The only thing a Cub fan really has when arguing with us White Sox fans is attendance figures. This is certainly revealing about their popularity contest mentality, but the fact is the Cubs have drawn more fans every season since 1993 after the shine of new Comiskey Park took two season to wear off. Before 1991, you have to go back to 1984 when the Sox were coming off a division title and the WGN super-station was in its infancy.
According to the Chicago Tribune last month, the Cubs attendance is down. Linked is an article you surely would have never seen when the paper still owned the franchise. Their built in biased reporting from the cities biggest paper is gone. The team up north is terrible with escalating contracts that cant possibly help, and baseball is more widely available to anyone who wants to watch it these days. The time for the Sox to make up some ground and possibly steal a few fans is now and I have a few ideas that might help.I have a cousin who just this season said 'thats stupid, if the Cubs move Zambrano to the pen thats it, Im not a Cubs fan anymore.' I brought a spare Sox hat to his house a few hours later.
Its not that I want the Sox to have more people at the games than the Cubs or something truly fickle like that. Wrigley Field is a historic landmark that people will want to see until its not there anymore, regardless of the comical product on the field. Its more that I want the Sox to have three million butts in the seats per season like the Cubs have had since 2004. More fans in house means more money for payroll, which makes taking the division easier going forward. Detroit wont be able to spend like they have in the past anymore, but the Twins will certainly be getting a boost from their new Target field and the Sox have to use this bigger market to their advantage.
This series The Club on MLB Network has to help the White Sox as far as national exposure. This was a good move by the top brass. Its a good first step. But they need to do more.
Advertising. Sell the Cell. The black and White ads aren't cutting it.
- The food. The last 3 games I went to I had a wide variety as far as kinds of food and drinks. game 1: We ordered a cheese and sausage pizza and were putting down Jim Beam mixed drinks at a picnic table in the outfield. game 2: I was drinking Summer Shandys and had Super Comiskey Dog(a foot long with all the Chicago style fixin's).game 3:a nice cut of turkey sandwich on good bread and a dos equis. You dont get that kind of variety on the north side. Churros, build a burrito, nachos, margaritas available at your seat, amazing bloody Marys and a full menu of mixed drinks in the bullpen bar. There is so much more to choose from at Sox park, people need to be made aware of all of this.
- Kid friendly. The Sox kids club gives two free tickets for every kid that signs up. They also have an all-star package that has more perks but costs a few dimes. I dont know if the Sox still give schools ticket vouchers for honor roll or perfect attendance, but they should. After all, that is when they hooked me and I'm a life long fan. I mean where else can a kid hit a wiffle ball on the scoreboard, and if he gets a home run it sails over the fence and rains down on the fans in the outfield? Put that in a commercial when Sponge Bob is on and it will get the little boogers asking to go. Little league day was always great too, a parade around the warning track and each leagues MVP got to take batting practice. Again, thats how they got me.
- The product. Show that they are the better team in town. This wouldn't be the park so much as what happens there, run a commercial featuring game 163 vs the Twins in 2008, or feature highlights from this month long run, run one where its all highlights against the Cubs.
Ticket Prices The Sox really should lower ticket prices. I've bought tickets to 3 games already this season I didn't plan on attending because the tickets were half off. I still had to pay the $23 for parking(also too high), I still drank and ate $100 worth of delicious food and beer. Lowering the prices gets more people willing to come to the game and more customers for the Sox paraphernalia, peanuts and cracker jacks.
I checked for the best available seat for tickets against the A's for the last Saturday of this month. It was section 100, straight away center field and it cost $39. I then checked what a similar seat on the same day at the big A would cost in Anaheim. $26. A $13 difference. USA Today had a great article last week on the Angels and specifically Artie Moreno leading up to the All-Star game there. Its worth the read, but in there it says how the Angels are one of the four most affordable places to take in a game. I think this strategy would work here as well.
"Our success is based on getting 3 million fans coming to the ballpark. We have to be able to convice people to come and share the experience. To do that, we have to make it more affordable for families."
Bring The Minor Leagues Closer To Home The White Sox minor league teams are all deep in the south. Birmingham, Charlotte, Kannapolis. This seems like a bad idea to me. I dont know if the decision was made based on the weather or what, but the Sox should really have a team in the midwest league. Especially when you consider the Cubs have the Sox turf pinned down with minor league teams south in Peoria and west in Iowa. I would love to see the Sox outbid the A's and claim the Kane County Cougars as their own. It certainly wouldnt hurt to get the 500,000+ people that go to Cougars game every season watching White Sox prospects. I could see that translating to more ticket sales when someones favorite Cougar makes it to the show about 60 miles away. Im not sure how the contracts work with minor league clubs, but I know they change teams pretty frequently. If they cant get Kane County, they could possibly take over the Beloit, South Bend, Clinton, or even Peoria clubs from their current teams and at least get a foothold in the midwest somewhere. Maybe even pry the triple A Indianapolis Indians away from Pittsburgh. Long term I think this could only help the White Sox.