White Sox Interactive Forums
Sox Clubhouse
 Soxogram: 
Congratulations on the Rookie records for HR and RBI in April, Jose!

Welcome
Go Back   White Sox Interactive Forums > Baseball Discussions > Sox Clubhouse
Home Chat Stats Register Blogs FAQ Calendar Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 10-23-2012, 04:54 PM
JB98's Avatar
JB98 JB98 is offline
WSI Guru
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Crystal Lake, IL
Posts: 27,446
Default Tuesday conference call with Brooks

Starting a second thread, so the results from today's conference call don't get buried in the other thread. Here are the discussion points:

1. Brooks opened the call by saying the ticket price reductions are merely a first step. There will be a number of other announcements coming this offseason as the organization hopes to connect further with the fans. Their goal is to create a greater atmosphere in the ballpark. Obviously, that means getting more fans in the stands. Brooks said the Sox are aware some fans aren't attending as many games as in the past because their circumstances have changed, and the hope is the team can reconnect with those fans. At the same time, they hope to connect with and create new fans as well.

2. With regard to the surveys many of you filled out, the Sox weren't surprised by the results. Brooks said there weren't any "Oh, wow" moments where something was brought up that they didn't expect to see. Rich Luker, the guy the Sox hired to help them do the research, said he had never seen a group of fans respond to a survey the way Sox fans did. There were over 400 pages worth of comments. The biggest surprise of the whole process was the amount of detail the fans provided. The organization is grateful for the feedback, and it hammered home a lot of areas where they need to approve. Brooks said the organization is motivated to address the problem areas.

3. Believe it or not, ticket prices and parking fees weren't the most talked about thing in the 400 pages worth of comments. Rather, fans discussed the commitment of time it takes to attend a Sox game. It is not real easy to get to the ballpark, especially for fans in the suburbs with traffic and all. Add on top of that, you might need to leave work early to a get to a weeknight game, and because baseball doesn't have a clock, there's no predictability about when the game will end. Because of the economy and other factors, people have changed their habits over the last four or five years. Brooks said coming to a Sox game has become like going to Great America for some people -- it's a once-in-a-summer kind of thing. Obviously, that's not what the organization wants. They need to change people's habits back, and they know pricing isn't the silver bullet to fix the problem. It's a combination of things to form a better connection with fans: Pricing, improving the ballpark experience, better broadcasts, more interaction between fans and players, etc.

4. With regard to the depth of the price cuts, they studied where they rank in MLB in terms of their pricing, and they determined they had the fourth-highest prices for bleachers and outfield seats in MLB. Way too high. At the same time, they were in the lower quarter or the lower third of MLB in terms of pricing in the prime seats in between the skins of the infield. They wanted to bring their prices back line with being around the 50 percentile mark for all of MLB.

5. With regard to the TV broadcasts, Brooks said too much is made of Hawk and Steve sitting so far apart from each other in the booth. Nobody should read anything into that because the space between the two is the result of electronic equipment, stacks of paper, etc. Brooks said both Hawk and Steve have had to make adjustments in order to make the broadcast better. There are three things the Sox want both the TV and radio broadcasts to do: 1) Teach the game, 2) Paint a picture and 3) Sell the experience. They want these guys to give the fans a feel for what is going on in the ballpark, both in the stands and on the field. They want people who are watching on TV or listening on the radio to realize the game is more fun when you're there in person. The Sox want the broadcasts to make you as a fan want to come to the ballpark more often.

6. The question about the Red Line being closed next season was posed, and Brooks noted the Green Line will remain operational as an option for those who desire to use public transportation. They are looking at possibly having a shuttle running to and from the 35th Street Green Line stop before and after games. Since it is only a couple blocks away, the Sox are also looking at ways to make sure it is safe and easy to walk those two blocks. JB98 makes that walk after every game and sees no reason for concern, but apparently it's an issue for some folks.

7. The surveying isn't done. The Sox are looking at everything from the moment we as fans step on the grounds of the ballpark, whether it's outside the stadium, the in-game experience, the in-between-innings entertainment, the music. All of these things are going to be looked at, and fan input will be sought. Brooks noted a lot of the stuff in between innings is sponsored, and they want to maximize the benefit the sponsors are getting. By no means do they want to have things the fans look upon as frivolous.

