Sox lose 7-Eleven; eye new start times

The Chicago White Sox's weeknight games will have a new start time this season.

The Sox's sponsorship deal with convenience store chain 7-Eleven expired after the
2009 season, and the company chose not to renew it. The $500,000-per-year deal called for all weeknight games to start at 7:11 p.m.

"They canceled the agreement right after it was done," White Sox vice president and chief marketing officer Brooks Boyer said on Wednesday.

The Sox's official Web site lists 2010 home games as to be determined. Boyer said games will begin at 7:10 p.m.

The three-year deal was widely publicized when it was announced in October 2006. "Every time the media announces the game's start time it will be a gentle reminder of our sponsorship," Margaret Chabris, a 7-Eleven spokeswoman, told the Associated Press in 2006.

An e-mail sent to Chabris was not immediately returned.

Last year in an interview with Chicago reporters during spring training, White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said they expected to lose some expiring contracts because of the economy. The team lost Pontiac as a major sponsor last year, but added Comcast.

Boyer said the economy was to blame for this deal's demise.

"It got to the point where they were hit by the economy," Boyer said. "We worked with some great people at 7-Eleven."

The White Sox are working hard to sign new sponsors with a new addition to their Web site, designed to highlight the sponsorship opportunities with the team. The Sox's new sponsorship-focused venture gives a panoramic view of U.S. Cellular Field and includes video, audio from announcer Gene Honda and interactive advertising displays.

Jon Greenberg is a columnist for ESPNChicago.com.