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2017 Cubs Attendance Watch: April 10-19 Homestand

Cubs attendance is up. So are prices. This should not surprise you.

Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

With the Cubs winning the World Series, demand for tickets is at what is likely an all-time high. Most if not all of the games this year will be sold out, and there won’t be many no-shows, not at the prices people are paying. In fact, the announced crowd at Wednesday’s game, 34,864, could very well be the smallest announced attendance of 2017. More on this below.

The Cubs have announced 354,581 tickets sold through Wednesday’s game, an average of 39,398 per date. That total ranks third and the average ranks fourth.

In order to break the season attendance record, the Cubs will have to average 40,911 per game — for all 72 games remaining. It’ll be close.

The focus of this series is changing this year because of the World Series win. We’ll be looking at pricing trends throughout the season. As he did last year, BCB reader Lifetime Cubs Fan has put together some data on pricing through the first nine home games of 2017. I turn the rest of this post over to him.

I’ll just come out and say it — right now, I am a little pumped. Watching the Cubs come back and win in dramatic walk-off fashion via a home run was great, but even better, my son’s baseball team, winless on the season, (and lost their last eight games by slaughter rule) defeated the only (previously) undefeated team that had won each of their games by at least five runs. IMO, it would rank up there with the Miracle on Ice team defeating the Russians and N.C. State beating Houston. That’s baseball for you.

Switching gears to this installment of the pricing update. I hope to shed some light on the following:

  • There is a price to winning (and it is not cheap)
  • There are some sections that remain much more desirable than others
  • Though many games are very expensive, there are diamonds in the rough

The price of winning. As Al wrote late last year when season-ticket invoices came out, the average ticket price has increased about 20 percent from 2016 to 2017 for STH.

However, when you factor into the equation dynamic pricing, it is much more severe than you might think. Looking at the chart below, for the first nine home games in 2016 and 2017 (very similar makeup of categories), it compares the STH price paid in 2016, to the last posted price in 2016, to the last posted price in 2017. As you can see, each section has increased by at least 50 percent, where some have more than doubled.

As the summer approaches these prices are just going to go higher. As of now via, for 2017, in the bleachers, there will be at least 32 games that will be over $100 a ticket.

Take a look at the graph below, as you can see, the first nine games saw a significant increase in price on relative to what STH paid.

However, the chart below tells which sections are more desirable as they depict the percent increase in the demand based pricing since tickets went on sale in late February.

Basically, the premium location seats (Club and Field box) as well as the value seats (Terrace / Upper Deck Reserved) saw the largest increase, while Upper Deck Box and Terrace Box remained virtually stagnant. This is consistent with behavior we saw in 2016.

Lastly, I thought it was interesting that a bronze game only had 34,000 fans for Wednesday’s game against the Brewers. I think it is safe to say that will be the lowest paid attendance we will see this year. I also think that the yearly attendance record will not be broken as demand pricing will prevent many games from being complete sellouts (I am thinking it will be near 3.26 million for the year).

So what games are the best value at the present moment? IMO, you can’t go wrong with any of the following:

May 1-4 series against the Phillies

June 7 game against the Marlins with 1908 replica jersey giveaway

August 28-30 series against the Pirates

September 12-13-14 series against the Mets

In the next Installment I will have some observations on secondary market pricing to see how the removal of the six-hour cutoff for Stubhub and the MLB Ballpark App / No print-at-home is impacting (or not) ticket prices – Stay Tuned!