8. Concession prices for next year have not been addressed yet. Obviously, they compare what they are charging to other sports venues in town and work with the vendors to come up with the pricing. That step has not been taken yet for the 2013 season. As far as the merchandising, they've taken steps to make sure the pricing at Chicago Sports Depot and in the ballpark is competitive with "the guys down the street" and other retailers.

9. On the topic of dynamic pricing, Brooks said it wasn't a big issue in their study. He did note there were a number of fans who just wanted to know what the price was going to be. The response to that is the $20 tickets in the corner of the lower deck and the $7 tickets in the corner of the upper deck. Those prices are fixed for 78 of the 81 games, Opening Day and the two home games against the Cubs being the exception. He also said the Sox need to do a better job of communicating with the fans to make them understand prices don't always go up on the day of the game. Sometimes they do go down depending on the demand. They obviously don't want to be in a situation where the pricing always goes down, because then no one would ever buy a ticket early. Brooks said with the fixed pricing in the upper deck, you can now get a family of four into the ballpark (with parking included) for less than $50. They want to get more young fans into the ballpark, and there will be more youth-focused initiatives announced later in the offseason.

10. The prime and premier games are a thing of the past. There will be no more labeling of games. Everything is just going to be dynamically priced. A lot of fans didn't go to, say, the Yankees games because of the premier pricing. Brooks noted that the cheapest tickets were the ones that didn't sell for those games, which seems counterintuitive, but it's clear those labels dissuaded certain fans from attending certain games.

11. Brooks said the fan's attitude toward the on-field product has changed in a year's time. Coming off the 2011 season, there was a lot of discontent about the won-loss record. This year's survey didn't indicate anything of the sort. In fact, the survey showed winning was NOT the fans' top priority. Rather, people want a team that competes hard and represents the fan base. The survey showed that is more important than the winning and losing. Brooks acknowledged that some people might respond to that by thinking he's been spending too much time drinking in his office. He acknowledged that winning is very important, and it's the most important thing for some fans. However, factors beyond winning and losing are more important for more fans. Brooks added that doesn't mean there is going to be any shift in the goals of the baseball operations department. They know they need to win.

12. Some interesting comments about the advertising campaigns. Brooks said they knew they had no momentum coming off a 2011 season that was a disaster in every way. As a matter of fact, they had an Adam Dunn commercial that never aired that year because of his struggles at the plate. Because of the discontent with the team, they thought it would be very challenging to put the players out there in any sort of advertising campaign. They had the two Robin spots early in the season to re-introduce him to the market, and then they built the "Appreciate the Game" campaign around the fans. They hired Poptent to create four spots, and those are the television ads we all saw throughout the season. They didn't involve the players in any of those spots, but they believe having a winning year this season gives them a chance to have the players start talking to the fans again. People are pleased with what Robin has done with the team. You have a budding ace in Chris Sale, Dunn and Rios produced closer to career norms, etc. So, we will see the players become involved in the advertising campaigns again for 2013.

13. There was one other question about season-ticket holders and dynamic pricing. There remains a gap between the STH price and the individual game pricing. Brooks said on only the rarest occasions would a dynamically-priced ticket sell for less than the STH price. Obviously, they want to encourage people to buy season plans, and the best way to do that is to convince people the best value resides in the ST packages.
__________________
JB's attendance record:
2004: 14-5; 2005: 16-8; 2006: 19-10; 2007: 8-12; 2008: 15-7; 2009: 6-13; 2010: 12-11; 2011: 9-8; 2012: 11-7; 2013: 8-9; 2014: 7-9; Total: 125-99.
Next game: April 2015

R
ead my new baseball blog: http://thebaseballkid98.blogspot.com/

Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 10-23-2012, 04:56 PM
JB98's Avatar
JB98 JB98 is offline
WSI Guru
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Crystal Lake, IL
Posts: 27,446
Default

I know there's a lot to digest there. The conference call ran longer than I expected. I'm sure there were things said that I didn't even include. If anyone has any questions about what was said, I'll try to answer them.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 10-23-2012, 05:20 PM
roylestillman's Avatar
roylestillman roylestillman is offline
WSI Church Elder
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Morgan Park
Posts: 2,067
Default

I think it's kind of not correct to say that winning is not the most important thing. When you fill out surveys, it's pretty apparent that you're not doing it for people who are putting the team together on the field, so you tend to talk about the off field issues. That said it was interesting to hear that they realized what an absolute disaster 2011 was in terms of fans throwing in the towel. I am glad that he agrees that it's time to put the players front and center to reconnect with the fans. The more fans get to know about them, down to a personal level about their lives the more they'll care and follow them. Again, as I said before, use the Blackhawks model.

