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2017 Cubs attendance watch: July 4-9 homestand

The ballpark was filled through most of this homestand. Plus, a pricing update.

Al Yellon

In the just-completed homestand, the Cubs had a two-game set against the Rays, a three-game series against the Pirates, and a makeup game against the Brewers. Here are the announced tickets-sold numbers for those six games:

July 4: 42,046
July 5: 39,855
July 6: 41,576
July 7: 41,294
July 8: 41,865
July 9: 41,604

Thus five of the six games register as sellouts, and the 42,000+ at the July 4 game was the biggest announced crowd at Wrigley Field in almost four years, since 42,240 bought tickets to a Cubs/Cardinals game July 13, 2013.

The Cubs have sold 1,728,284 tickets for 44 home dates. That’s an average of 39,279 per date. The total ranks fourth in MLB, behind the Dodgers, Cardinals and Blue Jays. The average ranks fifth, behind those three teams and the Giants.

They would need to sell 1,571,917 tickets for the remaining 37 home dates to break the team attendance record. That would be 42,484 per date, and I think you’ll see that’s not going to happen.

If they maintained the current average, the season total would be 3,181,607, which would be about 50,000 fewer (total) than last year. That average might bump up a bit later this month when the Cardinals and White Sox come to Wrigley. Overall attendance this year will likely be about the same as 2016.

The factors for that are largely due to pricing. Thus I turn the rest of this post over to BCB reader Lifetime Cubs Fan for info and analysis of Cubs ticket pricing trends.

With half the season over, I wanted to provide a perspective on how dynamic ticket prices have differed this year compared to last year (for games between Opening Day to the All-Star break) for five sections within Wrigley Field. Below are five charts that depict the following ticket prices (average) for each respective section:

  • 2016 Season Ticket Holder Price
  • 2016 First price (games in first half of season, after Mastercard Pre-Sale)
  • 2016 Final price (games in first half of season, price on day of game)
  • 2017 Season Ticket Holder Price
  • 2017 First Price (games in first half of season, after Mastercard Pre-Sale)
  • 2017 Final Price (games in first half of season, price on day of game)

As you can see, the prices have escalated significantly on all fronts. Below are some interesting insights:

  • For three of the sections listed, the final price in 2017 was more than double what STH paid in 2016.
  • In 2016, the average percentage increase from STH price to first price was 18 percent for these sections. In 2017 the increase from STH price to first price was 29 percent.
  • Comparing the first price in 2017 for these sections to the first price in 2016, they increased 32 percent year-over-year.

Given the Cubs’ performance this year thus far, you may think that the average dynamic ticket prices would be lower for the second half compared to the first half, right? Wrong. Check out the chart below for the current average ticket prices for the remainder of the season. Overall, average ticket prices are approximately 8-10 percent more expensive for games in the second half compared to the final price for the first half.

So what does all this mean? Here are some of my thoughts and predictions:

  • Even though attendance is near what is was in 2016, revenue from ticket sales has increased significantly in 2017. Thus, fans are playing a significant role in enabling the Ricketts family to make all the improvements to Wrigley.
  • If the Cubs continue to hover around the .500 mark, there will be no need to buy any tickets from as secondary market prices on Stubhub will be a much cheaper source for tickets.
  • Dynamic prices will not decrease. This has been the case since dynamic pricing has been in effect.
  • If the Cubs get in a battle for the division title, dynamic pricing will increase significantly from current levels for many of the games in September and secondary market prices will rise with it (similar to what we saw in 2016).
  • Given the rise in prices over the past two years, in my opinion, tickets are nearly scalper-proof. Yes, there will be games a STH could make money, but there are likely as many games where they could lose money as well. If the Cubs don’t make the playoffs, I feel the STH waitlist will likely decrease by 5,000 – 8,000 this offseason as numerous season ticket holders will not be able to subsidize the costs of season tickets with profits from playoff games they sell on the secondary market. I would be really interested in hearing from STH’s reading this article to provide the following:

- Ticket plan (Season, Nights & Weekends, or Double-Play)

- Number of people sharing the tickets

- Percentage of games they attend

- For games sold on the secondary market

- Percentage sold at a loss

- Percentage sold near break-even

- Percentage sold at a profit