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The concerts at Wrigley Field in 2017 generated $2.9 million in amusement taxes

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... and other interesting facts from a Cubs community report.

Green Day in concert at Wrigley Field, August 24, 2017
Gabriel Grams/Getty Images

The Cubs sent their annual Neighborhood Protection Report to those on their neighborhood email list, and it contained quite a number of interesting facts. The one that stood out to me was this:

The tradition of great music at the Friendly Confines continued in 2017. This year’s concert season included performances by legends, Grammy® Award-winning artists and Hall of Famers: Tom Petty, Dead & Company, Jimmy Buffett, James Taylor, Billy Joel, Florida Georgia Line, Green Day, Lady Gaga and Zac Brown Band.

As a result of these shows, more than $2.9 million in amusement taxes went directly to the City of Chicago and Cook County.

The amusement tax rate (the way I understand it, at least) is 12 percent. Thus $2.9 million in amusement taxes implies that the gross ticket sales for the 2017 concerts was approximately $24.5 million.

Now I’m going to get into the realm of pure speculation, so bear with me. I honestly have no idea how that gross ticket sale is split between the Cubs and the artists, nor do I have any easy way to find out.

But let’s assume for the sake of argument that it’s a 50-50 split. That would mean more than $12 million coming back to the Cubs, money they don’t have to split with other teams as they do with baseball ticket revenue.

If that’s the case, why, that’s nearly enough money to cover Tyler Chatwood’s 2018 contract.

Even if the split is somewhat more or less than that for the Cubs, you can clearly see that it’s well worth it for the team to put on these shows. They’ve gotten much better in the last couple of years in getting the playing field back in baseball shape after the concerts, which is really my only concern in doing these things.

Other interesting notes from the report:

  • The Cubs’ remote parking lot at 3900 N. Rockwell saw more than 34,000 cars use the lot for 55 games and 10 concerts, an average of 570 cars per date (the lot holds up to 1,000 cars). More than 77,000 fans rode the shuttle from the lot to the ballpark.
  • Nearly 5,000 fans used the free bicycle check the Cubs run. It’s located just to the east of the Addison Red Line stop. They will also check luggage for you there if you have to make a flight after the game, or are coming from the airport.
  • The 12th annual Race to Wrigley 5K Charity Run hosted more than 8,200 runners and raised more than $475,000 for Cubs Charities.
  • The Cubs’ “CubFund” is a 10-year program to help fund infrastructure in the community. In 2017, this money went to 51 new LED street lights with piggyback lights along Racine Street, eight new LED street lights on wrap around side streets, eight new LED road lights at the Belmont Avenue and Racine Street and Addison Street and Racine Street intersections along with three new LED road lights at the Clark Street and Racine Street intersection.
  • The Cubs granted $500,000 to 20 Lakeview-area schools through their 2017 School All-Star Grants.

The Cubs really are doing what Tom Ricketts promised on the day the sale of the team was announced in 2009 — being a good neighbor.