it.

So yes if the Twins, Expos, Devil Rays, Marlins, A's ect do not have new stadiums on line they could get whacked. (and some probably will)

Lip

GoSox2K3
10-07-2003, 12:49 PM
MLB can't even find a good home for the Expos, there is no way the White Sox are moving anytime soon. The Sox are more financially viable as the 2nd team in Chicago than other franchises are as the one and only teams in Milwaukee, Pittburgh, KC, Tampa, Montreal.

When the Sox won the AL West in '83, 2 million season attendance was hailed as a great milestone. Now, 2 million in attendance brings whispers of a failing franchise, contraction (at least in Gammon's mind), or a possible move. The problem is that too many players are demanding $10+million a year such that at franchises need to draw 3 million to be considered viable. I hope that MLB restores some semblance of competitive balance to the league some day.

Washington brings up a good point about the ongoing gentrification on the near South Side. This may be very beneficial to Sox attendance 5-10 years down the road.

GoSox2K3
10-07-2003, 01:01 PM
One thing that the Sox have really failed to do is attract many new fans. Is it me, or does it seem like the only Sox fans are the ones who grew up being Sox fans. I know many people that have moved to the Chicago area from elsewhere and just about all of them instantly become Cub fans. Most of them take up a disliking of or indifference to the Sox.

Interestingly, it seems to me that people who move here from elsewhere also generally dislike the Bears, Bulls, and Hawks - preferring to maintain a fierce allegiance to their old hometeam. So, I don't expect the Sox ever to be able to brainwash the masses like the Cubbies do, but it would help to attract some new fans.

ewokpelts
10-07-2003, 01:04 PM
the labor deal ends in 2007...but the league can enact contraction in 2006 if they like....any dealing about contraction after 2007 are subject to any new labor deal struck in 2007 or beyond

washington
10-07-2003, 01:10 PM
It's true that the Player's Union won't be able to challenge contraction, but IIRC in the case of the Twinkies it was the owners of the stadium, which had a long-term lease with the team, that challenged contraction and was initially successful. There is a long-term lease between the Sox and the Illinois Sports Facility Authority, which would likely challenge contraction. Who knows if it would be successful but given the amount of taxpayer $$$ sunk into that place just letting the team go would be politically dangerous

ewokpelts
10-07-2003, 01:10 PM
Originally posted by soxtalker
Well, why don't the Sox consider relocating some of their minor league franchises to the Chicago suburbs. This couldn't be done for the entire system. They have a good history with teams in cities in the SE, and not all of the minor league levels are covered in the suburb teams. But one or two?

MLB regulations prevent more than one mlb-affliliated minor league team being in any given market. That's why the cougars are the only "minor league" in town. The Flyers, Jackhammars, Cheetas and Railcats are "independent league" teams.
Gene

bc2k
10-07-2003, 01:45 PM
Originally posted by xil357
Putting a Rock Island Metra stop at IIT between 35th and 33rd Streets on the east side of the Dan Ryan fixes the problem for the Sox fans who have moved to the Southwest burbs from Chicago and the inner-ring burbs like Oak Lawn and Evergreen Park.

I'm surprised that such a station has not already been built.

The point is, there are enough reasons to build the station even without the benefit to the Sox and Sox fans.

It seems obvious to us, everyone in Oak Lawn and Evergreen as you said, and people in Mt. Greenwood and Beverly and Alsip and every other town that has access to Metra but do not want to take the red line from 95th because of the neighborhood.

The only reason I can think of why anyone would be opposed to such a simple change is JR would lose A LOT of parking revenue. OTOH, attendance would EASILY rise 100,000 people a season, so what JR loses in parking, he'd make up in ticket sales and in-park sales.

Iwritecode
10-07-2003, 01:51 PM
Originally posted by voodoochile
Actually, you won't be marketing to the "true flubbie fans" just as in the soda example, "true coke drinkers" would still pay the extra money and look far and wide for their favorite.

It is the casual fan and the tourist dollar that will be there for the grabbing. Mom and dad bring their two kids to Chicago on a vacation and try to get tickets to a flubbie game at "beautiful Wrigley Field" only to find out that there are no tickets available unless they want to pay $150/seat. Little Johnny and Janey still want to go to a baseball game because podunk, Nebraska doesn't have live baseball. What do they do? They go to see the Sox...

The only way this will happen is if people plan their vacations ahead of time. If they decide they want to go on vacation around a certain date, check and see that the Cubs are in town that weekend, and then find out that the games are already sold out or too expensive, then MAYBE, they will change their plans to come on a weekend the Sox are in town.

But if a family shows up in Chicago some weekend and decide to go to a game on a whim, they are going to have to take what they can get. That depends on which team is in town at that time.

I honestly have no idea which senario is more likely to occur.

