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infohawk
04-10-2004, 03:16 PM
Something Hawk said during the game caused me to think about the Sox fanbase. Hawk mentioned that the Yankees have already sold 3 million tickets for 2004. Obviously, they have a devoted ticket-purchasing fanbase. I have always been under the assumption that the Sox have a somewhat sizable fanbase, but have struggled in translating that into actual tickets purchased. Information I have seen in the past leads me to beleive that the Sox have an extremely healthy television viewership as evidenced by past broadcast revenue figures.

The failure to sell out games each year could be for reasons stated frequently in the media and on this board (quality of product, attitude of management, bad marketing, "the park"), but it would be interesting to be able to dig deeper into the demographic/attitudes of Sox fans in the Chicagoland area to determine the level of importance attributed to actually attending games versus watching them on t.v. or following the team on the news, etc. I suppose what I would be really interested in finding out is if the Sox would still struggle to fill the park on a consistent basis (emphasis on consistent) even if they were in first place througout an entire season. Again, not just a consistent attendance spike, but capacity or near-capacity crowds.

What do you guys think? Being new to the board, I apologize if this has already been discussed to death.

CubKilla
04-10-2004, 03:24 PM
You'd probably be surprised at how many Sox fans refuse to go to USCF until either JR sells or dies. The '94 Strike and the '97 White Flag Trade are a few of the reasons a bunch of White Sox fans I know have not gone to and will not go to another Sox game until one of the two aforementioned events occur.

I myself have had a butt full of JR's crap and after an offseason of nothing followed by ticket price increases, concession increases, and parking increases, I have stated and will stand by my decision to not pay for one Sox game this season until July depending on where the Sox are in the standings AND if JR allows KW to make quality moves if the team is in contention. It pains me to not attend games at USCF since I love baseball and since I love the Sox. I just cannot keep forking over my money though to an owner who obviously doesn't give a crap about his dwindling fanbase 6 months a year.

joecrede
04-10-2004, 03:35 PM
Originally posted by CubKilla
You'd probably be surprised at how many Sox fans refuse to go to USCF until either JR sells or dies.

Nobody I know feels this way.

Could the Sox be owned by by somebody better? Sure, but he's simply no better or worse than the majority of MLB owners.

CubKilla
04-10-2004, 03:36 PM
Originally posted by joecrede
Nobody I know feels this way.

Could the Sox be owned by by somebody better? Sure, but he's simply no better or worse than the majority of MLB owners.

I know 6 just off the top of my head..... not including my father.

HomeFish
04-10-2004, 03:38 PM
Originally posted by CubKilla
I have stated and will stand by my decision to not pay for one Sox game this season until July depending on where the Sox are in the standings AND if JR allows KW to make quality moves if the team is in contention. It pains me to not attend games at USCF since I love baseball and since I love the Sox. I just cannot keep forking over my money though to an owner who obviously doesn't give a crap about his dwindling fanbase 6 months a year.

I envy people who can make that committment and keep it.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to. During the offseason, I kept telling myself that I would not go to any home games this year, that I would not support cheapnesss and compromise. That lasted about a day; I ran off and got my ticket for the first Thursday homegame late last week. The ballpark is just too addictive for me.

JohnBasedowYoda
04-10-2004, 04:31 PM
I love going to games but it's sorta an allday even. Have to leave an hour and a half to make sure traffic doesn't kill ya, and by the time you get home it's another hour or so. That's a six hour even for a surburbanite. If i ever mover back to the city the amount of games i attend will jump up. Till then can't really do more than 10 or so a year.

Plus at home you got your own personal skybox. There's an appeal to that as well

npdempse
04-10-2004, 04:45 PM
Do you have a source for the broadcast revenue stats? I'd be interested to see them.

pearso66
04-10-2004, 05:36 PM
I'd love to go to more ball games, but this year I probably wont be able to attend until July, as I have a Summer class. But once I'm done, I'll be done with school, and hopefully find a job in the Northern IL area. Plus with the money I'll be making, I'll be able to afford more than 1-2 games a season.

MarqSox
04-10-2004, 05:40 PM
Originally posted by joecrede
Nobody I know feels this way.

