Ron Vecsey / White Sox
The White Sox's vice president of marketing talks about Winning Ugly Sundays, the response to the drastic pricing overhaul, and statues.
In advance of the White Sox unveiling their sweet Sunday 'Winning Ugly' throwback look, White Sox marketing honcho Brooks Boyer took some time out to tip us off to the development. Besides the 1983 jerseys you see Harold Baines and Addison Reed sporting above, they'll also have the matching batting helmets and the option of red shoes. Most players adopted red shoes last year to complete the 1972 look, but comfort is the first priority.
Besides confirming the throwbacks, he also handled questions from other areas of his purview. U-God wasn't on the call, and I've been averaging 2,500 words a night the last two weeks, so you're only getting bullet points instead of a full transcript.
*We've written before about the Sox's aggressive efforts to brings families to the park on Sundays, and he elaborated on the arrangement of the autograph sessions. The lines will be moved to the ramps in order to be protected from the elements, which will make it impossible for a ton of players to turn out on a given Sunday. However, the team members will sign autographs every Sunday (and not just designated "kids days"), and the Sox plan to rotate players, broadcasters and alumni in order to give fans variety from week to week.
*As far as season tickets, Boyer said they are "hundreds of percentage points" above last year at the time, because the new pricing has encouraged fans who might buy three or four games' worth of tickets to choose seven-game and 14-game packages this time. Boyer is anticipating that the surge in package purchases will keep the individual-game sales increases closer to flat, but he's willing to be pleasantly surprised.
*Boyer said the renewal rate is "well into the 90s," and the new tiers of pricing in the premium sections have not caused much pushback. Likewise, he said the renewal rate in the diamond and platinum sections were "well over 99 percent," and for the few who moved out of those areas due to the price hikes, they were replaced by season-ticket holders in the gold section. (Make sure you see Ken's comment about another key driving factor behind the renewal rate.)
*While the Yankees and Angels opted out of their partnerships with Stubhub, the White Sox and 27 other teams will forge ahead. Boyer spoke carefully to avoid a direct comparison to their official secondary market reseller, but he said their new pricing (which was set off data that included secondary prices) and dynamic pricing will hopefully encourage fans to think of buying through the official site first.
New marketing efforts
*Along with the White Sox's existing social media channels, the Sox will have a new Tumblr to cover SoxFest, and there will be a "significant social component" to the new marketing campaign.
*The theme for the 2013 season has been finalized, but it won't be ready at SoxFest. Instead, it'll be rolled out closer to the season, and it's based off the results from the same marketing survey that was behind the price restructuring.
*Following up on Thursday morning's post about potential statues, I asked Boyer about the relationship between statues and recency. Boyer said that for a lot of fans, their connection with the White Sox dates back to 2005, and so the natural names that come up from the outside are guys like Paul Konerko and Mark Buehrle, and not the standouts from the first half of the franchise's existence. But he said "we don't take statues too lightly around here," and they have no current plans for the next statue. Whoever receives the honor, the goal is to identify players who fans will look at and say they are unquestionably deserving (and it's not limited to players who are still alive).