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elrod
06-01-2004, 12:25 AM
This is not a thread to bitch about attendance but to explain how the Sox attendance picture has looked historically.

The Sox attendance per game over the past several years is:
2003: 23,945 ranks 9th out of 14
2002 20,703 10th out of 14
2001 21,805 12th out of 14
2000 24,047 9th out of 14
1999 16,529 13th out of 14
1998 16,965 12th out of 14
1997 23,022 8th out of 14
1996 20,696 9th out of 14
1995 22,358 9th out of 14
1994 32,026 5th out of 14
1993 31,865 3rd out of 14
1992 32,697 3rd out of 14
1991 36,224 2nd out of 14
1990 25,029 8th out of 14
1989 13,071 14th out of 14
1988 13,775 13th out of 14
1987 14,914 12th out of 14
1986 17,584 10th out of 14
1985 20,616 8th out of 14
1984 26,383 3rd out of 14
1983 26,331 4th out of 14
1982 19,597 9th out of 14
1981 19,319 9th out of 14
1980 14,819 10th out of 14

A few conclusions jump out. The Sox attendance has gone up when the team has played well and when it went into the new ballpark. Usually the performance bump lasts for a second year as hopeful fans buy season tickets, thus 1984 as good as 1983. 1991-1994 was a combination of a good team and a new ballpark. Sox attendance goes down because the team starts losing and because of a few seminal events: JR talking of moving the team in the mid-80s, the Strike, the White Flag trade.

Compare this with the Cubs (I won't list all the data) and the difference is striking. Like the Sox, Cubs attendance goes up when they win. Late 60s/early 70s much better than mid-60s. 1984/85 much better than earlier 80s. But the longterm trends - averaging in the teens in the 1970s, the twenties in the 1980s, and the thirties in the 1990s and 2000s reflect changes in the neighborhood, not the team. Wrigleyville was not a "desirable" place in 1980 like it is in 2004. The area around the Cell will never be like Wrigleyville no matter how extensive the recent Southside gentrification advances. And then there's the "historic" nature of Wrigley, especially after the other older parks disappeared and "old" became hip again.

The only way for the White Sox to gain and keep attendance is to win. We don't have, and will never have, the intangibles of Wrigley Field, much as I like to disparage them. The Cell will never be a premier tourist destination (it will be a secondary one but never a prime city landmark) and the neighborhood will never bring thousands of visitors in its own right (for good or for ill). Adding bells and whistles, better parking, Metra, new pricing arrangements, stadium improvements will merit marginal attendance gains. Let's face it, the Cell has never been a bad ballpark to see a baseball game. It's just not a particularly great place to go NOT to watch a baseball game. More people go to Wrigley NOT to watch a baseball, meaning the net number of people actually watching baseball at Wrigley and the Cell is roughly even (or even in favor of the Cell). So the way to improve attendance at the Cell is to make more people want to watch THE TEAM. And that means winning. Well, they're winning now. So I suspect that, unless the team collapses, our attendance will surpass 25,000 per game by the end of the season. And if we don't fold like 2001, attendance could go up to the high 20s next year. Oh, and if JR were a smart businessman, he'd see that investing in a winner will bring out the fans. It has historically and will in the future (barring another PR catastrophe).

Hopefully this puts some perspective on all the BS out there about Sox attendance. Like most places fans want to see a winner. Look at attendance figures for every team - with the exception of brand-new ballparks, attendance goes up when a team wins and down when a team loses. The White Sox are no different. Win and they will come.

inta
06-01-2004, 12:35 AM
... and in other news, Alaska is now a state...

Irishsox1
06-01-2004, 07:25 AM
The city of Chicago is basically divided into two types of fans, fans who show up when the team is good and fans who show up no matter what. Right now, the Cubs are getting all of the fans, (Out of towners, die-hards, bandwagon, work related) while the Sox are getting there little share of die-hard fans and the fans who show up once the weather clears or the team show promise. The tide will turn, but it will take a while. As for this year, Wrigley Field is like a frat party on steroids.

nasox
06-01-2004, 08:03 AM
Originally posted by inta
... and in other news, Alaska is now a state...

......also discovered today: the ocean has water!!.......

fledgedrallycap
06-01-2004, 08:30 AM
If the Sox keep on winning and the weather Gods put aside their hatred for our Pale Hose; it will be a nice summer for attendance on the Southside - it is that simple.

joeynach
06-01-2004, 08:51 AM
Originally posted by fledgedrallycap
If the Sox keep on winning and the weather Gods put aside their hatred for our Pale Hose; it will be a nice summer for attendance on the Southside - it is that simple.