Could the Sox be owned by by somebody better? Sure, but he's simply no better or worse than the majority of MLB owners.
I've also never met anyone (aside from on this board) who cares about JR.

infohawk
04-10-2004, 06:01 PM
I can't recall where I saw the broadcast revenue numbers. It would have been several months ago and I want to say that the Sox were one of the more profitable teams in terms of broadcast revenue. I remember being surprised at the time. If I come across the numbers I'll be sure to post them.

This attendance topic fascinates me because I'm just not convinced that, at least with regard to the White Sox, consistently high ballpark attendance is the definitive sign of strong fan support. Conversely, while I certainly believe there is a significant fan base for the Cubs within the Chicagoland area, I don't necessarily think that high attendance rates at Wrigley in and of itself offers proof of this. I think it is more likely that the location of Wrigley and the possibly (I'm assuming) higher disposable income in that area leads to high attendance rates. In other words, convenience and money.

I guess I'm interested in demolishing what in may in fact be myths.

Myth #1 -- There just aren't enough Sox fans, so the low numbers alone will be a detriment to ever filling the park.

Myth #2 -- The Cubs are more beloved within the Chicagoland area and we know this because of attendance at Wrigley even when the Cubs are losing.

Myth #3 -- If the Sox are winning the fans will come out all season. Therefore, if attendance is low it must be because management isn't committed to winning and the fans know it.

Don't misunderstand, I'm really not interested in making comparisons to the Cubs with respect to the "rivalry." I do think that referencing the experience of Cub attendance could prove a useful tool to learn more about our fan base. I wonder if the Sox undertake comprehensive surveys/polls of the fan base to determine their overall attitudes about the Sox and attending games versus watching them on television (not just what they think of USCF.)? I'd be surprised if they didn't.

soxtalker
04-10-2004, 06:37 PM
Originally posted by JohnBasedowYoda
I love going to games but it's sorta an allday even. Have to leave an hour and a half to make sure traffic doesn't kill ya, and by the time you get home it's another hour or so. That's a six hour even for a surburbanite. If i ever mover back to the city the amount of games i attend will jump up. Till then can't really do more than 10 or so a year.

Plus at home you got your own personal skybox. There's an appeal to that as well

I've been convinced for awhile that the location and traffic patterns have a lot to do with the attendance problems. From what areas can one get to either ball park easily?

For the cell, you can draw from downtown (most easily via public transportation) and neaby southside neighborhoods. Everything else is pretty tough, as the expressways get pretty congested near game times during the week.

For Wrigley, you can draw from downtown and nearby north and northwest city neighborhoods. It's also easier for affluent north and northwest suburbs.

The areas around Wrigley currently are more upscale and full of young professionals that will go to the games. That will change in the next few years, as the near south side experiences growth.

Lip Man 1
04-10-2004, 11:08 PM
I have many relatives in the Chicago area who are long time Sox fans who refuse to attend games in person until good ole Uncle Jerry is pushing up the daiseys.

Long time sports writer and devoted Sox fan Bill Gleason once wrote a column shortly before he retired stating Sox attendence will go up one third the minute good ole Uncle Jerry says he's had enough.

I believe him completely.

Lip

Dan H
04-11-2004, 07:47 AM
It has been my contention that the Sox fanbase has been slowly eroding for decades. For every step forward, two were taken backwards. The 1994 strike hurt the Sox more than any other team, because many truly royal fans were turned off completely. The White Flag Trade just made things worse.

Fans have argued that attendance will increase once the team wins. But the attendance for the 2000 Sox does not indicate that. The attendance for that year was the lowest of three divison winners. It was even slighlty lower than the 1990 team that finished second. (Though some came out just to see Old Comiskey for the last time.)

The White Sox have a chance to turn this around. They can start by not hinting that their fans are ingrates and fly-by-nights. They can also stop saying "I told you so" every time they have a little success.

