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  #181  
Old 04-04-2013, 08:18 PM
Golden Sox Golden Sox is offline
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Anybody who thinks the location of a stadium doesn't make a difference in attendance is kidding themselves. For years I've asked numerous people the following question: If Wrigley Field was located at 35th + Shields, would the Cubs franchise be as popular as it is? I've never had one person answer yes. It seems to me as if the White Sox are back to drawing around 2 million people a year. i don't think that's such a bad number when you consider the fact that the overwhelming majority of the White Sox attendance comes from somewhere thats not from the Southside of Chicago. Many years ago, the White Sox fan base came from the neighborhoods of the Southside of Chicago. That's simply not the case anymore. If the Cell had been built in a location closer to their fan base, the White Sox would be drawing more people. Since they made some adjustments at the Cell a few years ago, its really a beautiful park. Its a shame it was built where its at.
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  #182  
Old 04-04-2013, 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Golden Sox View Post
Anybody who thinks the location of a stadium doesn't make a difference in attendance is kidding themselves. For years I've asked numerous people the following question: If Wrigley Field was located at 35th + Shields, would the Cubs franchise be as popular as it is? I've never had one person answer yes. It seems to me as if the White Sox are back to drawing around 2 million people a year. i don't think that's such a bad number when you consider the fact that the overwhelming majority of the White Sox attendance comes from somewhere thats not from the Southside of Chicago. Many years ago, the White Sox fan base came from the neighborhoods of the Southside of Chicago. That's simply not the case anymore. If the Cell had been built in a location closer to their fan base, the White Sox would be drawing more people. Since they made some adjustments at the Cell a few years ago, its really a beautiful park. Its a shame it was built where its at.
Your entire theory is flawed.

Where is the Sox fanbase?

Where is the Cubs fanbase?
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  #183  
Old 04-04-2013, 10:45 PM
jdm2662 jdm2662 is offline
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A forgotten part of White Sox history was when the City of Chicago led by Mayor Washington wanted to build a new stadium for the White Sox at Roosevelt and Clark in the mid 1980's. The White Sox and the city could not agree on the finances. The White Sox would of paid more to lease the South Loop location as opposed to what they're paying at the Cell. They also would not of received the concessions and parking money which they are receiving at the Cell. I wish the White Sox and the city could of worked out their differences. The White Sox would of drawn alot more people playing in the South Loop than at its present location. The present lease at the Cell expires in 2026. I would imagine ten years from now, (in 2013) the White Sox will be looking for another stadium in a different location in the Chicagoland location. Maybe Rosemont will make the same offer to the White Sox then.
Um, I remember Lip posting years ago that Washington would only support the ball park where it is today. And, I trust his memory and knowledge of the White Sox more than anyone here. Lip, can you confirm that?
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  #184  
Old 04-04-2013, 11:18 PM
Lip Man 1 Lip Man 1 is offline
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JDM:

You are correct. The Illinois Sports Stadium Authority was divided along political lines between those appointed by Gov. Thompson and those appointed by Mayor Washington.

Washington insisted that the only location he'd approve (as the elected representative of the city of Chicago) was across the street from the location of Comiskey Park. He was adament about it and said under no circumstances would his decision by compromised. He wanted whatever revenue the Sox could generate to stay within that neighborhood.

Lip
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  #185  
Old 04-04-2013, 11:52 PM
DonnieDarko DonnieDarko is offline
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Originally Posted by Lip Man 1 View Post
JDM:

You are correct. The Illinois Sports Stadium Authority was divided along political lines between those appointed by Gov. Thompson and those appointed by Mayor Washington.

Washington insisted that the only location he'd approve (as the elected representative of the city of Chicago) was across the street from the location of Comiskey Park. He was adament about it and said under no circumstances would his decision by compromised. He wanted whatever revenue the Sox could generate to stay within that neighborhood.