We win and instead of averaging 22,000 we average 27,000 oh man look out. There is the bigtime attendance boom we are looking for. Last year that is exactly what happened. 1st half we avereged in the low 20ks and 2nd half, when we were in 1st we average in the upper 20ks. Still not overwhelming. This team just has trouble drawing, period. There is too much negative that has surrounded this team for the past 15 years. The stadium, the neighborhood, the media, the ownership, the white flag trade, the strike, the losing. Its not enough to conclude that ok if we are winning and in 1st we will see numbers like we did in 93 and 94, no way.

GoSox2K3
06-01-2004, 08:55 AM
Originally posted by elrod

The Sox attendance per game over the past several years is:
2003: 23,945 ranks 9th out of 14
2002 20,703 10th out of 14
2001 21,805 12th out of 14
2000 24,047 9th out of 14
1999 16,529 13th out of 14
1998 16,965 12th out of 14
1997 23,022 8th out of 14
1996 20,696 9th out of 14
1995 22,358 9th out of 14
1994 32,026 5th out of 14
1993 31,865 3rd out of 14
1992 32,697 3rd out of 14
1991 36,224 2nd out of 14
1990 25,029 8th out of 14

....and 2004 attendance avg. for season to date is 20,539. This time last year, the avg. for season to date was 16,480.

So, if the Sox keep playing well, they have a good chance to improve on last year's season totals.

Tragg
06-01-2004, 09:26 AM
Does anyone know how JRs media deals compare with the rest of the league? I know they aren't close to the Yankees but I'd have to think they are easily in the top 1/3 and are pretty signficant in raw dollars.

batmanZoSo
06-01-2004, 09:27 AM
Originally posted by joeynach
We win and instead of averaging 22,000 we average 27,000 oh man look out. There is the bigtime attendance boom we are looking for. Last year that is exactly what happened. 1st half we avereged in the low 20ks and 2nd half, when we were in 1st we average in the upper 20ks. Still not overwhelming. This team just has trouble drawing, period. There is too much negative that has surrounded this team for the past 15 years. The stadium, the neighborhood, the media, the ownership, the white flag trade, the strike, the losing. Its not enough to conclude that ok if we are winning and in 1st we will see numbers like we did in 93 and 94, no way.

Okay, Mariotti. Do you expect attendance to go from 22,000 to 37,000 in one year? It's a process and you have to keep winning to fix it. The problem is we can never do that, it's always one year and back to being mediocre. If the Sox win the division twice in a row starting this year, by 2006 we'll probably be drawing 29,000 a game. We're not looking for a Jacobs field kind of thing, just in the 2.1-2.4 per year range which would actually give the the team the money it needs to go after good players.

Dan H
06-01-2004, 09:42 AM
Originally posted by joeynach
We win and instead of averaging 22,000 we average 27,000 oh man look out. There is the bigtime attendance boom we are looking for. Last year that is exactly what happened. 1st half we avereged in the low 20ks and 2nd half, when we were in 1st we average in the upper 20ks. Still not overwhelming. This team just has trouble drawing, period. There is too much negative that has surrounded this team for the past 15 years. The stadium, the neighborhood, the media, the ownership, the white flag trade, the strike, the losing. Its not enough to conclude that ok if we are winning and in 1st we will see numbers like we did in 93 and 94, no way.

I agree with much of this assessment. I think the team's attendance problems are deep rooted and even go back further than 15 years.

As a fan, I don't worry about attendance. Let the team's front office worry about it. Right now the Sox are doing much better than I thought, and I just hope it continues. But people are in deep denial if they think that some success will be a cure all for this team. More work needs to be done.

batmanZoSo
06-01-2004, 09:57 AM
Originally posted by Dan H
I agree with much of this assessment. I think the team's attendance problems are deep rooted and even go back further than 15 years.

As a fan, I don't worry about attendance. Let the team's front office worry about it. Right now the Sox are doing much better than I thought, and I just hope it continues. But people are in deep denial if they think that some success will be a cure all for this team. More work needs to be done.

No one's gonna deny that the Sox have deep rooted problems like you said. Fans out there are still angry at Reinsdorf for 94, 97 and the whole Florida thing. But their main problem is they don't win championships ever. Doing that will go a long way towards fixing what ails the Sox franchise...it won't even take a world series win, just for once can they have a 5 year run of success and making the playoffs? The main problem is Reinsdorf and we can't fix that. We just have to hope they keep winning and if they do, they'll be fine.

elrod
06-01-2004, 10:41 AM
Improving attendance to the high 20s IS significant. It moves us up in AL rankings, gives JR significantly more revenue, and sends a message that Sox fans are coming back. The longterm trends are good. After the post-White Flag disaster the pattern is upward. In 2000 average attendance jumped 8,000 per game. It dropped off with the terrible disappointments of 2001 and 2002, but not nearly to 1998/99 levels. Then in 2003 when the Sox were in first place in September the attendance levels creeped back to almost 2000 levels. This year, with more success early during a rainy May the Sox are way ahead. If the winning continues we should move well ahead of the 2000 levels.