The rennovationsare a good sign because they finally listened to criitics of New Comiskey. (those critics were right all along including the upper deck issue.) Now if this good start is an indication that this team can actually win something, they can make some late season moves to truly show they want more than winning the wimpy Central. It is up to them,not us.

sas1974
04-11-2004, 09:22 AM
I try to attend as many games as I can. Surprisingly the one thing that I have discovered is that when I go to games there is a team playing on the field. I don't go to watch the team's owner and have in fact rarely seen him. I don't spend time staring up into the owner's box. I watch the game and support my team. I understand that I am putting money in Uncle Jerry's pocket, but so what. If JR even did sell to someone else, I am sure plenty of you guys would find reason's not to go to those games too bc of something he did. I am not getting caught up in all of that crap. It's all about the baseball. There is nothing like being at the park, cheering on the Sox to a victory.

I know some of you guys have your reasons for not going and that's fine. I can respect those reasons, I just don't agree.

TornLabrum
04-11-2004, 09:39 AM
Originally posted by sas1974
I try to attend as many games as I can. Surprisingly the one thing that I have discovered is that when I go to games there is a team playing on the field. I don't go to watch the team's owner and have in fact rarely seen him. I don't spend time staring up into the owner's box. I watch the game and support my team. I understand that I am putting money in Uncle Jerry's pocket, but so what. If JR even did sell to someone else, I am sure plenty of you guys would find reason's not to go to those games too bc of something he did. I am not getting caught up in all of that crap. It's all about the baseball. There is nothing like being at the park, cheering on the Sox to a victory.

I know some of you guys have your reasons for not going and that's fine. I can respect those reasons, I just don't agree.

I don't think you'll find too many of the people who post here not going to games. I did my protest in 1995 after the strike by only going to about 5-6 games.

sas1974
04-11-2004, 10:31 AM
Originally posted by TornLabrum
I don't think you'll find too many of the people who post here not going to games. I did my protest in 1995 after the strike by only going to about 5-6 games.

I agree that most here probably do go when they can. I will note that I am far from a JR sympathizer, but people can't complain that we don't go out and sign people while not supporting the team financially. I don't know how much money JR is making off of this team. And despite the various attempts by members here to illustrate how much money JR is bringing in, I don't think anyone else really knows either. No one can argue that the more people that attend, the money the team will have to spend. Whether or not they actually spend it on the team is another story of course.

CubKilla
04-11-2004, 10:53 AM
Originally posted by sas1974
No one can argue that the more people that attend, the money the team will have to spend. Whether or not they actually spend it on the team is another story of course.

Sox fans showed up, for the most part, during the second-half of last season after a dreadful start and how were the fans repaid this offseason? I rest my case.

Whitesox029
04-11-2004, 07:09 PM
Originally posted by HomeFish
I envy people who can make that committment and keep it.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to. During the offseason, I kept telling myself that I would not go to any home games this year, that I would not support cheapnesss and compromise. That lasted about a day; I ran off and got my ticket for the first Thursday homegame late last week. The ballpark is just too addictive for me.
Ditto. JR's...caution with money is not enough to make me actually not want to see the Sox. I have actually told myself that I will never leave this city as long as the Sox remain in it. Sox Park is like a second home to me and it always has been. The other Sox fans at the park are all my friends as far as I'm concerned, and I'm just as comfortable walking the concourse there as I am the hallways of my own home. It's a feeling I can't describe, a feeling that I belong there, a feeling I have nowhere else except at my own house. To not go would be as unnatural as trying to eat through my nose. I imagine a good number, if not all of you guys at WSI feel the same way. I simply could not live without baseball, specifically the Sox. If the Sox were to move to another city it would literally be like a death in my family. I have a tremendous amount of pride in being a Sox fan. Don't get me wrong, I'm not glorifying the tradition of losing; I'm just as cynical as any other Sox fan out there. But the allure of Sox park and being able to watch the Sox play is just too much to not go just because the owner is charging too much. There will never be a season that passes without my being an institution at 35th & Shields unless it becomes financially impossible for me to go without becoming one of those guys with the drums outside the park. After all, who else am I going to watch in this town? The Blackhawks?

batmanZoSo
04-11-2004, 07:17 PM
Originally posted by JohnBasedowYoda
I love going to games but it's sorta an allday even. Have to leave an hour and a half to make sure traffic doesn't kill ya, and by the time you get home it's another hour or so. That's a six hour even for a surburbanite. If i ever mover back to the city the amount of games i attend will jump up. Till then can't really do more than 10 or so a year.

