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2014 Cubs Attendance Watch

A homestand that lasted way longer than usual (due to extra-inning games) had some large crowds... and some small ones.

David Banks

Two N.L. West teams without big national followings and one N.L. Central team that's the Cubs' biggest rival comprised the opponents for the just-completed 10-game homestand. If you didn't know which was which, you could easily tell by the tickets-sold figures and my in-house crowd estimates:

Date     Announced Crowd     In-House Estimate
7/22        32,730              28,000
7/23        30,718              19,000
7/24        31,321              22,000
7/25        41,534              39,000
7/26        41,927              42,000
7/27        35,256              33,000
7/28        29,702              18,000
7/29        28,590              22,000
7/30        29,491              22,000
7/31        35,729              28,000

Note for the in-house estimates: I've been tweeting most of these, usually after the third inning or about an hour after game time, since I figure most people are in the park by then. I've bumped up the last two of these figures for this homestand since it appeared to me that more people arrived late for those two games.

The Cardinals series produced the first two sellouts of the season, Friday, July 25 and Saturday, July 26, and the in-house counts for those games reflected very few no-shows. The Sunday, July 27 tickets-sold figure, 6,000 fewer than the other two games, reflects a choice by the Cubs to price all three games at "Marquee" level. Had they priced the Sunday game lower -- Sunday games tend to draw fewer than Friday and Saturday, and many Cardinal fans had left by then -- they'd likely have sold out that one, too. Did the additional revenue from the higher ticket prices make up for the 6,000 unsold seats?

Crowds were much lower for the Padres and Rockies series, and the low in-house estimates for several of the dates reflect unseasonably cold weather on those dates. The announced total of 35,729 for Thursday's game, the highest for any of the seven dates against the N.L. West teams by a significant margin, is likely because of a large number of groups that day. There were dozens of tour buses causing traffic jams on Waveland before and after the game. It also might mean that people enjoy coming to weekday-afternoon games in the summer than weeknight games -- the six other dates for those teams were all night games.

Here are the numbers for the homestand. The announced tickets sold total 336,998, or 33,700 per date. My in-house estimates total 273,000, or 27,300 per date, so there were an estimated 63,998 no-shows, or 6,400 per date. Since the homestand prior to this one was only three games long, there's no meaningful comparison between the two, so let's move on to season totals.

The Cubs have now announced 1,700,701 tickets sold for 52 dates, or 32,706 per date. That's up from the last post in this series, but only by 237 per date, despite the two sellouts. My in-house crowd estimate total 1,273,000, or 24,481 per date. That's up, too, from the last homestand, but only by 671. Also, that makes an estimated 427,701 no-shows for the season, or 8,225 no-shows per date. That's down from the last such estimate, but again, not by very much, only 435 per date.

While the Cubs are "on pace" -- given the current per-game average -- to sell 2.65 million tickets this year, the home schedule the rest of this year isn't really conducive to that. There aren't any more big weekend-draw teams coming in; the Cardinals are back, but for three weeknights in September, and as shown above, weeknight games simply don't draw what weekdays do. The next homestand, with the Rays and Brewers in town, features a team that doesn't have many traveling fans and a four-game set with three weeknight games. We'll see what happens, but I expect attendance figures for that homestand to be quite low for early August, while kids are still on summer vacation.

The Cubs' season tickets-sold total ranks 11th in the major leagues, about 165,000 behind the Brewers and slightly ahead of the Reds. The Cubs' per-date average also ranks 11th, about 1,000 per date behind the Brewers and about 500 per date ahead of the Nationals.