Some real good points on the marketing/attendance issues in this thread.
As dismal as it seemed, attendance was really not as bad as is being portrayed. Given how horrible 2011 was I heard and read that the Sox were bracing for a drop in attendance of 200-250,000 just in dropped season ticket renewals. In the end 2012 attendance was off by only about 35,000 over last year, and ranked 14th highest in the 112 years of the club. Still, to rank 24th in the majors is embarrassing and should be addressed.
At the beginning of the year I thought getting fans in the seats was all about winning and cost. I still think they're important, but the year proved not the only things. They were in first for a good chunk of the year, yet couldn't get a more than a handful of crowds above 30,000. When cheap seats were made available on Monday nights and other late season dates, the jump at the gate was hardly noticeable.
There is simply no buzz around this team. I dropped my partial season tickets this year not because of economics, but because 9 of my 27 sets of tickets went unused. The reason was that I couldn't find anyone who wanted to go. (may say more about me than the Sox, but I'll handle that another time.) Did anyone else notice that while we were on our run this year there was no hook, like the Don't Stop Believing, or Winning Ugly or Southside Hitman thing going on? The team may have talent but it is DULL.
But that is what marketing is all about. Since the beginning of the Ozzie era, the Sox relied on the manager to be the front man or the face of the organization. Fans never got to know the players. Never developed any kind of idea what kind of people they are. Does anybody know what half of these players voices even sound like? I watch MLB's Intentional Talk nearly every day and every day they do a remote interview with a player. In that ten minutes you realize what really funny guys there are out there. Brendan McCarthy being one of them, but when he was with us he wasn't allowed within 300 feet of a microphone. I think over the last year, I only saw Chris Sale interviewed and it sounded like he was given talking points.
People here brought up John McDonough and the Blackhawks analogy. The Sox could learn a lot from what that organization did. A lot of that had to do with getting those players out in front of the cameras and letting people get to know them. Tough to do given that these folks wear masks when they play. Blackhawks TV, including the half hour shows they air are brilliant. You know the players life stories, their wives, their parents and their dogs. You see their lives on and off the ice. Have you ever seen a Sox player like that? The Hawks humanized their players and made people want to go out and see them, selling out a stadium built in the 90's, surrounded by parking lots, in a neighborhood people still think is sketchy even though its not.
I don't think the Sox have fallen out of favor as bad as the Blackhawks did, but I do think they need to go a long way to put them back into the minds of people and get people to talk about going out to see the Sox again
2014 Home Attendance Record 4-10.