I can’t remember too many weeks in May when the weather for baseball in Chicago was so consistently cold. Of the seven games against the Phillies and Yankees, just two had a game-time temperature out of the 40s (and those just hit 50). Monday’s game had a long rain delay and then a downpour just when the game started.
Nevertheless, 274,670 tickets were sold for the homestand, an average of 39,239 per game. That certainly would have been higher with better weather. Only Sunday’s game had anywhere near a full house; a couple of the night games against the Phillies had maybe 20,000 in Wrigley Field.
For the season the Cubs have now sold 629,251 tickets, an average of 39,328 per game. Both of those numbers rank fourth in the major leagues. Teams ahead of the Cubs in total sales are the Dodgers, Cardinals and Red Sox; teams ahead in average per game are the Dodgers, Cardinals and Giants.
In order to break the season attendance record the Cubs must announce total ticket sales of 2,670,950 for the remaining 65 games. That’s an average of 41,092 per game — every single game. It’s possible, but I think they’ll come up somewhat short.
As I have been doing for the last year or so, I’m going to turn the rest of this post over to BCB reader Lifetime Cubs Fan, who has some data on pricing trends and some more info on the attendance record.
In April and early May, the weather dominates the secondary market pricing behavior for Cubs games. Period.
As Al mentioned a few days ago, tickets to the Yankees series were very easy to come by on StubHub at very reasonable prices. As a matter of fact, that has been the case for almost the entire season.
The two charts below show the price of bleacher and Club Box Infield seats for season ticket holders, the last posted cubs.com price, and lowest price I observed on StubHub for games on this homestand. As you can see, every game this series, tickets could have been had for prices much cheaper than what STH paid. Why is that? It is simple – the weather. If you timed it correctly, for last night’s marathon game, you could have had seats in the Club Box – Infield for 11 percent of what was being offered on cubs.com. (That is $1.77 per inning, or 67 cents per strikeout witnessed, or just over a nickel per pitch).
I am curious if the opening lyrics of the 10,000 Maniacs song “Like the Weather” is how ticket brokers felt when they awoke each morning for this homestand:
The color of the sky as far as I can see is gull grey
I lift my head from the pillow and then fall again
I get a shiver in my bones just thinking about the weather
A quiver in my lip as I might cry
Though I want to get a little more data to confirm my hypothesis, I believe an increase in speculative buying of tickets this year (compared to last year), combined with a quicker “escalation” of demand base pricing with a dash of perceived inconvenience of the Ballpark App will lead to some buying opportunities for fans who are patient.
Let’s look at the number of tickets available on StubHub five days out from each game this homestand.
I’ve been analyzing Cubs ticket behavior for a few years now, I don’t recall a game ever having more than 6,200 tickets available via StubHub and each game of the Yankees series eclipsed that mark. Additionally, for Saturday’s game, at one point I noticed 1,400 bleacher seats were available for sale on StubHub (approximately 28 percent of tickets in the bleachers)
A rule of thumb for those of you debating to go to a game a week out – If there are more than 4,500 seats for sale on StubHub, there is a good chance you will come across a good deal if you are vigilant. Which leads me to share a public service announcement — if you need a large number of tickets in the bleachers (e.g. six or eight, etc.), there is no need to find a listing with the exact amount of tickets you need for sale. I’m amazed when I see a sale for two bleacher seats at $50 each, followed by a sale for nine bleacher seats at $100 a seat. Bleacher seats for the regular season are general admission -– buy the cheapest tickets until you’ve reached the quantity you need.
For those of you who may have thought a World Series championship combined with additional seating would lead to an attendance record, behold the chart below. It compares 2008 to 2017 attendance game by game for the first 15 games. I will post this from time to time, but I think the 2008 attendance record is safe.
Lastly, I have a request for those of you who have purchased seats (from cubs.com or StubHub) and entered Wrigley via pulling up your ticket on the MLB Ballpark app to answer some questions. Has it been a seamless process? Is it more difficult showing ushers that you have a seat in the section they are monitoring? Has anyone bought a ticket from a broker near Wrigley near Wrigley that they sent to you via the Ballpark App? Does anyone have a nightmare story (example: your phone went dead and you couldn’t get in until the third inning because you had to wait in line at the box office to get a printout of tickets, etc)?
I will incorporate some of your responses into my next writeup which will focus on the impact of the MLB Ballpark App and the removal of the six-hour StubHub cutoff’s impact on secondary market pricing.
Whether you’re a baseball junkie or casual fan, games are better at the ballpark. Grab seats from our partner StubHub and be part of the action at Wrigley Field. And, download the StubHub app to choose the perfect seats with 360° views from your section.