Originally Posted by doogiec
I often hear that White Sox fans will support a winner, that they just won’t support losing baseball. And often that is said as a criticism of Cubs fans.
I think the facts show that this, unfortunately, is complete BS.
In 2005, the White Sox had the ultimate season. First place every day. Best record in the AL, again every day. Only one win short of best record in MLB. An exciting team that got off to a red hot start. The White Sox will never have a better season than 2005.
And they finished 17th in attendance. In September, they averaged around 27,000 per game.
Now you may make the argument that the Sox just don’t have a large fan base. But in 2006, they finished a very respectable 9th in attendance. Those fans came from somewhere.
Fast forward to 2012. They were clearly not the best team in baseball, but rolled into September in first place. And for the final homestand, games that meant as much as playoff games were sparsely attended. They were giving away lower deck tickets to people who merely filled out a survey to avoid embarrassment. And lots of tickets were priced as low as $12.
Many have made the argument that high ticket prices during a bad economy were the cause. Yet, when playoff tickets were put on sale, games 1 and 2 sold out within a day. Those tickets weren’t cheap .
The White Sox, for reasons unknown to me, have a huge portion of their fanbase that will only come out AFTER a championship of some sort has been won. That is very different than saying Sox fans will only support a winner. That is the definition of bandwagon fans.
The Sox need to attract more casual fans that just want to enjoy a day at the ballpark. They can start by getting a TV PBP man that doesn’t sound like the angry bitter drunk you move away from at a bar. They can try to improve stadium operations: Get the concession lines moving quickly or use technology to make it easier to order food, hire and train ushers who act like they give a crap, use the scoreboards to give baseball information other than meaningless trivia. They can make the price of parking reasonable so you don’t feel ripped off before you even enter the building.
A day at the ball game can be fun even if they aren’t raising a flag that day. And if a large portion of the Sox fan base can’t deal with that, the Sox need to do a better job of attracting new fans.
Attendance numbers should really be more in percentage of capacity than number of people. We'll never beat the bigger teams and/or the bigger ballparks using that method.
Attracting fans is a big deal, and the best way to do so is have a personable star. Look at Chicago's other franchises for an example, like the Bears with Urlacher and the Hawks with Kane & Toews. As an extreme case, without Rose would the Bulls have so much pull?
A big issue with the current roster is that the better players are not personable, which would be fine if their play made up for it. Guys like Dunn and Rios (who's play has made up for it this year) have been downright surly due to previous seasons, and Paul and A.J. are more quiet leaders than outgoing stars. Makes marketing's job much harder.
Maybe some of the younger guys like Sale will fit the bill in the future.