A return to mediocrity is exactly the disaster this team cannot afford. We don't need to run away with the division every year like Cleveland in the late 1990s but we need to have a shot through the whole season. In 2001 and 2002 the Sox had no reasonable shot at the division after May. It was all over. In 2003, despite a slow start, the Sox were in the hunt from June until late September. And the fans returned.

Sox fans are like fans of every other baseball team. They show up more when the team wins (and this is true of the Cubs too). You can debate whether fair-weather fans are more real than those who show up in poor years but EVERY team has legions of them. Fans may watch their favorite losers on TV every once in a while but they're more likely to shell out money to go to the game when the excitement of pennant race is in the air. It's just more fun to be there when they're doing well. This is true of the Yankees, Cardinals or any other "great baseball town" (look at Yankee attendance in the early vs. late 1990s). We shouldn't worry about what to do to get fans out to the Cell if the team stinks. Only Wrigley and the brand new parks draw high numbers of fans when their teams stink - and it has to do with things that the Sox have ZERO control over. The Cubs baseline attendance with a crappy team is high because of the neighborhood and the marketing of a historic ballpark in an age of return to "architectural traditionalism". The White Sox have to earn fans back the old-fashioned way: by winning. And we're doing well so far.

southsidesoxfan1
06-01-2004, 11:03 AM
Attendance Surge Through 23 home dates, the White Sox have drawn 468,569 fans to U.S. Cellular Field
(20,373 per date), and increase of 82,545 from the same point last season the 21.4 percent increase represents
the third-largest gain in the American League the largest AL attendance improvements from 2003 to 2004:

2004 SEASON 2003 SEASON
Club Total Dates Avg. Total Dates Avg. Diff. Pct.
New York 936,478 20 46,824 716,389 20 35,819 220,089 30.7
Detroit 433,270 22 19,694 337,248 22 15,329 96,022 28.5
Chicago 468,569 23 20,373 386,024 23 16,784 82,545 21.4

elrod
06-01-2004, 11:06 AM
Attendance Surge Through 23 home dates, the White Sox have drawn 468,569 fans to U.S. Cellular Field

Not surprising at all. The Yankees added A-Rod. The Tigers moved from the worst team in AL history to .500. And then there's us. Like I said, we're moving in the right direction and it's not because of upper deck improvements. It's because we're winning.

jabrch
06-01-2004, 11:44 AM
If you extrapolate that out - 4000 extra fans per game, over 81 games at an average of $20 paid per ticket, that is 6,500,000 in added revenue on the year. There's our money to take on a contract at the break and to increase payroll for next year, right?

(Insert JR insults here)

(Insert KW insults here)

(Insert other stupid bitching here)

ewokpelts
06-01-2004, 11:47 AM
:whocares

iwannago
06-01-2004, 12:06 PM
Originally posted by nasox
......also discovered today: the ocean has water!!.......



And its loaded with salt!


:gulp: :gulp: :gulp: :gulp: :gulp:

kingpin_rcs
06-01-2004, 12:19 PM
Originally posted by jabrch
[B]If you extrapolate that out - 4000 extra fans per game, over 81 games at an average of $20 paid per ticket, that is 6,500,000 in added revenue on the year. There's our money to take on a contract at the break and to increase payroll for next year, right?


It's not that simple. You simply don't take the money you collect on a ticket and call it profit. There are a tremendous number of costs with running a baseball team- player payroll is only part of it. How many employees do the Sox have? Consider parking lot people, food vendors, security, ushers, grounds crew, clean up crew, maintenance crew, ticket booth people, ticket takers and front office (marketing, sales, administration). Once all of those people have been paid, then what's left is profit.

Now, in addition to the cost collected on a ticket there are additional sources of revenue associated with a body in a seat. Parking, consessions and souveniers. So, the Sox are likely making much more on a ticket than the face value. In fact, I'll bet a large percentage of people spend more at the game then what they have spent on the cost of the ticket (not everyone - but a lot).

This gets a little more complicated when you consider that when more poeple are coming to the park, you need to hire more poeple to work at the park. 40k people need more beer and hot dog venders than 10k people.

There are people much smarter than I who are paid to figure all of this out. Prices of tickets, beer, hot dogs and everything else are very carefully calculated to a) be attractively priced so people will want to buy them and b) still produce a profit. As demand increases the prices will go up. If the team is winning, and keeps winning like Cleaveland did in the 90's or New York does today, you could charge twice as much for everything and people will still buy it. So, if the Sox win and continue to win (like I know we all want) be prepared to pay for it. If somebody asked me if I would be willing to pay twice as much for everything if the Sox were in the post season every year I would probably say yes.

elrod
06-01-2004, 02:57 PM
Unless you're in a totally flawed business or in a start-up, the more revenue you draw the more profit you'll make. Of course you have to spend some to get some but the benefit of 4,000 more customers per game far outweigh the costs of paying for security, vendors, etc.