Lip
Without getting too political...that's a damned good idea. Glad that it became that.
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  #186  
Old 04-05-2013, 05:27 AM
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Anybody who thinks the location of a stadium doesn't make a difference in attendance is kidding themselves. For years I've asked numerous people the following question: If Wrigley Field was located at 35th + Shields, would the Cubs franchise be as popular as it is? I've never had one person answer yes. It seems to me as if the White Sox are back to drawing around 2 million people a year. i don't think that's such a bad number when you consider the fact that the overwhelming majority of the White Sox attendance comes from somewhere thats not from the Southside of Chicago. Many years ago, the White Sox fan base came from the neighborhoods of the Southside of Chicago. That's simply not the case anymore. If the Cell had been built in a location closer to their fan base, the White Sox would be drawing more people. Since they made some adjustments at the Cell a few years ago, its really a beautiful park. Its a shame it was built where its at.
If the whole Wrigleyville "experience" was at 35th and Shields, yes, I have no doubt the Cubs would be as popular as they are up north. If you just moved Wrigley Field to 35th and Shields today, in the middle of a dead neighborhood surrounded by acres of empty parking lots, no of course not. You really think the majority of people who are at Cubs games are from the neighborhoods around the park? That's ****ing nuts, most of them are from the suburbs or out of town tourists, too.
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  #187  
Old 04-05-2013, 07:53 AM
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Lot of places on the interwebs reporting that a deal is close, although WBBM 780 AM this morning says the deal is done and will be announced during the home opener festivites for the Cubs on Monday.
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  #188  
Old 04-05-2013, 09:40 AM
Golden Sox Golden Sox is offline
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Mcgrath was on Chicago Tonight last September and was asked by the host Why didn't the White Sox draw a better attendance in 2012?. Mcgrath said the "White Sox fans in the suburbs didn't want to come down to the dangerous Southside of Chicago. With all the shootings the Southside had last year, they were afraid to come there." Mcgrath is a lifelong Southsider and a Principal (Leo High School?) and knows the City of Chicago and the Southside as well as anybody. Tourists prefer going to Wrigley Field as opposed to the Cell. If the Cell had been built in a better area, the White Sox would draw more tourists than what they do now.I've gone to both Comiskey Park and the Cell during my lifetime at least a thousand times and never had any trouble in the area. Fact is, the area around the Cell has a perception of it being in a bad neighborhood in alot of peoples minds. And I still believe the White Sox will try to get another stadium in the Chicagoland area when the present lease at the Cell expires.
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  #189  
Old 04-05-2013, 09:54 AM
Hitmen77 Hitmen77 is offline
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I sincerely doubt there is that large of a market for people that it would make sense to move the team away from the center of the region's transportation network. Barring some crazy shift in the next 15 years, the region's population and wealth will still be centered deep in the city. This idea that the suburbs are this untapped market of endless prosperity is dead, 1970's era thinking (which is precisely what got us the Cell in the first place as opposed to the more popular retro ballparks). The Sox have already been burned once badly by thinking in the past. Moving to Addison would only cement their legacy.

Again, the attendance issues are because the team sucks. They've been to the playoffs 5 times in my life. They've only been mildly competitive in a bad division for most of the past decade. That's the issue. I'm sure there is a segment of suburbanites who absolutely refuse to come to the city. That's fine, but they are the extreme minority, no sense in marketing to them. I think most people who aren't putting their butts in the seats at the Cell don't want to pay out the nose to see ****ty baseball.
You're spot on in saying that the Sox primary issue is because the team hasn't made the playoffs often enough. This is the 18th season since MLB went to the 3-division/wild card format and the Sox have only made the playoffs 3 times during this period. 2005 was wonderful and Sox attendance skyrocketed because of it. But that boost isn't going to last forever without additional successful seasons. The problem is that, aside from that one glorious season, the Sox have only 1 playoff win in all the other years of the AL Central's existence.

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Meh, I'm not going to get too worked up over the Sox falling just shy of some neat looking round number that's ultimately kind of meaningless. They would have finished 3rd in the AL in attendance if they got the additional 526 fans per game they needed to break 3 M or not.

We've had this discussion a number of times and it always comes to the same old thing; I think the problem with the Cell is it is already too suburban; it doesn't try to fit in with it's neighborhood, it's in the middle of a bunch of parking lots, there's basically nothing to do within walking distance. The team HAS to be the draw. The park has the personality of a shopping mall. It's not like Wrigley which has a whole separate world around it that would help draw people in. So regardless of where the Cell was built; Bridgeport, South Loop, West Side, Addison, etc. they'd be struggling to draw fans with the on-field track record they've had because if the Sox aren't very good, what is there to make diehards want to come visit?
I disagree with this statement. I think the complaint that the ballpark itself sucks and that its too much like a shopping mall hasn't been accurate since they successfully renovated the place starting 10 years ago. In 2006, after the World Series win, I don't remember people complaining about the ballpark.

