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Cubs 2013 Attendance Watch

The 81 scheduled games at Wrigley Field are now all in the books.

Jonathan Daniel

The Cubs' 2013 home season has ended, so let's delve into the final attendance numbers for the 81 games at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs announced 2,642,682 tickets were sold during 2013, an average of 32,626 per date. That's the lowest announced attendance since 1998 (2,623,194) -- and the bigger difference, I can tell you from having been at all but two of the 1998 games, is that there was far closer to the actual announced number actually in the seats that year than there was in 2013. This year's number is also down about 20 percent from the club record 3,300,200 that paid to see games in 2008.

Here are the numbers from the just-completed homestand.

Date     Announced Crowd     In-House Estimate
9/20      29,539              17,000
9/21      34,612              26,000
9/22      30,515              18,000
9/23      32,289              16,000
9/24      34,138              19,000
9/25      26,171              14,000

Those are pretty interesting, actually. Far more people paid for (and attended) the two night games against the Pirates (9/23 and 9/24) than I might have expected, partly because of the influx of a few thousand Pirates fans, traveling to see their team clinch a playoff spot for the first time in 20 years. I was also a bit surprised that the final home game, played on a gorgeous fall afternoon, didn't draw a few more people.

For the homestand, tickets sold totalled 187,264, or 31,211 per date. My in-house crowd estimates totalled 110,000, or 18,333 per date. That makes for approximately 12,878 no-shows per date over the final homestand, quite a bit larger than in the previous post in this series. The reasons for that should be obvious; the no-show estimate is similar to the rate at the homestand that ended May 9.

The Cubs' total announced attendance and average per game both rank 12th in the major leagues (and that rank isn't going to change, as the teams above and below them in both categories, the Nationals and Brewers, have both also completed their home schedules). In 2012 the Cubs ranked 10th in both categories. Only six teams (Yankees, Twins, Rangers, Brewers, Phillies and Marlins) had a larger per-game decline in attendance from 2012 to 2013.

For the Cubs, the overall season total of tickets sold is shown above. For the full season, my estimates of how many people were actually in the seats total 1,822,000, or 22,494 per date. That means there were an estimated 820,682 no-shows in 2013, or 10,132 per date. That's about 1,300 more per date than in 2012, and 31 percent of the total of tickets sold, which is quite a bit higher than I reported last year at the end of the season.

I believe the Cubs will have to make adjustments in ticket prices for 2014 to avoid another significant decline in attendance. That's a topic for another article, which I'll be posting here next week.