The Cubs passed the two million mark in total tickets sold for the 2014 season with Friday's game, with (at that time) 18 remaining dates. Here are the numbers for the just-completed, rain-soaked homestand, and then some thoughts on where we are and where we're going with attendance.
Date Announced Crowd In-House Estimate 8/19 31,064 24,000 8/20 30,633 25,000 8/21 30,531 18,000 8/22 33,761 28,000 8/23 37,156 31,000 8/24 32,774 28,000
Well. These numbers do require some explanation. Fans of both visiting teams this past week -- both Giants fans and Orioles fans -- came to Wrigley Field in large numbers. That was particularly true for Orioles fans, who had followed their team on a week-long odyssey to Chicago as they played the White Sox before they came to Wrigley. Many of them did leave after Saturday's game -- the number of orange-clad Baltimore fans in the stands was noticeably smaller for Sunday's contest despite the nicer weather.
You'll notice that the three games for the Giants series had nearly identical totals of tickets sold for all of them. This likely reflects season-ticket sales, both full-season and the weekend and night package. For the weekend, the Saturday game sold more tickets despite the weather forecast; the lower number for Sunday is typical of most weekends, where Saturday outdraws Sunday.
Here are the numbers for the homestand: Tickets sold totalled 195,919, or 32,653 per date. This is slightly fewer on average than the 33,115 per date for the previous homestand. My in-house estimates -- and the Thursday in-house crowd was clearly lowered by the awful weather -- total 154,000, or 25,667 per date. That makes the estimated no-show count for this homestand 41,919, or 6,987 per date. That's up from the last homestand, obviously because of the awful weather (for example, estimated no-shows for Friday and Sunday, when the weather was nice, were much lower).
For the season, the Cubs' total tickets sold are now 2,128,439, or 32,745 per date. That's down from the last post in this series -- by nine people. My total in-house estimates for the season are now 1,621,000, or 24,938 per date. That makes the estimated no-show total for the season 507,439, or 7,807 per date.
The Cubs' total attendance ranks 12th, about 50,000 behind the Nationals and 75,000 ahead of the Phillies. The average ranks 11th, about 700 per game ahead of the Nats and more than 1,200 per date behind the Rockies.
If the Cubs draw the same numbers as their average to date for the rest of the year, they'll sell 2,652,345 tickets, which would be almost exactly the same as last year's total of 2,642,682. However, over the last few years, attendance in September has been down considerably, and not just because of poor play on the field. The end of the tourist season and return of kids to school cuts into attendance in many different ways. Last year in September, six of the 13 dates had fewer than 30,000 tickets sold. I expect something similar this year, even with the Cardinals and Dodgers and Brewers, contending teams, coming in. Of the 16 remaining dates, nine are night games and those historically don't draw as well.
It might be different this year. The better play has drawn some more people back to Wrigley; exactly how many is impossible to say right now. We'll see what happens.