The day after the Chicago Cubs announced reduced seats at Wrigley Field for the 2013 season, the Chicago White Sox dropped ticket prices and parking fees in order to attract more fans to the U.S. Cellular Field next year.
The club will lower prices on more than 54 percent of full-season tickets by an average of 26 percent and bleacher seats on a season basis will drop by 32 percent. According to MLB.com, full-season seats can be purchased for as little as $810 per seat and split-season plans start at $297 per seat for upper reserved seating.
Fans looking to purchase tickets on a single game basis will also benefit from lower prices. The team announced that corner lower-deck seats will be available for $20 and corner upper-deck seats will be offered for just $7 with 5,000 tickets per game available at these prices. Parking has also dropped from $25 to $20.
The price slashes made by the White Sox did not come out of left field. In August, Rich Luker, creator of the ESPN Sports Poll and Up Next trend columnist for Sports Business Journal, conducted a research project that examined White Sox fans’ opinions on a number of issues including ticket prices.
Brooks Boyer, the team’s senior vice president of sales and marketing told ESPN.com research showed that fans thought negatively of their regular, prime, and premium variable pricing. This season, the White Sox used both variable and dynamic pricing — variable meaning ticket prices are based on pre-season demand for certain opponents and dynamic meaning that prices are adjusted to market conditions closer to the game. In 2013 the team will no longer use variable pricing, although dynamic will still exist except for the guaranteed $20 and $7 seats.
“Price was a big factor, price of parking was a big factor,” said Boyer. “We brought parking down. We are doing things like to make the ballpark experience better, and we are really fired up about getting to the season to get people out there and really enjoy the White Sox experience.”
The team also decided to drop prices in hopes of encouraging fans to purchase tickets directly from the box office rather than turn to resale sites like StubHub, which charge well above face value.
Boyer told ESPN that the economy is certainly a factor in the attendance drop at White Sox games; however, the Detroit Tigers drew more than 3 million people this season despite the fact that their region is in a worse financial state than Chicago. According to MLB.com, 1,965,955 people attended a White Sox game in 2012. This past season, the White Sox had a record of 85-77 compared to the Tigers’ record of 88-74 and now 4-0 in post-season games.
The team hopes that by lowering ticket prices they can further connect with fans that already attend games and reach out to new fans, or people that stopped attending. “Fans matter, they make a difference,” Boyer said. “We want to give every fan an opportunity to make that difference and create that special atmosphere or culture.”