The first two months of the White Sox season have been so rocky, new controversies have replaced the old. Remember when we were fretting about attendance dropping below two million?
Well, it turns out that White Sox attendance is actually ahead of last year.
425, 695 fans paid to enter US Cellular Field through 21 home dates last year. There have been 20 home dates this year, attracting 420, 070 fans. Assuming Friday’s game against the Marlins attracts 25 thousand fans or more (forecast calls for sunny skies and 56 degrees at game time tomorrow), 2013 attendance will outpace last year’s by a comfortable margin.
In fact, attendance could have been way ahead of last year, if not for two games that were postponed due to weather.
That’s a remarkable accomplishment, especially since the White Sox marketing department has been running into some fairly significant head winds. In addition to being bad (until very recently), the White Sox have not been very fun to watch. The offense can’t find the big hit. The defense has a hard time catching the ball. Pitching has been the only fun part of the White Sox game.
The weather has been terrible. April of 2013 was the wettest April in Chicago since 1947. April was also cloudier (59% cloud cover compared to 48%), and cooler. All three should have conspired to push attendance way down.
What’s the deal? Is it a hangover from last year? Are the White Sox finally getting the attendance bump they should have received while they were in first place last summer?
But a good performance doesn’t necessarily mean increased box office the following year. The White Sox won the AL Central in dramatic fashion in 2008, but fewer fans went to the ballpark in 2009 (the Great Recession is partially to blame). The 2010 White Sox won 88 games, which was a 9 game improvement over the previous year. The good result, combined with the “All In” marketing campaign should have inflated the numbers for 2011.
It didn’t happen.
So this is a legit attendance bump. People are interested in White Sox baseball, despite the weather and the results.
Speaking of bumps, the White Sox have been kind of fun to watch lately. They have won 6 of their last 10, three games under .500, and four and a half games out of first place. They may not win the AL Central, but they can certainly make it interesting over the next month.
The Sox schedule is extremely favorable: three with the Marlins, four with the Cubs, followed by a swing through Oakland and Seattle.
There’s no reason why the White Sox can’t win the next seven games. Oakland will be tough, but the Sox tend to do well against Seattle. In fact, the Sox could be 40-34 by June 26th, putting them one game ahead of where they were on 6/26/12.
They could be in very good shape when they finally meet the Detroit Tigers on July 9th.
It’s a good time to get hot.
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