Rainy weather early in this homestand held both the announced and in-house crowd totals down somewhat, but a gorgeous early-August Chicago weekend produced two of the largest crowds so far this season, one of which was only the third announced tickets-sold total of 40,000 or more.
Here are the numbers for the homestand completed Sunday, August 4:
Date Announced Crowd In-House Estimate 7/29 32,848 23,000 7/30 (1) 34,996 16,000 7/30 (2) 31,638 23,000 7/31 29,817 21,000 8/1 34,005 27,000 8/2 32,520 28,000 8/3 40,490 38,000 8/4 38,409 35,000
The first game (day game) of the split doubleheader July 30 was the makeup game for the April 10 rainout against the Brewers; that was originally scheduled as a night game. It's interesting, then, that more tickets were sold for an April night game than for any of the other three night games in the series against the Brewers, three July dates. The 29,817 tickets sold for the July 31 game was the smallest tickets-sold total for any July date in 11 years, since 29,618 paid to see the Cubs and Phillies July 22, 2002.
A big walk-up sale for Sunday's game, on perhaps the most beautiful day so far this summer, brought one of the bigger in-house crowds of the season, and the biggest Sunday crowd of 2013.
For the homestand, announced tickets sold totalled 274,723, an average of 34,340 per date. My in-house estimates for this homestand totalled 211,000, an average of 26,375 per date. I have bumped up those estimates beyond some of the ones I tweeted after the third inning of some dates above, because there were still people coming in at that time, and some seats that were empty at the time of my tweets did fill in.
That's an average of 7,965 no-shows per date for the homestand, higher than the last homestand but better than earlier in the year. It probably would have been lower if not for the rain early in the week, especially on the doubleheader day Tuesday.
For the season, the Cubs have now announced a tickets-sold total of 1,858,738 for 56 dates, an average of 33,192 per date. That's up slightly from the 33,000 average I reported in the last installment in this series. My in-house estimates total 1,281,000, an average of 22,875 per date. That's up a few hundred from the 22,292 average posted in the last update. Thus, the Cubs are still averaging an estimated 10,317 no-shows per date, a little lower than the estimated 11,000 per date from the last time I wrote on this topic.
The Cubs' announced total attendance ranks 12th in MLB, behind the Nationals and ahead of the Brewers; the average of the announced total also ranks 12th, behind the Nationals and ahead of the Braves. There's enough distance on either side that the Cubs will probably settle in that position, unless September attendance drops and the Braves draw well in a playoff run of their own.
If the Cubs draw at their current average for the rest of the season, they'll wind up with just short of 2.7 million paid admissions for the season, which would be down about 200,000 from a year ago. The thing is, they probably won't; the Reds and Cardinals series in the next homestand should draw well, particularly the Cardinals. But then the Nationals come to town on weeknights when schools are beginning to return to session, and September opponents include the Marlins, who aren't a draw at all.
If the team continues to play as poorly as they did in the just-completed homestand, that could also affect attendance, both tickets sold and in-house totals, for the rest of the season. That could affect ticket pricing for 2014; there's no way the team can justify any increase, and they could wind up having to reduce prices again in order to keep people buying for 2014. No matter what management thinks, there's only so far you can sell "the Wrigley experience." At a certain point, you have to win.