Major League Baseball having told its clubs to brace for a seemingly soul-crushing 17 to 20 percent drop in attendance, teams are acting accordingly. Around the league, it’s food deals, creative scheduling and new ticketing strategies that will evidently do the financial heavy lifting the economy would otherwise prevent.
Seemingly wise moves, given the circumstances, although certain teams will probably be spared the wrath of monetary doom and gloom: the tacky status symbol of 2009 Yankees and Mets tickets and innate foolishness of the Fenway and Wrigley faithful could put at least those four clubs outside the projected league-wide drop in revenue. As it stands, if you can measure a team’s faith in how they’ll weather the situation, you could argue the most assured franchise is none other than. . . our very own Chicago White Sox.
Organizational mistrust aside, it’s certainly not an enviable position for the club to be in. If the Sox know they can bank on an attendance floor, it makes certain business sense to exploit that known quantity for all they can be exploited for. At the same time, what of the PR hit the club will surely take by raising prices while Illinois’ unemployment reaches sad new heights? What would a sane person think of an organization crying poor while doing its best to drive away consumer dollars?
Of course everyone knows the answer: nothing. Anyone out there who was going to go see the games will still find a way while anyone who wasn’t still won’t. Attendance might drop, but chances are good the club will still turn an undisclosed profit and the rabid masses will still complain about the salaries of athletes they’re paying good money to be entertained by. This cannot be a healthy way for a team and its fans to coexist.