Former 10 year season ticket holder here (2003 – 2012) that has been very bearish the past few years on the Cubs as it relates to the cost to see the product relative to the quality of the product on the field. In many ways, that will continue in 2014, but there will be a "turning of the tide"
Below are my predictions for wins, attendance, movement in the STH waitlist.
Last year the Cubs won 66 games, In 2014, that will be…. 68 wins.
Rizzo, Castro, Shark, and Jackson will have better years, Wood will regress, but get more victories as he gets some better run support. Let’s face it, the lineup as of now is remarkably unspectacular, combine that with a division that has 3 teams significantly better on paper than the Cubs will make for another frustrating year for Cubs Fans, but they should play better than they did in 2013
Attendance figures have been on a 5 year decline, in 2014 attendance will increase to 2,762,000 (about ~1,500 more per game when compared to 2013). How do we get that extra 120k, Here is how (Cubs Marketing group gets most of the kudos):
Season ticket sales – Slight decrease compared to 2013: (16,000 less tickets for an impact of (-200 seats per game)
Mastercard Century seats – This will be a very welcomed section for the true budget conscious fan. Every Marquee – Silver game will almost guarantee to sell out where these seats were almost always vacant in 2013 (+250 per game)
The Giveaways – Friday and Sundays have some fantastic giveaways. For those games, 2000 extra tickets will be sold for an average impact of +500 per game
The 100th anniversary game – This game will be the most coveted game of the year for true fans (the giveaway is awesome in and of itself) +10,000
The Killer B’s (Baez and Bryant) will likely make their debuts in 2014. They alone will cause 30,000 tickets to be sold over the second part of 2014 that would not if they both were in the minors.
The weather – It has been so f$#%ing cold this winter. A sunny 52 degree day in early April will feel like 80 degrees, and as a result, some people will buy tickets tomorrow just hoping it is going to be warmer (+100 per game). Also, the weather CAN’t be any worse than it was last year, attributing to more walk up sales (+200 per game)
The last year before renovations: Those of us wanting to see Wrigley in its current form (and not under construction) will make their pilgrimage to see it in its current glory one last time. Impact +10,000 (season)
STH Waitlist Movement
Last year it decreased ~38,000, this year, I feel the Cubs will not want to exceed that number, and as a result, it will "only" drop 32,000. I still strongly believe the Cubs will need to bring back some partial season ticket plans. For the 99.7% of fans, 81 games is not feasible and is just too expensive.
Since I have put funds normally allocated to Cubs Season tickets in a "rainy day fund" investing in equities (for 2013, BAC, C, CMG, JPM) and 2014 (AAPL, DATA, KONA, PBPB) I now have 23k in the war chest which will allow me to go to any WS game if the Cubs make it before I am a season ticket holder, or allow me to upgrade and get better seats when my number is called……
Curious to hear others thoughts…..
P.S. Lastly, the VWR will be gone within 17 minutes tomorrow