White Sox suit up at 7:11


CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox will start weeknight home games at 7:11 p.m. under a sponsorship deal struck with the convenience store chain, the team announced Wednesday.

White Sox spokesman Scott Reifert would not disclose the value of the three-year deal with Dallas-based 7-Eleven Inc., but said the revenue it generates will probably be reinvested in the team or its ballpark.

The new 7:11 p.m. start time does not represent a drastic change since many weeknight games at U.S. Cellular Field currently start at 7:07 p.m., Reifert said.

"We're just talking about four minutes, so it's not much of an inconvenience for the fans," he said.

The White Sox played 55 games at home on weeknights this year.

Margaret Chabris, a 7-Eleven spokeswoman, said fans also can expect to occasionally leave the ballpark with 7-Eleven coupons and other promotional items in the next few years. She said a recent study conducted by the company showed that many of its customers are sports fans.

"The White Sox have offered us a tremendous opportunity to get in front of a demographic that we like to attract," Chabris said. "We want to be able to interact with them in an entertaining, fun arena."

She said the company has been working to develop sponsorship deals with other sports teams and entertainment venues.

The Chicago area was targeted for such a deal because of its high concentration of 7-Eleven stores, she added.

There are more than 180 7-Elevens in the area. The company also owns more than 200 recently acquired White Hen Pantry convenience stores, Chabris said.

"Every time the media announces the game's start time it will be a gentle reminder of our sponsorship," she said.