Yes, I'm going to be doing this again in 2014.
And before we get started, I'm once again going to ask you all a favor. If this topic is one that does not interest you, please just pass it on by. Thanks.
Last Friday, Opening Day, brought a nearly full house to the North Side. Almost all of the announced 39,833 showed up, at least by my personal in-house estimate (which I believe to be within five percent of the actual turnstile count). For the rest of the homestand? Not so much; the weather is a factor, though for the first week of April after a winter as horrendous as Chicago suffered, the early-spring weather hasn't been too awful.
Here are the numbers for the first homestand:
Date Announced Crowd In-House Estimate 4/4 38,283 36,000 4/5 30,651 18,000 4/6 26,712 14,000 4/8 26,177 13,000 4/9 28,247 15,000 4/10 25,502 12,000
Total announced tickets sold for the six dates was 175,572, or 29,262 per date. That average ranks 21st among the 30 teams. Granted, it's very early and these rankings will change as the weather gets warmer, but that puts the Cubs ahead of only the Twins, Pirates, Astros, Athletics, Marlins, Royals, White Sox, Rays and Indians. Many of those teams have had significant attendance woes in the past.
The last time the Cubs had four consecutive dates on which they announced tickets-sold totals under 30,000 was in April 1998, before that team started to get involved in the wild-card race, and before the Sammy Sosa show. This, I think, would have to be concerning to the team.
The total of my in-house estimates of attendance is 108,000, or 18,000 per date. That's an estimated 67,572 no-shows, or 11,262 per date. The chilly weather for the two night games has a fair amount to do with that, but there were also a lot of empty seats for the two weekend dates, as well as Thursday's game, even though there were a large number of groups arriving on buses for Thursday's contest. There were probably no more than 1,500 in the bleachers Thursday, likely less.
These numbers will, obviously, increase as the weather gets better and schools let out. The next homestand will tell a story as the Cubs have several promotions (Joe Tinker bobblehead, Cubs train engine for kids, and the 100th-anniversary date) which could bring much larger crowds, as well as having an opponent (the Reds) who traditionally draw well.
It'll be instructive to see how attendance is, both tickets sold and in-house estimates, for that homestand.