Sox fail to draw two million fans this season

CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox drew less than two million fans at U.S. Cellular Field this season, the first time they’ve been below that mark since 2004.

The White Sox’s final announced paid crowd of 26,381 on Sunday gave them 1,965,505 paid tickets for the 2012 season. They drew 1,930,537 fans in 2004.

The White Sox ranked 24th with an average paid attendance of 24,666 in 2012. They had 16 crowds of 30,000-plus fans and 14 with less than 20,000.

“We’re happy they came out,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said of the team’s fans after Sunday’s game. “When they come out, they’re very supportive and loud. We appreciate that.”

The White Sox drew a franchise-best 2,957,414 fans in 2006. Last season, they welcomed 2,001,117 fans.