We’ve always felt that a Chicago White Sox game was an underrated experience, and the numbers seem to bear that out, as the annual J.D. Power 2017 Fan Experience Study puts a Guaranteed Rate Field game the top sports experience in the Windy City — even better than a Wrigley Field run.
Research firm J.D. Power asked New York, Los Angeles, Houston, Boston, Chicago, Bay Area, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Philadelphia, South Florida and Washington, D.C. fans to rank their game experiences, focusing on MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL and MLS. The results were pretty similar across the board: MLS and NHL experiences were highly ranked, while NFL experiences were usually near or at the bottom of the fan rankings. In a way, this makes a lot of sense, as the NFL game experience is a matter cramming 70,000+ fans in a stadium, while MLS and NHL experiences tend to be more focused on fan comfort. Philadelphia Union, New England Revolution, Houston Dynamo, New York Red Bulls and L.A. Galaxy were all chosen as the top sports experience in their market, while on the NHL side San Jose Sharks, Washington Capitals, Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers were all chosen as the top sports experience in their markets. (Yes, we think it’s a little odd that the Revolution would outpoll the New England Patriots despite playing in the same stadium; the same goes for the Avalanche outpolling the Denver Nuggets.) Here is the ranking criteria, per the study press release:
Fan satisfaction is evaluated across seven factors (in order of importance): seating area and game experience; security and ushers; leaving the game; arriving at the game; food and beverage; ticket purchase; and souvenirs and merchandise. Satisfaction is measured on a 1,000-point scale. Additional factors that are measured but not included in the official ranking are loyalty and future intentions; team performance (on-field); and team image.
The only MLB team to snare the top ranking in their market? The Chicago White Sox. We find that endlessly fascinating, to be honest. Yes, a White Sox game is a much cheaper proposition than a Cubs game, both when buying tickets in advance and buying concessions once inside the turnstiles. And we find Guaranteed Rate Field to be an underrated ballpark The Chicago Cubs certainly get enough media love with the whole Wrigley Field thang — a game there is a very unique experience than almost transcends mere baseball and kept the Cubbies alive even when the on-field product sucked.
Then again, maybe Hawk Harrelson is right and Wrigley Field really should be torn down. Which would prove J.D. Power correct.