The Cubs had just two games during the 10-game homestand against the Pirates, Reds and Nationals that wrapped up Saturday for which they sold more than 36,000 tickets, and four of the 10 dates had fewer than 29,000 tickets sold. This doesn't bode well for ticket sales the rest of the season. Here are the particulars for the 10 games:
Date Announced Crowd In-House Estimate 6/20 36,423 35,000 6/21 36,563 35,000 6/22 33,573 28,000 6/23 27,747 18,000 6/24 28,226 18,000 6/25 28,207 15,000 6/26 28,867 17,000 6/27 30,683 27,000 6/28 (1) 35,770 31,000 6/28 (2) 32,267 27,000
Let's sum up the numbers and then I'll have some comments. For the homestand, tickets sold totalled 318,326, or 31,833 per date. That average is a few hundred more than the previous homestand, but seems quite low for a late-June stand when kids are out of school and the summer travel season has begun and at least one of the opponents (the Reds) brings many out-of-town fans. For the season, the tickets-sold count is 1,250,990, or 32,077 per date. That's down from the average posted after the last homestand, but just slightly (it was 32,161 at that time).
My in-house estimates for this homestand total 251,000, or 25,100 per date, so there were an estimated 6,733 no-shows per date on the homestand, fewer than the previous homestand (7,688), despite some really awful weather for some of the weeknight dates. The season total for 39 dates of in-house estimates is 898,000, or 23,026 per date. That's up from the last time I wrote on this topic, when the in-house average was 22,310. Total estimated no-shows for the season, then, is 352,990, or 9,051 per date. That's down significantly from the 9,810 estimated average no-show count I reported the last time I wrote about attendance. The weekend dates in the homestand that ended Saturday, in particular, had few estimated no-shows, so people who buy tickets for weekend games appear to be using them in greater numbers than those who are buying weeknight dates.
That's significant. The Cubs have not sold out a game yet this year. The largest single-game announced tickets-sold count is 38,753, for the May 20 night game against the Yankees that featured Masahiro Tanaka's first Chicago appearance. They're likely to sell out only one game this year, I'd think -- Saturday, July 26 against the Cardinals. That might be the only tickets-sold number above 40,000 this year. The last year the Cubs had only one home date with 40,000 or more tickets sold was 1997.
More important are the four consecutive dates that sold fewer than 29,000 tickets. The last time the Cubs had four consecutive home games on the same homestand between Memorial Day and Labor Day that sold fewer than 29,000 tickets was also in 1997, when they had five straight such games in August, against the Expos (one game) and then a four-game set against the Marlins.
This is, I believe, a warning that the Cubs might have quite a few more dates like this coming up. Apart from the series against the Cardinals, the next homestand, also 10 games, features visits from the Padres and Rockies, not good draws, and the Cubs have an August weekend against the Rays, who are having a terrible year and whose fans don't usually travel. Granted that wet and unseasonably cold weather was a factor in the in-house attendance figures for the homestand that finished up with the split doubleheader Saturday, but I don't see that tickets-sold average of 32,077 going up, and it very likely could go down.