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Fans of all ages enjoying a Sox game at U.S. Cellular Field. Those empty seats need to be filled.

A pro team in Chicago making it affordable for families to attend games

by Karen Quant
Nov 12, 2013


Karen Quant/MEDILL

Pricing based on 2012-2013 season and pulled from

If you’re a parent and a sports fan, chances are you have some great memories heading to the ballpark as a kid with your family.

You know, then, that it’s extremely difficult to recreate such memories with your kids, due to the high costs involved in attending pro sporting games.

Lifelong Cubs fan and Grand Rapids, Mich., resident Joel Hilgendorf, 37, said, “Taking the wife and three kids to a pro sports game is impossible.”

When asked how money affects his decision to go, Hilgendorf replied, “It’s everything.”

The burden is even heavier on fans of Chicago sports, whose teams have high ticket prices relative to other teams in the same league. True of the Chicago Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks and Cubs … but not true of one other Chicago team.

The White Sox.

“We certainly believe to provide the most affordable experience,” said Marty Malone, manager of public relations for the White Sox.

Statista, a leading statistics portal, calculated what it terms a Fan Cost Index, which calculates the cost, team by team, for taking a family to a pro game. Based on the findings, Malone is right.

Fan Cost Index for this year are as follows: Chicago Bears, $577.42; Chicago Bulls, $426.60; Chicago Blackhawks, $396.03; Chicago Cubs, $298.20.
For the Chicago White Sox, $210.18.

Prices for tickets, parking and even beer are lower in cost for a Sox game than any other team – with the exception of parking compared to a Cubs game.

Malone also mentioned family friendly initiatives not reflected in the stats: “If a family of four comes to a Sunday game, they can park and go to the game for $30 total.”

Also, during the 13 Sunday home games, parking is reduced to $10.

Family Sundays are sponsored by the University of Chicago’s Comer Children’s Hospital.

“It covers all Sunday home games and features seats in bleacher, outfield reserved, lower corner and premium upper box sections for $15, upper box and upper reserved seats for $10, and upper corner tickets for only $5,” Malone said.

A family of four then can save between $367 and $88 by attending a Sox game over any other pro team in the Chicago area. This doesn't take into account the additional savings of going to a Sunday game. Their average ticket price of $26.05 is $77.55 cheaper than a Bears ticket. For the price of one Bears ticket, you can nearly purchase four White Sox tickets.

Malone confirmed that other pricing initiatives implemented last year would remain flat for the next year. A major one of these centers around more affordable seating options—seats in the lower corners will be available again for $20 per game, and seats in the upper corner available for $7 per game, all season long.

Stephen Davern, 46, a Chicago resident and father of three, certainly takes note of the Sox affordability: “The Sox are always the best family sports deal in town and the deals are always out there. I live on the North Side but I would never take my kids to Wrigley. The kids love Sox Park and the family friendly amenities.”

Like Hilgendorf, Davern also says that pricing “is everything.” He and his family attend at least one game per year.

“Choosing a family sporting event is treated the same as a weekend vacation because the costs are similar. It is discussed in the spring and a date is picked,” Davern said.

Despite lower costs, the Sox still have far too many empty seats during games.

Davern put it well, “You would think Sox Park would be packed. The Sox are consistently the best baseball team in town and the fans on the South Side need to start showing up at games. It's pretty shameful that the affordable, family friendly park is not well attended by the fans in their back yard. All the Sox can do is be great. If not, the park will stay empty.”