You're right about the neighborhood though. I think Bridgeport is a nice place and the area has improved dramatically in the last 20 years, but there's not enough there to make Sox games a strong draw to counteract the year after year of 2nd or 3rd place finishes.
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  #190  
Old 04-05-2013, 10:04 AM
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Mcgrath was on Chicago Tonight last September and was asked by the host Why didn't the White Sox draw a better attendance in 2012?. Mcgrath said the "White Sox fans in the suburbs didn't want to come down to the dangerous Southside of Chicago. With all the shootings the Southside had last year, they were afraid to come there." Mcgrath is a lifelong Southsider and a Principal (Leo High School?) and knows the City of Chicago and the Southside as well as anybody. Tourists prefer going to Wrigley Field as opposed to the Cell. If the Cell had been built in a better area, the White Sox would draw more tourists than what they do now.I've gone to both Comiskey Park and the Cell during my lifetime at least a thousand times and never had any trouble in the area. Fact is, the area around the Cell has a perception of it being in a bad neighborhood in alot of peoples minds. And I still believe the White Sox will try to get another stadium in the Chicagoland area when the present lease at the Cell expires.
That's definitely part of it, but it doesn't tell the whole story. The White Sox were one of the top draws in the American League for most of the early 90s even though the city was FAR MORE dangerous back then than it is now. The difference is the Sox of the early 90s were good and exciting to watch and the team had some real starpower as opposed to Sox teams of recent vintage that have been, frankly, mediocre with no real "must-see" players.

There are plenty of things wrong with the Cell; it has a repuation for being ugly and soulless, the neighborhood around the park may not be as dangerous as some perceive it to be, but it's still a really ****ing boring place, but most importantly: THE SOX HAVEN'T BEEN VERY GOOD. The reality is for almost every team in the league, you have to win consistently to draw well at the gate. Someone pointed at the Angels as a model for a team that doesn't need a central location in their metro area and can rely heavily on suburban folks in their cars to pack the park... The Angels also went to the playoffs 6 times in an 8 year span from 2002-2009. They've missed the playoffs three seasons in a row now and their attendance has steadily decreased each of those three seasons.

We'll see how things look when the Cell's lease expires; gentrificaton is slowly making it's way south along the lakefront and the Red Line... Who knows what the area will look like in another 10-15 years? That said, I do think the Sox might consider a move, as well, but it would probably just be a mile or two north, either into the South Loop or the new Motor Row Entertainment district the city is trying to develop in the S. Michigan Ave. corridor near McCormick Place... I sincerely doubt a move to the suburbs will happen; Rosemont tried to give the Cubs millions of dollars of free land and they didn't bite, it's just never going to be a realistic option.
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  #191  
Old 04-05-2013, 10:11 AM
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I disagree with this statement. I think the complaint that the ballpark itself sucks and that its too much like a shopping mall hasn't been accurate since they successfully renovated the place starting 10 years ago. In 2006, after the World Series win, I don't remember people complaining about the ballpark.
Well, that is obviously for everyone's own taste to decide; the park is A LOT NICER since the renovations, of course, but it's ultimately still just a Modern Era ballpark pretending to be Retro Classic. There's only a handful of teams that play in ballparks of the same era and they've also either undergone massive renovations (Anaheim, Kansas City) or their teams are desperately trying to move out (Oakland, Tampa).

But I was referring to more of the whole ballpark experience in general. You park in a surface lot, walk across the asphalt, enter, leave, and drive out. I'm not saying the Sox NEED to cultivate a Wrigleyville South party atmosphere, but they're waaaaaaaay too far away for their own good. Plenty of suburban families with kids find a way to get to Wrigley during the season, even if they don't partake in the bar/party scene that surrounds the park. But just having that extra draw makes the place more appealing.
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  #192  
Old 04-05-2013, 10:14 AM
Hitmen77 Hitmen77 is offline
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I sincerely doubt there is that large of a market for people that it would make sense to move the team away from the center of the region's transportation network. Barring some crazy shift in the next 15 years, the region's population and wealth will still be centered deep in the city. This idea that the suburbs are this untapped market of endless prosperity is dead, 1970's era thinking (which is precisely what got us the Cell in the first place as opposed to the more popular retro ballparks). The Sox have already been burned once badly by thinking in the past. Moving to Addison would only cement their legacy.

Again, the attendance issues are because the team sucks. They've been to the playoffs 5 times in my life. They've only been mildly competitive in a bad division for most of the past decade. That's the issue. I'm sure there is a segment of suburbanites who absolutely refuse to come to the city. That's fine, but they are the extreme minority, no sense in marketing to them. I think most people who aren't putting their butts in the seats at the Cell don't want to pay out the nose to see ****ty baseball.
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Mcgrath was on Chicago Tonight last September and was asked by the host Why didn't the White Sox draw a better attendance in 2012?. Mcgrath said the "White Sox fans in the suburbs didn't want to come down to the dangerous Southside of Chicago. With all the shootings the Southside had last year, they were afraid to come there." Mcgrath is a lifelong Southsider and a Principal (Leo High School?) and knows the City of Chicago and the Southside as well as anybody. Tourists prefer going to Wrigley Field as opposed to the Cell. If the Cell had been built in a better area, the White Sox would draw more tourists than what they do now.I've gone to both Comiskey Park and the Cell during my lifetime at least a thousand times and never had any trouble in the area. Fact is, the area around the Cell has a perception of it being in a bad neighborhood in alot of peoples minds. And I still believe the White Sox will try to get another stadium in the Chicagoland area when the present lease at the Cell expires.
I think McGrath is wrong. I agree with Doub, suburbanites who refuse to go to Sox games because they're in the city or in a "dangerous" neighborhood are by far a minority.

