Thinking about how ticket sales might go today, I was reminded of a chaotic first day of ticket sales 13 years ago.
And on the day tickets went on sale, things came to a screeching halt for many people. I heard reports of people sitting in front of browser windows for seven hours without getting through, and people who were in line at 8 a.m. having to wait till late afternoon till their number was called. Virtually all the games sold out of bleacher tickets before the first weekend was over. Many people wound up very disappointed without tickets.
There are a lot of things different now from 2004, first and foremost, 13 years later the Cubs go into the season as World Series champions. In 2004, people could (and did) line up for wristbands to buy tickets in person — the line to get wristbands took 90 minutes. Back then, online buying infrastructure wasn’t as robust as it is now, and now all Cubs ticket sales on the first weekend are by phone and online, nothing in person until Monday.
A telling detail: In 2004, bleacher season tickets averaged about $27 per game and some games were still as low as $15.
This year, that ticket is just a little bit more expensive. The average cost per game for a bleacher season ticket is now $51, and though there are still some “inexpensive” games, there are just nine of them and the cost for each of those is $23.
I say all this not to complain — this is obviously the price of winning, and I’m certainly willing to pay what I’m paying to see the World Series champions.
I’m telling you all this in advance of today’s general ticket sale to tell you that it’s likely going to be more difficult to buy tickets this year due to increased demand, and if you even get through the Virtual Waiting Room, you are likely going to be paying much, much higher prices than season-ticket holders due to “dynamic pricing.”
Even with that, I’d assume many games will be completely sold out by the end of Friday. The Cubs won’t sell out every game this year, I don’t think; early-season night games when it could be cold and when schools are still in session could have some empty seats, though not many.
The Cubs’ record season attendance is 3,300,200, set in 2008. That’s 40,743 tickets sold per date. To break that the Cubs would pretty much have to sell out every game. They’ll be close, as they were in 2016: 3,232,420, or 39,906 per date.
I will be continuing the Attendance Watch series in 2017. The focus of the series will change from attendance itself (because nearly every game is sold out) to pricing for various games. BCBer Lifetime Cubs Fan will be assisting with this again.
Good luck today if you are buying tickets and this post is for you to post your tales of woe, or success. The VWR should open at 9:30 a.m. CT.