CHICAGO -- If you rebuild it, they will come.That is the lesson the White Sox are learning and the support goes deeper than high praise for general manager Rick Hahn's myriad moves and the daily following of highly touted prospects such as Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech and Eloy Jimenez. Fans
CHICAGO -- If you rebuild it, they will come.
That is the lesson the White Sox are learning and the support goes deeper than high praise for general manager Rick Hahn's myriad moves and the daily following of highly touted prospects such as Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech and Eloy Jimenez. Fans are putting their money behind their excitement for the future.
• 2018 season ticket deposits
"What's been rewarding to me is to hear, it just happened a couple of weeks ago, someone saying, 'Yes, we are buying season tickets now because we know this team is going to be good. We want to be able to have the best seat location. We want to get in now and watch the process unfold,'" White Sox senior vice president, sales and marketing Brooks Boyer told MLB.com. "That's rewarding to us because the word is clearly out, understanding what our process is and what we are doing, and then the same exact message is coming from the marketing department to our fans and to our sponsors."
As an organization, the White Sox have done an excellent job of promoting the rebuild. The team added Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Month awards, had media conference calls with the winners and brought in Kopech, ranked as the club's No. 2 prospect by MLBPipeline.com and Jimenez, the No. 1 prospect, to meet the current players and the media during the last homestand.
Understanding that the process stands closer to the beginning than the end becomes an important point to be disseminated to the fan base. Boyer's personal encounters lead him to believe fans are enjoying the buildup as much as the potential for what the end of the rebuild holds.
"White Sox fans have embraced the rebuild," Boyer said. "I've had a number of people say to me, 'Thank you for picking a lane. Please stay in it.' We've been very clear about what our intentions are and what we are doing, and we are not deviating from it.
"There are people more excited from a fan perspective going into this offseason then they were last offseason. People see what is coming up. When you can have Rick stand in front of a group of season ticket holders and rattle off 10 to 15 names of players that our fans are now looking up, and then with the Draft, you are stockpiling talent. Our fans get that and they are buying in."
The more the fans buy in, the more resources become available to enhance the rebuild via free agency when the time is right.
"When [the rebuild] was determined, [White Sox chairman] Jerry [Reinsdorf] wanted the full plan," Boyer said. "Not just what's going to happen on the baseball side, but what are we going to do on the business side to make sure we get to the point that when we are successful on the field, can we maximize our exposure to our fans and maximize attendance?
"Our business model is pretty simple when we do that: Revenue in allows us to spend more on players. And out of operations it gives us our player payroll which hopefully gives us that chance to go out and acquire that next level free agent."
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.