“Last night, of the 38,266 announced, maybe 28,000 were in the house -- and that isn't going to increase unless the team starts winning.”
This is a quote from Al following yesterday’s loss. I started wondering in recent years if there has been a precipitous drop in attendance following difficult seasons since 1998, and the conclusion that I’ve come to is no.
We could actually trace the uptick in attendance back to 1984 when the Cubs celebrated their first playoff appearance in 39 years, that same year they also celebrated an attendance record, going above the 2 million mark for the first time in franchise history. Since then the Cubs haven’t looked back averaging 2 million plus for the last 25 years.
It wasn’t really until 1998 that the journey to Wrigley became the Hajj and Wrigley itself became Mecca. In ’98 the Cubs had a revival in large part due to Sosa and Kerry Wood but in seasons following those that the Cubs had down years you will notice by the following numbers that there is no distinguishable corollary in drops in attendance and the lack of on field talent.
1998 – 85-78 - 2,623,194
1999 – 67-95 - 2,813,854
2000 - 65-97 - 2,789,511
2001 - 88-74 - 2,779,465
2002 - 67-95 - 2,693,096
2003 - 88-74 - 2,962,630
2004 - 89-73 - 3,170,154
2005 - 79-83 - 3,099,992
2006 - 66-96 - 3,123,215
2007 - 85-77 - 3,252,462
2008 - 98-63 - 3,300,200
2009 - 83-78 - 3,168,859
There was a fanpost earlier that gave his or her opinion for the reasons why Wrigley should go. The above are my reasons why. This organization has not had to struggle for an identity, nor have they had to struggle to sell tickets. Wrigley is the reason they have an identity and it is the reason they sell tickets. Let’s face it the more years that go by, the novelty of Wrigley will continue to grow, thereby securing and even increasing ticket sales. I’m not full out advocating that Wrigley should be destroyed, as long as ownership or management adopts an organizational philosophy, implements it from the top down, and holds management and players accountable.
A lot of people don’t know this but what made the Braves so consistently successful was that Bobby Cox instituted a philosophy of strict fundamentals. He makes all of the minor league managers report to him regarding player progress and they consistently draft players that fit the Bobby Cox mold. It’s as simple as that, stop relying on a beautiful park to sell tickets and implement a philosophy that fans can be proud of.