We all heard Rick Hahn say that as an organization, the White Sox need to “earn that respect back from the fans.” How can they possibly do it without “throwing money at the problem?”
Last weekend, I joined many of you from near and far to cheer on our beleaguered team in San Diego. I took some notes on what the Padres were doing for their fan base, that the White Sox could adopt to improve the fan experience. And guess what – Nearly all of these are free or MAKE money for the White Sox.
Have Some Free Events
We went to a free event at the Padres’ Gallagher Square (outside the stadium officially, but still in the park,) where we purchased Friar Funds to use at the drink stands, they had set up. There was a DJ and dancers to celebrate Hispanic Heritage month.
It was a great way to get fans into the ballpark early, spending money that can only be used within the park, and the vibe was incredible. They had sponsor stands like Southwest Airlines, where our very own Quernzy won SWA miles!
The White Sox could do this type of event in one of the parking lots. And in this “free event” they might actually make money through Sox Bux or whatever they want to call the drink tickets. I know we (The BeafLoafs,) purchased more than we spent.
And for any of you saying, “but hey, they did some season ticket holder events this year!” Are you serious? The last two season ticket holder events were pathetic according to my sources. There was very little variety in the food and drink choices. Hot dogs and pickles? GTFOH.
Make Money Off the Foul Pole
At Petco Park, where our beloved Section 108 would be if it were our stadium, Jack from Jack in the Box sits atop the foul pole. What an amazing marketing spot. We could have the big, red down arrow logo for Guaranteed Rate. Or, how about a big Miller Lite can? Because we are located right next to the Miller Light Landing.
During the Game Enhancements
You know the #changethegame Twitter pictures they show a couple times during the game? At Petco, they show these pics under the player that is up to bat! Imagine that your favorite player is batting and the picture you posted is on the screen with his picture and stats! How cool is this? And what does it cost? It doesn’t. It’s free. Well, technically, we might need a better scoreboard or a new scoreboard program – but still.
Another fun, free way to energize the crowd was having the “Ladies” versus the “Fellas” cheer. As humans, we are wired to compete – even those of you who say you aren’t competitive, probably are a little bit. I know I rarely participate in the Doot do do do…CHARGE! But I will definitely raise my strong female voice against the males!
Video clips of the Padres’ successful at bats or pitching were played between innings. Even a team as awful as the 2022 White Sox had some really great moments. Why not celebrate them? It doesn’t need a huge musical, light show production like the start of the game. The footage exists – cut it and replay it.
As a proud animal lover, advocate and mom to many pets, seeing cute animals on the screen was an adorable way to show off Padres’ fans’ furry friends. I would absolutely love to see your pooches and kitties up there on screen!
Lastly, our “Guest Services” personnel serve little purpose. In San Diego and in Minneapolis, there was someone monitoring when you could go down to your seats and it WASN’T in the middle of an “at bat.” I thought this was great so no one misses the next big play.
I realize not everyone goes to the park to watch baseball – and I am guilty of wanting to chit chat with my friends and drink too many Vizzy’s, too, but let’s be respectful to all fans and wait to come back to our seats when appropriate. This is also a win for the usually miserable-looking guest services staff. They might be looking for more purpose in a normally mundane role. Have fans try and push past you and your sign to wait could be thrilling!
There are certainly more ideas to make the fan experience more robust, so let’s keep the conversation going. Hit me up with your suggestions!
Mrs. BeefLoaf is a business owner, podcast co-host, wife of 20 years to Beef, mom to Bonita Steakie and many animals, avid wine drinker and lover of travel. She is also the “Den Mom” of Section 108.