Before I begin, I want to ask a favor of you, the BCB reader.
If you are not interested in this topic, please move on to another post. Some people are interested in Cubs attendance, and this post is for them. Thank you.
A scheduled nine-game homestand turned into 10 games, with the makeup game from the April 17 rainout against the Texas Rangers rescheduled for the off day May 6. While the weather was better, the baseball wasn't -- the Cubs went 4-6 over the 10 games -- and it showed in the attendance numbers, shown here.
Date Announced Crowd In-House Estimate 4/29 32,169 19,OOO 4/3O 31,3O3 22,OOO 5/1 34,832 23,OOO 5/2 32,865 12,OOO 5/3 32,579 12,OOO 5/4 36,455 27,OOO 5/5 33,449 23,OOO 5/6 32,618 12,OOO 5/7 3O,161 22,OOO 5/8 26,354 18,OOO
Of particular note is the last date, Wednesday, May 8, a game against the Cubs' biggest rival on the nicest weather afternoon of the year so far. Bright sunshine and pleasant temperatures brought... the smallest Cubs/Cardinals paid crowd at Wrigley Field since May 1, 1998, when just 25,598 paid to see these two teams on a chilly (55 degrees, cloudy) Friday afternoon. That was just before Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire heated up the home-run race that captivated the nation that year.
You would think that such a nice Wednesday afternoon would have generated some walk-up sale; it always has in recent years. And there very well might have been a fair number of people who decided, "Hey, I think I'll take this afternoon off and go see a ballgame." But unlike past years, those people aren't lining up at the box office at the corner of Clark and Addison. Instead, they're roaming the area streets looking for below-face-value tickets (you can no longer last-minute via StubHub, because MLB's new deal with them cuts off sales six hours prior to game time).
In many cases, they are finding those tickets. I heard the general street price for Wednesday's game was about half face value.
As the weather gets better and schools let out for summer, attendance numbers -- both paid and the in-house estimates -- should increase. But not drawing for a beautiful day against the Cardinals should give the Cubs pause.
Here are the numbers for this homestand: total announced attendance was 322,785, an average of 32,279 per date (rounding up). The in-house estimates total 190,000, an average of 19,000 per date; thus, there were 13,279 no-shows per date. For the season, announced attendance is 572,920, an average of 31,829 per date. The total of my crowd estimates is 318,000, or 17,667 per date, so the estimated no-show count is 254,920, or 14,162 per date. The no-show numbers should decrease as the year goes on -- but as of now they're almost double what I estimated a year ago.
The Cubs' total announced tickets sold ranks 10th in the major leagues, about 2,000 total paid tickets behind the Blue Jays and about 31,000 ahead of the Nationals, who the Cubs visit this weekend. The 31,829 average ranks 11th, just behind the Nats (31,994) and 1,000 per date ahead of the Rockies (30,829). For reference, in 2012 the Cubs ranked 10th in both categories.