Water misters cool fans in the right field bleachers as the Chicago Cubs take on the Miami Marlins at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Another homestand against two non-marquee opponents (with one date, July 14, being designated marquee-price level even though it's been shown by the lack of ticket sales, especially in the bleachers, that such dates really shouldn't be at that level) brought moderately weak attendance to Wrigley Field, both in the announced ticket-sales numbers and my in-house estimates, shown here:
Date Announced Crowd In-House Estimate 7/13 36,878 29,000 7/14 38,068 31,000 7/15 36,659 31,000 7/17 34,397 28,000 7/18 34,934 26,000 7/19 32,741 26,000
Numbers: the total tickets sold announced for this homestand were 213,677, an average of 35,613 per date. None of the six dates were sellouts. My in-house estimates for this homestand totalled 171,000, an average of 28,500 per date, so there were about 7,000 no-shows per date. Credit (or blame) the weather for some of this; it rained -- hard -- on three of the six dates and it was almost unbearably hot on a couple of the others.
The 29,000 estimate for July 13 is my guess on how many people were in Wrigley Field at any time for that game, which was delayed three hours and 40 minutes. Maybe 20,000 were in the house for the 5 p.m. first pitch and only about 5,000 remained till the end at 7:35 p.m.
For the season, the Cubs' announced attendance total is 1,677,040, an average of 37,268. That's down by an average of 254 people per date over the entire season. This will likely increase after the next homestand, which includes three dates against the Cardinals; at least one of those, maybe two, will draw a full house. My in-house estimates for the entire season total 1,311,000, an average of 29,133 for the 45 home dates thus far. That's down slightly, but pretty close to the 29,231 I noted when I last posted on this topic July 2.
It seems that this pattern is pretty well locked in, then, at least until schools get back in session and summer weather comes to an end in late August. The average no-show count is about 8,000; that would translate to over 600,000 no-shows for the entire season. The good play of the team over the last few weeks hasn't really translated into fewer no-shows -- not yet, anyway. The Cubs managed to nearly -- though not completely -- fill the bleachers on Tuesday night with "Singles Night". It'll take more than gimmicks to do that on a regular basis, though.
One more note on the late-season schedule; last year the Cubs complained, and rightfully so, that they had 33 home dates by June 1, and that happened coincidentally in a year (2011) when the April and May weather was about the worst anyone could remember. They asked for a change, and they got it: this year, the Cubs have two 10-game homestands after August 24; they'll play 23 of their last 39 at home.
How this will translate into ticket sales and bodies in the seats remains to be seen.