I think the Sox attendance may increase some due to people being unable to go to Cubs games, but I don't think it will be that much. Instead of going to the game, most people will probably just hang around Wrigleyville and watch the game in one of the local watering holes or not go at all.

The example of coke/pepsi almost works except for the fact that consumers won't have to travel across town (to the *bad* part of town, this is mostly casual fans we're talking about remember)to get the substitute.

One last thing to remember is that there are millions of people every year willing to spend hundereds to get their kids into Disneyland. I don't think the Cubs raising their prices is going to affect them all that much. Especially with all the national attention they've already gotten...

voodoochile
10-07-2003, 02:07 PM
Originally posted by Iwritecode
The only way this will happen is if people plan their vacations ahead of time. If they decide they want to go on vacation around a certain date, check and see that the Cubs are in town that weekend, and then find out that the games are already sold out or too expensive, then MAYBE, they will change their plans to come on a weekend the Sox are in town.

But if a family shows up in Chicago some weekend and decide to go to a game on a whim, they are going to have to take what they can get. That depends on which team is in town at that time.

I honestly have no idea which senario is more likely to occur.

I think the Sox attendance may increase some due to people being unable to go to Cubs games, but I don't think it will be that much. Instead of going to the game, most people will probably just hang around Wrigleyville and watch the game in one of the local watering holes or not go at all.

The example of coke/pepsi almost works except for the fact that consumers won't have to travel across town (to the *bad* part of town, this is mostly casual fans we're talking about remember)to get the substitute.

One last thing to remember is that there are millions of people every year willing to spend hundereds to get their kids into Disneyland. I don't think the Cubs raising their prices is going to affect them all that much. Especially with all the national attention they've already gotten...

Excellent points all the way around. There are many factors at work in economics and mine is a very simplified system. Your points on perceptions that the SS is a bad neighborhood, the lack of Sox ticket availability when they aren't in town (as is usually the case when the Flubbies are) and difficulty in predicting how big of a swing it will make in over all attendance are all valid parts of the system.

Maybe I was too strong in my defense of the argument. I never meant to imply that this would lead to the Sox picking up an extra 500K seats next year. The difference will probably be no more than 50K and most of that from casual local fans looking for some fun who cannot get into Wrigley. Still there is a chance to grab those fans if the Sox are competitive. Then there is a chance to get repeat business from them later in the season or in following years. There is a small window that is opening and it won't make or break the Sox, but they have to be smart enough to grab it. There is going to be some fan backlash if the flubbies bump prices dramatically this off-season. The Sox have to market to the crowd looking for a good time at the game for a reasonable price, at least to some extent. They still need to put a good product on the field, have an active off-season to hold onto their current ST base and find a way to sell more ST packages.

Iwritecode
10-07-2003, 03:14 PM
Originally posted by voodoochile
Excellent points all the way around. There are many factors at work in economics and mine is a very simplified system. Your points on perceptions that the SS is a bad neighborhood, the lack of Sox ticket availability when they aren't in town (as is usually the case when the Flubbies are) and difficulty in predicting how big of a swing it will make in over all attendance are all valid parts of the system.

Maybe I was too strong in my defense of the argument. I never meant to imply that this would lead to the Sox picking up an extra 500K seats next year. The difference will probably be no more than 50K and most of that from casual local fans looking for some fun who cannot get into Wrigley. Still there is a chance to grab those fans if the Sox are competitive. Then there is a chance to get repeat business from them later in the season or in following years. There is a small window that is opening and it won't make or break the Sox, but they have to be smart enough to grab it. There is going to be some fan backlash if the flubbies bump prices dramatically this off-season. The Sox have to market to the crowd looking for a good time at the game for a reasonable price, at least to some extent. They still need to put a good product on the field, have an active off-season to hold onto their current ST base and find a way to sell more ST packages.

I agree that it will be a small window and the initial increase probably won't be that much. But do we really trust the Sox marketing department to realize what's happening and actually get those fans to come to the park?


How about his theory instead?

Win (and keep on winning) and the fans will show up. Then it won't matter what the Cubs do.

:)

voodoochile
10-07-2003, 03:20 PM
Originally posted by Iwritecode
I agree that it will be a small window and the initial increase probably won't be that much. But do we really trust the Sox marketing department to realize what's happening and actually get those fans to come to the park?


How about his theory instead?

Win (and keep on winning) and the fans will show up. Then it won't matter what the Cubs do.

:)

Oh that is definitely the best way to go about it. No, I don't necessarily trust the current ownership/management team to do what is necessary to make the Sox more successful. For now last year was an abberation with the Sox being buyers before the trade deadline and an increase in payroll. Time will tell if they will continue to follow the "golden road" or merely try to pick up the gold bricks that are lying there...

eriqjaffe
10-07-2003, 03:50 PM
Originally posted by Wsoxmike59
So while it appears we had a weak year at the gate with some 1.8M fans.....we probably had revenues equal to other teams that draw 2.5 or 2.6M fans

Gate revenue, sure. But what about the gravy that comes from concessions, merchandise and other in-park amenities? 30,000 $6 beers as opposed to 20,000? Over 81 games, you're looking at about $4,860,000 in additional revenue.

