MLB gets cheaper in Chicago

By Kyle Rich

Though the White Sox’ and Cubs’ 2012 season may have strained the hearts of fans, spectators can expect next season to be less taxing on their wallets.

Last month, both teams announced they will reduce ticket prices for the 2013 season.

Lou Hernandez, director of public relations for the White Sox, said 87 percent of season ticket prices will be reduced or remain the same, and more than half of season ticket prices will decrease 26 percent.

Aside from three exceptions—opening day and two games against the Cubs—corner seats will be available for $20 and upper-deck corner seats will be available for $7. Tickets for the bleacher and outfield-reserved sections will be reduced up to 32 percent, according to Hernandez.

He said the price reduction is the result of a commissioned research project done by Rich Luker, creator of the ESPN Sports Poll.

“[Luker] helped examine White Sox fans’ wants in regards to ticket prices and other factors affecting the decision to attend games,” Hernandez said. “The Sox took feedback on ticket prices and created a new ticket pricing model.”

Julian Green, vice president of communication and community affairs for the Cubs, said the team followed a similar model when making its reductions. The decrease in Cub ticket prices, approximately 2 percent overall for the team, is the result of a 10 percent reduction in bleacher seat prices.

Despite having the ninth-highest home-game attendance in MLB, the Cubs hit a new personal low for attendance in more than a decade, according to an Oct. 3 Crain’s Chicago Business article.

“We had tremendous support in 2012,” Green said. “We certainly don’t take our fans for granted.”

According to Melissa London, an associate at Box Office Tickets, fans aren’t the only ones affected by the price reduction.

Third-party ticket sellers, who typically sell the tickets of season ticket holders unable to attend games, are in direct competition with each team box office, she said. Tickets sold from the Cubs box office don’t reflect actual attendance, which is what her business saw a drop in.

“We are in direct competition because when they can’t sell out, we have to sell cheaper than face- value,” London said. “That hurts us dramatically. We care how many people are showing up and going in the building.”

Hernandez and Green both said the teams want their fans to be happy at the games.

According to Hernandez, the cost of parking at U.S. Cellular Field was reduced approximately $5, which will be helpful to fans who won’t be able to commute to games on mass transit because of the Chicago Transit Authority’s plans to shut down the Sox-35th Red Line station.