Plus at home you got your own personal skybox. There's an appeal to that as well

It takes me a half hour to reach 35th on 94 and I live in Chicago Heights, which is at the southern end of Cook county. The average inbound traffic is not that bad at 6. It can't be harder than driving through the neihborhood to get to Wrigley.

joecrede
04-11-2004, 07:24 PM
Originally posted by CubKilla
Sox fans showed up, for the most part, during the second-half of last season after a dreadful start and how were the fans repaid this offseason? I rest my case.

How well did Sox fans show up on regular priced nights?

patbooyah
04-11-2004, 08:00 PM
i know someone who owns a stake in the team and he says he always makes money off of it. i have a sneaking suspicion jerry could find a way to spend a bit more on, say, a starting pitcher.

Lip Man 1
04-11-2004, 10:41 PM
Pat:

If you could e-mail me with the name and address/ phone number or e-mail address of your friend. I'll like to contact him to see if he'd talk to WSI in an interview.

Contact me at: mliptak1@ida.net

Lip

TornLabrum
04-11-2004, 10:46 PM
Originally posted by patbooyah
i know someone who owns a stake in the team and he says he always makes money off of it. i have a sneaking suspicion jerry could find a way to spend a bit more on, say, a starting pitcher.

Pat, the problem there is that if Uncle Jer did that, then the investors wouldn't be making money off their investment. It's all a matter of priorities (which is what I tell people who ask me why I commute 85 miles one way to work while living 35 miles from The Cell.)

CubKilla
04-11-2004, 11:42 PM
Originally posted by joecrede
How well did Sox fans show up on regular priced nights?

Pretty nicely..... especially on Saturday's and Sunday's.

joeynach
04-12-2004, 12:21 AM
I think it has a lot to do with demographics as well as income. You see my family is a middle class family living quietly in the south suburb of Flossmoor. A nice little town with a lot of wealthier people. Most of these wealthy people are sox fans, season ticket holders, and country clubs dwellers. By no means can we afford season tickets. We actually just purchased that new Marguee plan to go to six games and i personally will make it to a few more on half price nites and other value days. I think a lot of the sox fans are this way. Id say a majority of sox fans are of mixed background with mixed income. Where as the majority of cub fans are white and on the upper middle class to wealthy side. This is a big difference since ticlket prices go up, parking goes up, and concessions go up all 10x faster than the inflation rate. Adding this up it takes a lot of $$ now for people and families to attend games. Money is usually the deciding factor on everything we do, as with attending sox games. Dont get me wrong i love goin to the ballpark, its a great time. I would rather do that then spend $50 to see a some punk band rock concert. But i am satiesfied with watching the other 150 games i cant go to on TV.

Another thing you have to look at is location. My suburb is about 22 miles south of the loop. Thats pretty far. Yet it takes me no more than 25 or 30 minutes to get to the park. I fly up 57 or the Bishop Ford at night and then get to head in the opposite direction of rush hour on the Ryan to the park. Furthermore, i get to exit 35th street coming from the south so the backup and time it takes to get off and get parked is minimal compared to the people coming the other direction. At 7 pm 94 is a headace not to metntion the queue that forms for the exit at 35th. I think this has a lot to do with it since a mojority of the suburban population live either west or north of the city. So everyone else has to come through the loop on 94 get stuck in rush hour and then incurr a massive queue. This would easily deter me from coming to the park. Basically wasting time and fuel to get there. I am lucky i live on the south suburbs, but they are not very popular or densly populated so Id say a lot of our fans, unlike me, have to come through heavy traffic just to get to the stadium. Conversly this is why its a headache for me to go to wrigley, the traffic coming through the loop or on LSD, i hate it. Which is why the most densily populated chicago areas the north and west sides have a lot of wrigley patrons. Most dont have to go throught the loop or deal with LSD, easier for them.