And that's just the beer. :)

Bottom line, as has been stated before, is that it's much more important for the Sox to put a winning team on the field than it is for the Cubs. Been that way for a long time, and I don't expect to see it change, maybe not in my lifetime.

But that holds true for most teams. Look at the attendance down in Tampa. They can't point their fingers at anybody but themselves. The Cubs are, luckily for them, an exception to that rule. Maybe the Cub-Love Pendulum will swing back to where it was in the late '70s, maybe not.

The Sox still have to put a good team on the field.

Mabye we'll be lucky enough to see it happen. :)

--Eriq.

KingXerxes
10-07-2003, 04:16 PM
Most teams that have moved in the past have done so for one of two reasons:

#1. Bad teams which aggravated an already thin fan base. (Philadelphia Athletics, St. Louis Browns, Boston Braves, Washington Senators I, and Washington Senators II)

#2. Decent enough teams that had run-down ballparks and crappy attendance and were made offers by other cities with new facilities. (Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants, Kansas City Athletics).

Exceptions - The Seattle Pilots (who sucked, but were an expansion team and may have had a decent fan base - we'll never know, their stadium was terrible) and The Milwaukee Braves (good team - good attendance - better offer from Atlanta).

The White Sox are definitely not the first profile, nor are they the second. Now that all being said - if they finish 60 - 102 for the next ten years - then maybe they have a problem, otherwise they're not going anywhere.

Montreal fits profile #2 (and it's my absolutely fervent hope that they become Washington Senators III - who can then one day move to Portland), Tampa Bay (#1), and Minnesota (#2).

voodoochile
10-07-2003, 04:19 PM
Originally posted by KingXerxes
Most teams that have moved in the past have done so for one of two reasons:

#1. Bad teams which aggravated an already thin fan base. (Philadelphia Athletics, St. Louis Browns, Boston Braves, Washington Senators I, and Washington Senators II)

#2. Decent enough teams that had run-down ballparks and crappy attendance and were made offers by other cities with new facilities. (Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants, Kansas City Athletics).

Exceptions - The Seattle Pilots (who sucked, but were an expansion team and may have had a decent fan base - we'll never know, their stadium was terrible) and The Milwaukee Braves (good team - good attendance - better offer from Atlanta).

The White Sox are definitely not the first profile, nor are they the second. Now that all being said - if they finish 60 - 102 for the next ten years - then maybe they have a problem, otherwise they're not going anywhere.

Montreal fits profile #2 (and it's my absolutely fervent hope that they become Washington Senators III - who can then one day move to Portland), Tampa Bay (#1), and Minnesota (#2).

The Sox just signed a 20 year lease extension. No way they leave Chicago before then. It just isn't going to happen.

KingXerxes
10-07-2003, 04:25 PM
I have never seen a lease deal do anything - one way or another - to keep a team put (escape clauses and overgeneralized language usually abound). That all being said, I agree that the White Sox aren't going anywhere.

voodoochile
10-07-2003, 04:36 PM
Originally posted by KingXerxes
I have never seen a lease deal do anything - one way or another - to keep a team put (escape clauses and overgeneralized language usually abound). That all being said, I agree that the White Sox aren't going anywhere.

The lease in the Metrodome would have prevented the Twinkies from folding.

KingXerxes
10-07-2003, 04:38 PM
Until it was actually contested.

soxtalker
10-07-2003, 04:44 PM
Originally posted by voodoochile
Oh that is definitely the best way to go about it. No, I don't necessarily trust the current ownership/management team to do what is necessary to make the Sox more successful. For now last year was an abberation with the Sox being buyers before the trade deadline and an increase in payroll. Time will tell if they will continue to follow the "golden road" or merely try to pick up the gold bricks that are lying there...

Has anyone made an estimate of what the Sox attendance might have been without the mid-season trades and, thus, what extra revenue can be attributed to them?

ode to veeck
10-07-2003, 09:31 PM
I have never seen a lease deal do anything - one way or another - to keep a team put (escape clauses and overgeneralized language usually abound). That all being said, I agree that the White Sox aren't going anywhere

If Al Davis were the owner on a newly signed lease, the signing of a new lease would actually be an indicator of a potentialy imminent move ;-)

xil357
10-07-2003, 11:19 PM
Originally posted by voodoochile
The lease in the Metrodome would have prevented the Twinkies from folding.

That f'-ing Metrodome again. If not for that RollerDome, the Sox would be in the playoffs this year (and last year) in many more ways than one!!! And I'm not putting this in teal on purpose!