SBD/October 19, 2012/Franchises

White Sox Slash Ticket, Parking Prices After 24th-Place Finish In Attendance

The White Sox ranked 24th in attendance and will cut ticket and parking prices
The White Sox will "reduce prices on 87 percent of their full season tickets as well as lower parking at U.S. Cellular Field for 2013" after drawing just 1,965,955 fans this season, 24th in the league, according to Mark Gonzales of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. The cut in ticket prices, which will be "reduced by as much as 32 percent in the bleachers and 30 percent in the outfield reserved sections, follow a 2012 season in which home attendance dipped below the 2 million mark for the first time since 2004." The team "lowered the price of parking to $20, a reduction of $3 to $5 per game." More than 54% of full-season tickets "will be reduced by an average of 26 percent." Full-season tickets in the upper reserved section will "cost as low as $810 per seat and split season ticket plans will start as low as $297 per seat." The new policy comes "after the Sox commissioned a research project" by ESPN Sports Poll Founder Rich Luker. The White Sox "assessed the results of the project, which examined Sox fans’ sentiments on ticket prices and other factors determining their decision whether to attend games, as well as feedback on dynamic ticket prices and secondary market prices" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/19). MLB.com's Scott Merkin noted the corner seats in the lower deck "will be available for $20 per game and upper-deck corner seats will be available for $7 on a daily basis all season long (excluding only Opening Day and the two Cubs games in May), which accounts for nearly 5,000 seats per game" (MLB.com, 10/18). In Chicago, Daryl Van Schouwen noted the White Sox said a "small number" of fans will see a ticket-price increase due to high demand of their current locations. Those season-ticket holders are "being personally contacted by the White Sox" (SUNTIMES.com, 10/18).

NECESSARY MOVE: The Chicago Tribune’s Brian Hamilton said the White Sox had to “do something to get people to the park, and I think the best way to do it is to say, ‘You can afford this more.’” WSCR-AM’s Hub Arkush said, "It's not that Sox fans are bad fans necessarily. It's not worth the aggravation from the Northside to try to get to that ballpark for a 7:00 start, and I don't know how the Sox fix that. I think that's a big a part of the problem as to whether or not they’re good fans.” Arkush also noted lower ticket prices "change the element of the fan base, and you do open yourself up to rowdier behavior, possibly more alcohol consumption." Arkush: "So there are other issues that you have to consider, and I am sure the Sox will keep a very close eye on it” (“Chicago Tribune Live,” Comcast SportsNet Chicago, 10/18).
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