The Cubs actually announced the creation of several new premier seating areas and clubs on Tuesday, but with a busy homestand, I thought today's off day would be a better time to have a look around at what the team is creating.
The team has set up cubspremier.com so you can have a look around at the various new clubs (and renovated suites).
First to open is the American Airlines 1914 Club, "inspired" by the inaugural year of Wrigley, according to the site. It'll open in 2018. Construction will begin after this season ends, with several hundred seats behind home plate being changed so that season-ticket holders in this area will have access to the following, according to cubspremier.com:
The American Airlines 1914 Club will feature multiple bars serving premium drinks. Reserve wines will be available for purchase. Unique food offerings inside this club include carving stations, ballpark fan favorites and delectable desserts, on an all-included basis. Members also will enjoy grab-and-go options and dedicated vendors serving traditional ballpark fare directly to their seats at no additional charge. Before, during and after the game, you will enjoy an exceptional experience.
Your premier experience extends beyond gamedays. As a Premier Client, you will receive VIP treatment year-round, including:
- Dedicated entrance into the ballpark
- More comfortable seating
- Dedicated, private entrance to the club
- Climate-controlled club with multiple bars and unique food offerings
- Members-only restrooms located in the club
- Best-in-class customer service with dedicated Cubs representatives
- Invitations to exclusive VIP events
- Access to concert and ticket presales
- Access to pregame batting practice passes and postgame photo passes
What's going to be difficult for many season-ticket holders in this area is the likely increase in ticket prices. Sure, some high rollers are likely going to be able to afford whatever these seats and amenities will cost. A single season ticket in the club boxes, the area affected by this new club, cost $9,548 for the 2016 season, an average of about $118 per game, though the prices ranged from $61 for "bronze" games to $145 for "marquee" games.
You can bet those prices will be going up significantly. Paul Sullivan wrote about this in the Tribune:
How much will it be?
Colin Faulkner, Cubs vice president of sales and marketing, said the price for the tickets and club won't be released yet.
"We're having conversations with our fans right now," he said. "We're going to talk to them directly first before we release it."
According to Carrie Muskat at cubs.com, fans who have seats in that area who don't want to pay the premier club price will have priority for those seats or to relocate:
Season-ticket holders who are currently located in the area behind home plate will have first priority to the new club seating, as well as to relocating if they chose. Faulkner said they wanted to give everyone a heads-up prior to when the Cubs send out renewals for next season.
"We know that given the demand of the team now and the demand for the spaces, this will probably garner significant interest from season-ticket holders who aren't in this area or from fans in general," Faulkner said. "We wanted a way to capture that interest in a thoughtful way, so that's why we're launching the premier priority list."
The current season-ticket waiting list for Cubs games at Wrigley Field is about 88,000, and it's free. There is a $500 deposit to be on the American Airlines 1914 Club waiting list.
With the team doing well, and especially if there's a deep postseason run, there likely won't be many people not renewing their season tickets, so there won't be many places to relocate.Here are two more renderings of the club, courtesy of the Cubs:
This is the way of modern sports stadiums, and Wrigley's just joining the crowd. High-end clubs and premium seating areas with multiple perks are attractive to those who can afford them. And, presuming these sell the way the Cubs hope they will, they'll provide additional revenue to the team that will (hopefully) go directly to the baseball operations department, so all these great young players the team now has can be paid when it's time to do so.
It's a new era, and the Cubs have to be part of it to compete. But it will mean Wrigley Field will look a lot different when all the renovation are complete, about four years from now.