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More Fans Watched the Sox

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Oct 16, 2006 7:30PM

2006_10_sports_sox_tv.jpgWhile neither team made the playoffs this year, the White Sox's 2005 World Series title and contention for a playoff spot until the last weeks of the season this year allowed the Sox to edge the Cubs in TV ratings for the 2006 season.

As Crain's Chicago Business notes:

On both WGN and WCIU, the Sox's ratings for the season rose 21% over last year, to a 5.1, while the Cubs' fell 22% to a 4.5. One rating point equals 34,550 area households.

The Sox scored a 3.1 rating on Comcast SportsNet, up 19% from the previous season. The Cubs slipped 25% to a 2.9.

So what's that mean? Well, it means that commerical time during Sox games will bring them more money, as well as the rates they charge for in-stadium advertising that can be seen on TV. Guess they'll have to get 7-Eleven to throw in a few slurpees along with that $500k.

Of course, more money means more money to spend on players, so that the White Sox can try to win another World Series in 2007 rather than look to dump salary.

While the White Sox surpassed the Cubs in TV viewers, they still came up a little bit short at the turnstile. The Sox just missed hitting the 3 million mark in 2006, drawing 2,957,414 fans. The Cubs welcomed 3,123,215 to the "Friendly Confines." That placed both teams within the top 10 in the Majors.

Clearly, the White Sox's success in 2005 boosted their fan base tremendously. And the Cubs' continued mediocracy really seemed to chase away fans by the end of the year. How many of those counted as paid attendance at Wrigley were actually unused tickets as the Cubs played in front of a 2/3 full stadium through most of September?

It'll certainly be interesting to see what the trend is in the coming season. Was 2006 an anomaly resulting from the divergent fortunes of our two teams? Or is this a cyclical shift in this city that might last a generation?