Cubs 2012 Attendance Watch

Jim Dolan of Aurora, Illinois and his grandson Andrew Naster hold signs as the Chicago Cubs take on the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

With the Cubs far out of contention, many schools back in session and some of the games in the recently-completed 10-game homestand played on iffy weather days, both announced attendance counts and my in-house estimates were down.

It would, I suppose, figure that in a year when the team is bad and traded away several valuable (and popular) parts at the end of July, that the Cubs would play 23 of their last 39 games at home. In addition to the 10-game homestand listed below, there's another one that begins Friday, September 14. I think that the only guaranteed sellouts left at Wrigley Field in 2012 will be the two Bruce Springsteen concerts on September 7 and 8.

Date Announced Crowd In-House Estimate 8/24 31,255 28,000 8/25 35,296 30,000 8/26 32,346 17,000 8/27 32,541 23,000 8/28 30,017 23,000 8/29 33,271 26,000 8/30 28,859 21,000 8/31 32,476 26,000 9/1 32,477 24,000 9/2 39,760 34,000

There's quite a bit of interesting information in those numbers, both the announced counts and the estimates. More after the jump.

For the 10-game homestand, announced tickets sold were 328,298, or an average of 32,830 per game (rounding up). My estimates total 252,000, or 25,200 per game. Thus, the average no-show count was 7,630 per game. That's skewed a bit by the very small crowd on August 26, a game that had a long rain delay before the start and that was played in rain through most of the game before being called after eight innings.

I hadn't even thought about this before putting together this post, but check out the nearly-identical totals for August 31 and September 1. Really? Exactly ONE more ticket sold on 9/1 than on 8/31? Looks a little fishy to me.

I was also surprised at the large ticket sale for the last game of the homestand; usually Sundays don't outdraw Saturdays, but on a holiday weekend, perhaps more people figured they could buy for a Sunday game, with many having Monday off. The turnout for that game was also high, one of the biggest in-house crowds of the season. The entire Giants series, the last three games of the homestand, drew better than they might have otherwise due to several thousand orange-and-black-clad Giants fans, who were fun to be around and at times, louder than Cubs fans.

For the season, the Cubs' announced tickets-sold total is now 2,471,328 for 68 dates, an average of 36,343 per date. That won't get them to three million; if they maintain that average they'd finish with 2,943,788, and I don't think they'll maintain that average. Only the games against the Cardinals are likely to have that many or more tickets sold. They'd have to average 40,667 per date to get to three million -- virtually impossible.

So, the Cubs' eight-year streak of attendance of three million or more will end. It's more significant than you might think; that magic number has been pressed on advertisers and corporate sponsors for a long time. The Cubs could wind up at about 2.9 million tickets sold, which would be down 110,000, or about three percent. That doesn't sound like a lot, but consider this: my in-house estimates for 2012 now total 1,941,000, an average of 28,544 per date. That's down about 600 per date since the last post on this topic on August 16, and makes the average estimated no-show count per date 7,799. That's about the same as the August 16 estimated no-show average of 7,829. It would make the season no-show count 631,719.

Which means the total estimated number of people who actually attended a game at Wrigley Field this season about 2.3 million. With the team looking at another 90- or 100-loss season in 2013, how many of those no-shows become no-buys next year?

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