White Sox stance against celebrities
October 12, 2005 -- Championship games often attract celebrity fans. But for the most part, the White Sox are saying, "no thanks" to celebrities and are instead focusing on their longtime, loyal fans.
The whole "Sox stance against celebrities" commotion came to light when actor John Cusack called the White Sox owner to get tickets for Wednesday's game. Reinsdorf rejected Cusack, because he remembers Cusack as being a loyal Cubs fan two years ago.
The Sox say their image is all about the real fans.
Cusack, Bernie Mac, Michael Jordan, Jimmy Buffet, Jesse Jackson, even Yankee fan Rudy Giuliani. This is just a short list of all the celebrities that showed up for the Cubs playoff games two years ago.
So, where are all the famous faces at the Cell?
"I would argue our celebrities is Joe from Berwyn and Hank from Cicero and the family that came in from Orland Park that might be sitting in section 120, and they are as much a celebrity as anybody else," said Scott Reifert, Sox communications director.
That is right. Who needs Hollywood celebrity when you have fans that hold up signs that say "Nothing's better than a night of great Sox."
"I think we've been successful in branding this team a certain way, and maybe that Hollywood, sunglasses, jet set isn't really the look that the White Sox are all about," Reifert said.
But sports marketing experts say the White Sox and any other team could use the Hollywood sunglasses-type to boost ticket sales, something the Sox could use during the regular season.
"Whether it is right or wrong, it is the way our celebrity-driven culture is. When people see major celebrities coming out to an event, they feel they should be there as well," said Marc Ganis, sports marketer.
From a marketing standpoint, some say, for a team who has to compete against the mystique and the aura of the Cubs and the historic field they play on, celebrities showing up at the Sox game could help change the image of being second fiddle in Chicago.
"Bring in celebrities to help play against the negative factors like the location and the low profile the team has had over many years. I think bringing in celebrities is going to be a good idea for them if they can continue to win the way they have," said Lewis Lazare, Chicago Sun-Times.
Finally, the Sox have apparently made amends with John Cusack. Word is, Cusack would be at Wednesday's game. He and Jerry Reinsdorf kissed and made up, but Jerry still didn't hand over the ticket. Cusack will be joining his sister Joan in the US Cellular luxury box. Joan is the spokesperson for US Cellular.
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