I doubt the Sox would have been better off relocating to the suburbs. IMO, it would have been a total disaster. First of all, that would have cemented the Cubs as Chicago's "real" team in the minds of most people. Also, the suburbs are too spread out to bring in enough people from across the metro area. Sure, a move to Addison would have made the team more accessible to DuPage area fans, but it would have killed attendance from people from the city, south suburbs, and north suburbs.

I think very few people seriously think the Sox would have been better off in Addison.
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  #193  
Old 04-05-2013, 10:32 AM
Lip Man 1 Lip Man 1 is offline
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Interesting discussion and the points are valid in my opinion especially the part about the Sox not consistently winning but I also think part of the issue is that the franchise has refused to take on the Cubs directly.

Chicago is the White Sox home too but they don't seem to act like it. When they've had chances to make serious in-roads (because the Cubs were floundering) they have refused to do it. I can't recall anything along the lines from a marketing or advertsing standpoint since the "us vs. them" campaign.

As far as the neighborhood perception, that's not a new issue. The race riots of the mid 1960's coupled with the location of the ballpark fueled that notion and it's been with the Sox ever since. In that case it's not the franchise's fault, they certainly had no control of the social issues of the day.

Lip
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  #194  
Old 04-05-2013, 10:47 AM
LITTLE NELL LITTLE NELL is offline
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I'm probably in the minority here but it doesn't matter where the Sox play to me, I don't care if its in the middle of a parking lot or in Addison or in some great neighborhood in the city. I go to the park for 2 reasons, to see the team I have had a love affair with for over 60 years and to see them win. Nothing else matters, I don't need exploding scoreboards or sausage races or ear deafening rock music. I don't need a ballpark surrounded by restaurants and bars. I still get up there every 2 years or so and the trip is always planned after looking at the schedule to make sure the Sox are in town. We make it over to TB every year also to see the Sox. What I do want from the Sox are a competitive team, fair prices for tickets, fair parking fees and concessions. I also love organ music at the park, Nancy was the greatest.
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  #195  
Old 04-05-2013, 10:59 AM
Hitmen77 Hitmen77 is offline
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Well, that is obviously for everyone's own taste to decide; the park is A LOT NICER since the renovations, of course, but it's ultimately still just a Modern Era ballpark pretending to be Retro Classic. There's only a handful of teams that play in ballparks of the same era and they've also either undergone massive renovations (Anaheim, Kansas City) or their teams are desperately trying to move out (Oakland, Tampa).

But I was referring to more of the whole ballpark experience in general. You park in a surface lot, walk across the asphalt, enter, leave, and drive out. I'm not saying the Sox NEED to cultivate a Wrigleyville South party atmosphere, but they're waaaaaaaay too far away for their own good. Plenty of suburban families with kids find a way to get to Wrigley during the season, even if they don't partake in the bar/party scene that surrounds the park. But just having that extra draw makes the place more appealing.
I agree that the problem is the whole ballpark area experience and not so much the park itself. Your quote of me cutoff the rest of my post where I said this. I too agree that they don't need to be "Wrigleyville South", but the Sox would be better off with something more than the current surrounding neighborhood atmosphere. I just don't think the ballpark itself is terrible or is the biggest problem.

IMO, park location isn't keeping suburban families away. In fact, I would guess that the parking lots vs. Wrigleyville neighborhood thing evens out for them. Some will be drawn to Wrigleyville's atmosphere while others will find that the parking availability at the Cell is more family friendly. Really, the ultimate problem is that there are just so many more Cubs fans than Sox fans out there. There are plenty of suburban Cubs fans who hardly go to any games because of cost, distance, accessibility, time constraints, etc. They are no different than Sox fans in this regard. But when you have a huge fanbase to begin with that includes a big following from all over the Midwest thanks to years on WGN, the tourist crowd, etc., the Cubs aren't quiet as reliant on getting every suburban fan to come out to a ton of games as the Sox are.
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