With the trade deadline upon us last week, the usual day-after Attendance Watch post had to wait until this week. As you might have guessed, not only was Cubs attendance in terms of paid tickets sold among the highest in years for this homestand, but there were very, very few no-shows. Here are the numbers for the homestand that ended last Wednesday:
Date Announced Crowd In-House Estimate 7/24 41,230 39,000 7/25 41,683 41,000 7/26 41,123 40,000 7/27 35,070 32,000 7/28 36,747 35,000 7/29 38,874 37,000
Including the final three games of the previous homestand (July 10-12 vs. the White Sox), the Cubs drew over 40,000 for six consecutive home games for the first time since 2009, when they had 34 straight 40,000+ crowds from May 29 through August 15.
For this homestand, tickets sold totaled 234,727, or 39,121 per date. My in-house estimates, which showed nearly full houses for many of the dates, were 224,000, or 37,333 per date. That means the estimated no-show count was only 10,727 total for the homestand, or 1,788 per date. That's by far the lowest no-show counts since I started doing this series toward the end of 2012. Note that for the Rockies series, July 27-29, the highest paid attendance and also highest in-house estimate was for the afternoon game, July 29. I understand why the Cubs want more home night games, there are many reasons for this, from reducing fatigue to TV revenue, but attendance like that shows that perhaps the Cubs should try to schedule a few more weekday afternoons, especially in summer when kids are out of school. Part of the problem with this is their inability to play Friday night home games, something the city really ought to allow.
For the season, the Cubs have now sold 1,800,073 tickets, or 35,296 per date. That average is up by 500 per date since the last post in this series. They'll pass the two-million mark in tickets sold during the Brewers series next week. My in-house attendance estimates now total 1,520,000, or 29,804 per date. That's up by 1,000 per date since the last post, and a significant jump considering we're now talking about 51 total home dates.
The Cubs' total tickets sold ranks seventh in the major leagues, about 100,000 behind the Yankees and slightly ahead of the Tigers. The average also ranks seventh, a few hundred behind the Red Sox and about 1,500 per date ahead of the Nationals.
If the Cubs maintain the current average of 35,296, they would finish with 2,858,976 tickets sold, more than 200,000 ahead of last year. If they continue to contend, they have an outside shot at returning to the three-million mark for the first time since 2011, and that's with no bleachers for the first 14 dates and about 60 percent of the bleachers for 12 dates after that. That would have been approximately 100,000 tickets that could have been sold that weren't, although given iffy weather in April and May, it's not likely all 100,000 of those missing bleacher tickets would have been sold.
The Cubs would need to average just under 40,000 per remaining home date -- 39,998, to be exact -- to break three million this year. It's an outside shot, as I noted, because even with a contending team attendance is likely to fall off somewhat after Labor Day. Still, I'd guess the upcoming series against the Giants will draw well over 40,000 per date.
Returning to contention quickly (and somewhat unexpectedly, this year) has brought a lot of people back to the ballpark, no question about it.