I still don't know what the obsession is with dynamic pricing. I noticed recently that it has spread to even theatre tickets. It's as though to have any credibility in the entertainment biz you have to talk dynamic pricing. Fool's gold pushed by a bunch of consultants.
__________________
Final 2014 Home Attendance Record 5-11.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 10-23-2012, 05:42 PM
MUsoxfan MUsoxfan is offline
WSI High Priest
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Romeoville, IL
Posts: 9,910
Default

Thank you for the nice summary
__________________


Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 10-23-2012, 05:45 PM
skobabe8's Avatar
skobabe8 skobabe8 is offline
WSI High Priest
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Crown Point, IN
Posts: 6,402
Default

Thanks for sharing.

Brooks said a lot of good things. I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt about the 'winning is not the biggest priority' thing. Obviously he knows how much the fans want to win, and winning becomes a byproduct when the team plays hard and competes, like the fans said they want.
__________________



www.twitter.com/jasonrosko
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 10-23-2012, 05:50 PM
Lip Man 1 Lip Man 1 is offline
WSI Guru
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Chubbuck, Idaho
Posts: 26,378
Default

JB:

Many thanks for stepping in and helping out today. VERY WELL DONE summery.

And I agree with what Royle stated. Winning is ALWAYS the most important thing for a franchise ask Kenny how he feels about that point LOL.

I understand where Brooks is coming from and it might simply be a matter of semantics they way he talked about it. Like Royle said there's always a certain segment that just wants to have fun, sit in the sun, drink a beer and if the Sox win, that's gravy...but for most fans it's about winning first, last, always in my opinion.

And Brooks understands that based on his comments. I think many who filled out the survey and made comments along the lines of winning not being the top priority are probably casual fans, for wont of a better word and I understand the Sox need them too.

Lip
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 10-23-2012, 06:10 PM
JB98's Avatar
JB98 JB98 is offline
WSI Guru
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Crystal Lake, IL
Posts: 27,446
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lip Man 1 View Post
JB:

Many thanks for stepping in and helping out today. VERY WELL DONE summery.

And I agree with what Royle stated. Winning is ALWAYS the most important thing for a franchise ask Kenny how he feels about that point LOL.

I understand where Brooks is coming from and it might simply be a matter of semantics they way he talked about it. Like Royle said there's always a certain segment that just wants to have fun, sit in the sun, drink a beer and if the Sox win, that's gravy...but for most fans it's about winning first, last, always in my opinion.

And Brooks understands that based on his comments. I think many who filled out the survey and made comments along the lines of winning not being the top priority are probably casual fans, for wont of a better word and I understand the Sox need them too.

Lip
I think it is a matter of semantics. Hopefully, I explained Brooks' point correctly. He said that winning is very important to fans, and it is the most important thing to some fans.

Winning is the most important thing for me -- as it is for you, Lip -- and I'm sure it is the most important thing for many of our posters here at WSI. But there is a group of fans out there that do like the White Sox, but maybe don't live and die with every win and loss the way many of us do here. They need those folks in the stadium also.

I'd also point out that while the 2012 team ultimately did not win the division, watching this group was a breath of fresh air when compared to the misery of 2011. So, I think there's a chance a lot of the survey respondents indicated, "Hey, at least this team played hard and made me proud to be a Sox fan again. That wasn't the case last year." If a market researcher reads a comment like that, one possible interpretation is that playing hard and representing the fan base is extremely important and even more important than whether they won or lost.

When you think about it, it makes sense within the context of what has taken place here over the last couple years.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 10-23-2012, 07:06 PM
Daver's Avatar
Daver Daver is offline
The Grand Wazoo
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: SW Suburbs
Posts: 26,641
Blog Entries: 11
Default

Thanks for stepping up to be the voice of the site, I appreciate it.
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 10-23-2012, 07:22 PM
Frater Perdurabo Frater Perdurabo is offline
WSI Prelate
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Plano, Texas
Posts: 18,220
Blog Entries: 1
Default