SSN721
04-12-2004, 07:09 AM
Last year I lived in LaGrange Park, I probably went to about 15 games last year and most were 7PM starts. I would drive on regular streets til I got to 55 and would take that into the city and usually get off at Ashland to avoid the major traffic on 94 to get to the park. I think that at that time of day if you are coming from the west, southwest, southern burbs you will be able to get to the park much easier because traffic seems to flow much much better from there. I live in Lakeview now and I work in Schaumburg, so I really can understand how much of a pain in the ass it is to commute down 90 in the afternoon and that is why I didnt go to nearly as many Sox games as I do now when I lived in the NW burbs. It was just too difficult. Now that I live right by the el I plan on going to many more games then last year since I can just hop on the train and take it down to the park. SO considering accessability, I think that is one of the things that really hampers attendence, I think that that extra few miles south from the loop really cuts down on potential attendence because it is a headache for the majority of the metro population to get to. Not that I am advocating a new location, I think there is too much history where Comiskey is to up and move it on a whim, I just hope that the changes happening around the park will be noticed by peopel that maybe go to one or two games a year and dispel the notions that it is in such a "bad area" to uninformed people. I am just really looking forward to Tuesday, cant wait to see the changes. :cool:

Iwritecode
04-12-2004, 12:06 PM
Originally posted by Dan H
Fans have argued that attendance will increase once the team wins. But the attendance for the 2000 Sox does not indicate that. The attendance for that year was the lowest of three divison winners. It was even slighlty lower than the 1990 team that finished second. (Though some came out just to see Old Comiskey for the last time.)

IIRC, the 2000 attendance was over a 40% increase from 1999. They averaged 11,000 walk-ups per game.

With the season ticket base being quite low that year because of the horrible 99 season and not much hope for the 2000 season I actually think the attendance was great.

Had they followed up with another divison title in 2001, you would really have started to see the effects a winning team can have on attendance.

jeremyb1
04-12-2004, 12:35 PM
I find it funny that people don't go to games as a matter of principle or to screw JR. The handful of games one would go to in a year isn't really going to make a difference. JR isn't going to sell the team any time soon regardless of attendance. If people want a larger payroll they should go to games and encourage others to as well instead of sitting at home pouting. The only person that is really hurting all the much is the one who misses out on the joy of going to the ballpark in my opinion.

anewman35
04-12-2004, 01:01 PM
Originally posted by CubKilla
Sox fans showed up, for the most part, during the second-half of last season after a dreadful start and how were the fans repaid this offseason?

A payroll that's $10 million or so more than last year's.

Lip Man 1
04-12-2004, 01:15 PM
Jeremy says: "The handful of games one would go to in a year isn't really going to make a difference."

But it depends on how many people are staying away because of good ole Uncle Jerry doesn't it? There could be enough in a city population area of eight million to make a significant difference couldn't it?

Anewman says: "A payroll that's $10 million or so more than last year's."

Only because certain players were arbitration eligible and either got raises or were signed to new deals. Plus Ordonez's last year of his contract included a significant raise. Overall this team is weaker then last season's. (Have you looked at the people populating the bullpen recently? How about Danny "I Can't Pitch" Wright in the starting rotation??)

Lip

anewman35
04-12-2004, 01:18 PM
Originally posted by Lip Man 1
Anewman says: "A payroll that's $10 million or so more than last year's."

Only because certain players were arbitration eligible and either got raises or were signed to new deals. Plus Ordonez's last year of his contract included a significant raise. Overall this team is weaker then last season's. (Have you looked at the people populating the bullpen recently? How about Danny "I Can't Pitch" Wright in the starting rotation??)


That's totally besides the point. I'm not saying this team is better, or that we're spending the money wisely, but we are spending more. I remember a few months ago, everybody thought we were going to massively dump salary. We didn't. A $10 million increase in payroll is like 17% over last year. That's a lot.

infohawk
04-12-2004, 01:54 PM
It seems like we have a significant number of fans that evaluate the quality of a team based upon the size of its payroll versus the quality of its players.

A high payroll doesn't necessary equate into a superior team. A team could have a high payroll because it awarded a series of ill-advised bloated contracts to undeserving players. Conversely, a team can have a relatively low payroll because of well-structured contracts that actually reflect what a player is worth to a team. In my view, the total dollar amount of a payroll is largely irrelevant to the potential for success (i.e., Oakland, Florida, 2002 Angels). I think a better way to look at payroll is in its overall distribution over a team and based upon the actual value of a player. While Alex Rodriquez is probably the best player in baseball, I will never be convinced he is actually worth his contract.

