This and that:
Spivak: I do know that the Sox lost some sponsors over the time period you were talking about due to the economy. If I remember the specifics were discussed on it here at WSI. In the story I summerized from the Tribune dated September 1st, it quoted a Cub front office person as saying 40% of Cub attendance comes from tourists. I suspect that means more people from Iowa, downstate Illinois, Indiana etc than corporations but there could be some.
Jab: Sox ticket prices are comparable to the Yankees and Red Sox. They are the 4th highest on average in the game. I suspect many Sox fans ARE willing to pay that type of price but if you want to charge like the Yankees or Red Sox, you damn well better win like them no?
Even in this economy I think enough fans would find a way to take in maybe one more game (and those add up) if they seriously thought a club could do something. Since 2006 I suspect very few fans honestly thought the franchise was a real serious contender, not for what is usually the worst division in baseball, but as Kittle often points out, a contender for the pennant / World Series.
Yes they were in first place for 117 days this year but they never really seemed in control, never seemed to be able to put the thing away (and they had a boatload of chances) and again I suspect that come September fans lost faith because of it.
There's no right answer or wrong answer...I agree with much of what you say. The answer is to grow the fan base and the Sox for the past 32 years under current ownership haven't done that very well except for a few brief periods. They've had their chances, sometimes things happen that were totally outside of their control...sometimes the organization was its own worst enemy.