CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 28: A fan of the Chicago White Sox looks over his scorecard in the outfield during the last game of the season against the Toronto Blue Jays at U.S. Cellular Field on September 28, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blue Jays defeated the White Sox 3-2. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
This might come as a surprise to some of you, but I like to keep track of White Sox ticket prices. Partially because, sure, Things Cost More Than They Used To, but more because it's a form of interaction between the franchise and its fans.
The two sides have circled around this issue like Sharks and Jets for years. The White Sox make a public note when attendance doesn't meet projections, but it's then followed by a regular, small increase in ticket prices. Due to their piss-poor starts the last two years, the Sox have reshaped the way they criticize their fans. Instead of guilt-tripping ("we could make an addition ... if only we had more support"), they've tried to pass it off as a weird compliment ("Boy, our fans sure hold us accountable!") Either way, the tickets never stopped increasing in price, whch puts the onus on the White Sox offer an entertaining product. They're getting further away from that goal.
I mainly focus on single-game prices because I consider the single-game price to be the official offer to the casual fan. And the casual fan is very important to restoring attendance at U.S. Cellular Field. Those prices aren't out yet, but the White Sox made their first attempt at promoting price reductions with their season-ticket packages.
The savings, they say, range anywhere from 2 to 18 percent based on seat location (except for premium lower box and club level, which will remain flat). The upper deck gets a much-needed multi-dollar slash in pricing. $25 seems like too much, but I'd consider cutting $3 or $4 a pretty good start.
But as you might expect, the reduction is accommodated by some cost-shifting. For starters, the Sox are touting a modification to their
smallest second-smallest package -- the 13-game Ozzie Plan is now Pick 14. However, they also played with the tiered pricing structure, and as a result, people like James at White Sox Observer can't exactly see the savings in the lower deck.
What specifically drew my ire is that between tacking on an extra game, and mandating that all customers purchase two games of the increased-price Cubs series, renewing my Ozzie Plan into a Pick 14 plan easily increases the price of a package I spent under $400 on last season by ~20%, and that's with opting for every dreary mid-week interdivisional game possible. It's more than enough to push me to scouring the secondary ticket market for my standard ~15 games in attendance a year.
The whole post is worth reading, highlighting a few hey-wait-a-minute factors. Given the way Brooks Boyer talked around price reductions in September, it really wouldn't surprise me if James' situation is the most common result. But as somebody who watches the Sox more often on the road than at the Cell, I'd like to know if the majority of partial or full ticket-package buyers end up in similar straits.