A few years ago (2011, to be precise), the Cubs played 31 home games by June 1. They complained bitterly -- and legitimately so, I think -- about having to play more than a third of the home schedule in cold weather before schools were out.
This year, the Cubs had just 23 home dates before the end of May, only a bit more than a quarter of the home schedule. Weather was generally mediocre to poor, though there was just one rain delay and no rainouts.
Apart from the extremely cold day last Friday (38 degrees at game time) and the rain that fell steadily through Tuesday's game, weather conditions were better for the just-completed homestand, and the fact that the Brewers (whose fans often drive down I-94 to Wrigley) and the Yankees (whose fans always travel well) were the opponents made for larger crowds:
Date Announced Crowd In-House Estimate 5/16 35,771 22,000 5/17 36,671 30,000 5/18 37,631 30,000 5/20 38,753 36,000 5/21 34,808 31,000
The Cubs certainly would have had more people in the house last Friday if not for the brutal conditions. For the other four games, they drew quite well, having at least 30,000 (by my estimate) in the house for all four dates.
The two Yankee games, though, both fell short of selling out, and the Wednesday game in particular is a bit of a surprise given the excellent weather Wednesday. High ticket prices are the likely culprit; the two Yankee games were sold at "Marquee" level, the highest-priced games so far this year (there will be five more such games upcoming). Did the Cubs make enough money from the higher prices to offset approximately 3,000 (5/20) and 7,000 (5/21) unsold seats?
For this homestand, the Cubs announced total tickets sold of 183,634, or 36,727 per date. My in-house estimates totalled 149,000, an average of 29,800 per date, so the estimated no-show count is 34,634 for the homestand, or 6,927 per date, many fewer no-shows than previously this year. The reasons are noted above.
For the 2014 season to date, total tickets sold are 745,534, or 32,415 per date over the 23 home dates so far. My in-house estimates total 506,000, or 22,000 per date. That makes the no-show estimate for the season 239,534, or 10,415 per date. That's down significantly from the 11,384 average I reported in the last post in this series.
The Cubs' total tickets sold number ranks 11th in MLB, just a few thousand behind the Rockies and about 100,000 ahead of the Diamondbacks. The per-game average ranks ninth, also just behind the Rockies and about 800 per game ahead of the Brewers.
Though it will be June before the next home game, with many schools out and (hopefully!) more consistent good weather, I would doubt the Cubs will draw as many fans to see the Mets and Marlins as they did for the Brewers and Yankees. Winning a few games on the current road trip, which begins Thursday night in San Diego, would likely help that quite a bit.