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Cubs' Season-Ticket Renewals Are Up For 2015

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The Cubs' season-ticket renewal numbers were up from 2014... and that was even before the Joe Maddon hire.

Jonathan Daniel

This Crain's article by Danny Ecker on Cubs season-ticket renewals, originally posted last Friday, kind of flew under the radar with all the other big Cubs news this past week.

But I thought I'd excerpt some of the details, because all the things the Cubs did over the last few months, from bringing some prospects to Chicago and playing better to having the season-ticket sessions in downtown Chicago, have apparently resulted in a higher percentage of ticket renewals than the two previous seasons:

On the heels of ending a five-year slide in paid attendance at Wrigley Field, Cubs officials say the renewal rate for its full-season and "combo" night and weekend game plans this offseason jumped by roughly 5 percentage points for the second straight year to about 90 percent.

That translates to around 1,000 more tickets renewed compared with the team's season-ticket down payment deadline last year, according to a source close to the team who said the Cubs sold around 25,000 tickets on a full- or partial-season plan.

There are between 7,000 and 8,000 season-ticket accounts, according to the team.

Those numbers match up with what I've heard over the last few years. Other numbers of interest noted by Ecker:

About 18 percent of renewals were for combo plans, which include 62 night and weekend games next season. Those plans, which range from $1,229 to $3,615 based on seat location, include a guarantee of tickets to two postseason games per round. Full-season plans, which guarantee access to all postseason games, range from $1,625 to $8,460.
As you can see, the "combo" plans cover 76 percent of home games; the only games not included in those plans are 19 day-game dates that fall on weekdays. Those games are fairly evenly spread throughout the season, although there's only one such game in June.

The article quotes the Cubs as saying there are "66,000 people" on the season-ticket waiting list, and cites these other numbers:

The Cubs raised overall season-ticket prices for the first time in four seasons in 2015, though most of the increases were for the highest-priced seats at Wrigley Field.

About 20 percent of tickets in prime seating areas saw an average increase of 6 percent, while the uptick across all seats came to less than 2 percent.

The Cubs had the third-highest average ticket price in baseball in 2014 at $44.16, according to Chicago-based Team Marketing Report.

As I've said before, it will take the Cubs getting off to a strong start and nibbling at contention for them to return to the three-million mark in home attendance. That would require an increase of 350,000 tickets sold, or a 13 percent increase. That's doable -- but only if the Cubs are winning.

Anyway, these numbers definitely reflect increased optimism about the future of the Cubs, and perhaps a year or two ahead of what might have been considered the original timeframe.