I am less concerned about our $64 million dollar payroll than the lack of a more equitable distribution of that money over the team. Spent wisely, a $64 million dollar payroll can take a team a long way. The lion's share of payroll, however, is presently allocated toward Ordonez, Valentin, Konerko, Thomas, Lee and Koch ($40-50 million?). Crede, Harris, Olivo, Alomar, Jr., Loaiza (Buerhle?) are bargains. Obviously, some of these players are better than others. The problem the Sox have is that there isn't enough money left over for the 4th and 5th starter spot or more bullpen help.

While it would be terrific to just raise the payroll at the start of the season, it isn't absolutely necessary. I think the key is to have enough financial flexibility to make a move by the trade deadline. I fully expect the Sox to do so. Even with our flaws, the Sox have a good enough team to be in the hunt in the Central by the trade deadline and make a move for pitching (or whatever). The Sox would then get the help they need without having to pay the player for a full season.

The overall salary market has become largely overvalued over the past several years. Only now are we beginning to exprerience something akin to a "market correction."

Dan H
04-12-2004, 04:54 PM
Originally posted by Iwritecode
IIRC, the 2000 attendance was over a 40% increase from 1999. They averaged 11,000 walk-ups per game.

With the season ticket base being quite low that year because of the horrible 99 season and not much hope for the 2000 season I actually think the attendance was great.

Had they followed up with another divison title in 2001, you would really have started to see the effects a winning team can have on attendance.

I agree with you that the attendance figure in 2000 was good, but you wouldn't have known it with the way the media bashed fans that year especially when crowds were disappointing in September.

The problem was your analysis is that attendance was going to increase some if the Sox had any kind of good season in 2000. My point is that attendance was better in other successful years, and would have been even better in 2000 if the fan base hadn't eroded some.

And sadly, the Sox don't seem to like success. After every division winning season, there was a bad year. So you are right about one thing: Consistent winning would help attendance. It is just that the Sox don't win consistently.

The debate over attendance will really end if the ball club starts a real winning tradition which will include a World Series. Then we will truly see if there is a real attendance problem or not. Until then, I still believe the attendance problem has been long in the making and it didn't start with Jerry Reinsdorf.

Lip Man 1
04-12-2004, 09:22 PM
Anewman says: "That's totally besides the point. I'm not saying this team is better, or that we're spending the money wisely, but we are spending more."

But it's because the Sox basically HAD to not because they WANTED to. Big difference... with those arbitration eligible players they were going to get a raise regardless, the only question was how much of a raise. The Sox perhaps felt they were going to lose those cases so they signed the to new deals. We all know how good ole Uncle Jery feels about the players union and agents so I have a very hard time believing he did this out of the goodness of his heart.

And if he really wanted to prove a point to Sox fans he would have raised the payroll enough to retain some of his key missing free agents including what he basically was forced to do.

A strong counter offer to Colon would have been a nice start but after the Sox made their initial offer it was strangely quiet wasn't it?

Lip

TornLabrum
04-12-2004, 09:28 PM
Originally posted by Lip Man 1
Anewman says: "That's totally besides the point. I'm not saying this team is better, or that we're spending the money wisely, but we are spending more."

But it's because the Sox basically HAD to not because they WANTED to. Big difference... with those arbitration eligible players they were going to get a raise regardless, the only question was how much of a raise. The Sox perhaps felt they were going to lose those cases so they signed the to new deals. We all know how good ole Uncle Jery feels about the players union and agents so I have a very hard time believing he did this out of the goodness of his heart.

And if he really wanted to prove a point to Sox fans he would have raised the payroll enough to retain some of his key missing free agents including what he basically was forced to do.

A strong counter offer to Colon would have been a nice start but after the Sox made their initial offer it was strangely quiet wasn't it?

Lip

It's also important to remember that until the ARod deal fell through, the Sox were supposedly trying to dump Ordonez, Konerko, or Thomas to get their payroll down to Uncle Jer's self-imposed $58-million limit. Expect that to come back and haunt Kenny Williams in July when he might have to pay more the the MLB minimum to stock up for the stretch drive if we're not down by 3.5 games.