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Cubs 2013 Attendance Watch

Crowds, both paid and in-house, were up for this homestand. Also inside, a reminder of what my crowd-estimate tweets are actually saying.


I've been tweeting out my crowd estimates sometime after the third inning of each game (that is, when I remember to do that).

Sunday night, I tweeted "29,000", and that caused several people to tweet back at me that "no way is it that low". Then, after the 35,178 tickets-sold number was announced, I received more tweets indicating that I was "wrong". I'm not sure those people actually understood that I'm making estimates of how many people are actually in the house and that the announced number is tickets sold, not the actual turnstile count.

Regarding Sunday, the crowd did appear to fill in a bit more after I sent out my estimate; thus, I adjusted that estimate to 30,000. I'll stand by that; there were many blocks of empty seats not only in the corners, but scattered throughout. Approximately 5,000 no-shows seems about right for Sunday night's game.

Here are the estimates and announced crowds for the just-completed nine-game homestand:

Date     Announced Crowd     In-House Estimate
7/5       38,615              37,000
7/6       36,590              34,000
7/7       33,146              28,000
7/9       31,579              22,000
7/10      31,111              21,000
7/11      35,379              27,000
7/12      37,322              35,000
7/13      42,240              42,000
7/14      35,178              30,000

Do you notice something about the announced figures for a couple of dates? Typically, Saturday crowds are the biggest of the week -- yet, there were more tickets sold for Friday, July 5, than Saturday, July 6. Why is this? Probably because the 7/6 date was priced at Marquee level, and the 7/5 date at Platinum level (one step lower than Marquee). The Cubs could probably have sold out the July 6 date at Platinum level; that's 5,000 tickets that went unsold because they were priced too high. Sure, revenue might be a bit higher, but the Cubs could have had more people actually in the park, more concession revenue, etc.

The same thing happened this past weekend; the games on Friday, July 12 and Saturday, July 13 were both priced at Marquee level. The Saturday game did sell out and the Cubs sold standing room that day -- but they probably could have sold out the Friday game, too, if it had been lower-priced.

You'll also note that the crowds, both tickets-sold and in-house, for the two-game Angels series, were quite small, despite nice weather (at least on the second day; the first one was extremely hot and humid) and the supposed appeal of seeing Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton.

For this homestand, tickets sold total 321,160, an average of 35,684 per date. My in-house estimates total 276,000, an average of 30,667 per date. That's an average of 5,017 no-shows per date, a considerably lower average than earlier this year. You'd expect that with better weather and an opponent who always draws well. For the Cardinals series by itself, tickets sold were 150,119 (37,530 average); in-house estimate for those four games was 134,000 (33,500 average). That's only about 4,000 no-shows per game; the Cubs probably could have drawn even more with better pricing for those games.

For the season, the Cubs have now sold 1,584,015 tickets for 48 home dates, an average of 33,000. That's up by 619 from the previous article in this series, not a huge increase given the better crowds. The Cubs rank 11th in total announced attendance and 12th in average per game, a few hundred behind the Nationals and about 1,000 ahead of the Braves. They will sell fewer than three million tickets for the second straight season, as they would have to sell out every game the rest of the year to even come close (they won't). The current pace would get them to 2,673,025, a decline of over 200,000 tickets sold from last year, and that could wind up lower, as September crowds are likely to be smaller.

My in-house crowd estimates total 1,070,000 for the season, an average of 22,292 per date. That's up significantly from the average of 20,359 I posted after the last homestand. That still means the Cubs are averaging close to 11,000 no-shows per game. I'd expect that number to drop further if we continue to have the nice weather that was the case for the just-completed homestand, but as I noted last time, the Cubs are likely still headed for about 800,000 no-shows this year.