Most excellent reporting, JB. Thank you.
__________________
The universe is the practical joke of the General at the expense of the Particular, quoth Frater Perdurabo, and laughed. The disciples nearest him wept, seeing the Universal Sorrow. Others laughed, seeing the Universal Joke. Others wept. Others laughed. Others wept because they couldn't see the Joke, and others laughed lest they should be thought not to see the Joke. But though FRATER laughed openly, he wept secretly; and really he neither laughed nor wept. Nor did he mean what he said.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 10-23-2012, 07:23 PM
Brian26's Avatar
Brian26 Brian26 is offline
WSI Guru
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Chicago
Posts: 29,392
Blog Entries: 52
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by JB98 View Post
I'd also point out that while the 2012 team ultimately did not win the division, watching this group was a breath of fresh air when compared to the misery of 2011. So, I think there's a chance a lot of the survey respondents indicated, "Hey, at least this team played hard and made me proud to be a Sox fan again. That wasn't the case last year." If a market researcher reads a comment like that, one possible interpretation is that playing hard and representing the fan base is extremely important and even more important than whether they won or lost.
I took the survey, so I'm going by memory on this. There was a comments section at the end where people could add any thoughts, but earlier in the survey there was a very specific section of questioning where you ranked, from 1 to 10, the importance of (paraphrasing here) "the team winning, nothing else matters", "the team is very competitive and the ballpark experience is fun", "the food and ballpark experience is most important no matter what happens on the field", etc.

You can see how that middle comment above could have easily ranked highest.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 10-23-2012, 07:27 PM
Wedema Wedema is offline
WSI Personality
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Hammond, IN
Posts: 617
Default

JB, thanks for the recap.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 10-23-2012, 07:31 PM
JB98's Avatar
JB98 JB98 is offline
WSI Guru
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Crystal Lake, IL
Posts: 27,446
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian26 View Post
I took the survey, so I'm going by memory on this. There was a comments section at the end where people could add any thoughts, but earlier in the survey there was a very specific section of questioning where you ranked, from 1 to 10, the importance of (paraphrasing here) "the team winning, nothing else matters", "the team is very competitive and the ballpark experience is fun", "the food and ballpark experience is most important no matter what happens on the field", etc.

You can see how that middle comment above could have easily ranked highest.
Good point. Thanks for adding that. The way the survey is designed and worded obviously has a big impact on the results.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 10-23-2012, 07:32 PM
Brian26's Avatar
Brian26 Brian26 is offline
WSI Guru
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Chicago
Posts: 29,392
Blog Entries: 52
Default

The one comment that is a head-scratcher is the shuttle buses from the park to the Green Line station. I'm assuming anyone taking public transportation needs to walk at least three blocks to get home AFTER they get off the train, so I'm not sure why the three blocks to get there BEFORE they get on the train is a struggle. It's not that far.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 10-23-2012, 07:37 PM
kobo kobo is offline
WSI Church Elder
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Mount prospect
Posts: 4,405
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by JB98 View Post

5. With regard to the TV broadcasts, Brooks said too much is made of Hawk and Steve sitting so far apart from each other in the booth. Nobody should read anything into that because the space between the two is the result of electronic equipment, stacks of paper, etc. Brooks said both Hawk and Steve have had to make adjustments in order to make the broadcast better. There are three things the Sox want both the TV and radio broadcasts to do: 1) Teach the game, 2) Paint a picture and 3) Sell the experience. They want these guys to give the fans a feel for what is going on in the ballpark, both in the stands and on the field. They want people who are watching on TV or listening on the radio to realize the game is more fun when you're there in person. The Sox want the broadcasts to make you as a fan want to come to the ballpark more often.
Then they need to hire new Play by Play guys. Neither Farmer or Hawk do any of the 3 things mentioned. Farmer maybe a bit moreso than Hawk, but that's only in regards to teaching the game. Hawk, for all his passion for the Sox, just does not come across as a teacher and definitely does not paint a picture. He's the complete opposite. I'm not trying to upset anyone here, but if the organization seriously wants the broadcasting teams do these things then changes need to be made.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 10-23-2012, 07:40 PM
fisk4ever fisk4ever is offline
WSI Personality
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 505
Default

Thanks, JB.
#3---about the time commitment. We live downstate, and the time commitment is as much of a factor as the cost. We used to go several times a year and stay overnight, but hotel costs are too high now, so it's up and back the same day. Not much Brooks can do about that--unless there are ticket/hotel deals and they'd have to be signifcant deals. Shorter games would help. Understandably, we are not the target market, though.
Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



Forum Jump




All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:20 AM.




Design by: Michelle

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Site-specific editorial/photos Copyright ©2001 - 2008 White Sox Interactive. All rights reserved.