When Tribune Company bought the Cubs in 1982, they re-numbered all the seats in Wrigley Field.
This was a good thing, because here was the seating/numbering chart as of 1978 (click here for a larger version):
Well, that was a mess. (Note, the numbers in each section are the number of seats in that section.) And remember, as Jack Brickhouse used to remind us on WGN, there were “22,000 unreserved grandstand and bleacher tickets” available for every game. With Tribune’s ownership, this changed. The Cubs now sold every seat in advance, and thus (except for the bleachers, which remained and still are unreserved), they would need a more accurate seating-number arrangement.
They chose an “Aisle” system. This meant, as you surely know if you’ve sat in the middle of any section of seats at Wrigley, that the seats to one side of the middle were numbered 1 through 19 (or so, some had more, some less), with the other side 101 through 119. This resulted in confusion, as certain seats that were adjacent didn’t have consecutive seat numbers.
The Cubs sent an email regarding some changes at the ballpark to season-ticket holders Wednesday that included this announcement:
New seat numbering system: In advance of the 2019 season, we will implement a new, more intuitive seat numbering system to make our ballpark easier to navigate. Transitioning to a conventional Section/Row/Seat configuration, common in most sports venues, will help alleviate confusion created by our current Aisle/Row/Seat configuration, including eliminating areas where contiguous seats have non-contiguous seat numbers. Renumbering our Upper Level sections also will more accurately reflect the amazing view and value of these seats. To help you prepare for the transition, please visit www.cubs.com/seatrenumbering for an updated Wrigley Field seating map, easy-to-use online seat converter and answers to frequently asked questions.
Here is the new seat numbering map (click here for a larger version):
This all makes a great deal of sense (with one exception that I’ll get to in a moment). It does, however, mean that a large number of people, including everyone in the upper deck, will get a new section for their season tickets. In some cases the row will change, in almost every case the seat number will change. The actual location of the season ticket won’t change (with the exception of upper-deck season-ticket holders who are being moved for the new ADA accessible seating), but the link above that lets you put in an old aisle/row/seat combination and get the new seating numbers is a good idea.
What I find strange is the change in the upper deck. The old 400 level is now the “300L” and “300R” level, and the old 500 level is now the “400L” and 400R” level. Take another look at what was said above:
Renumbering our Upper Level sections also will more accurately reflect the amazing view and value of these seats.
I guess that’s supposed to make 400 level ticket holders feel closer to the field because they’re now in the “300L” or “300R” level?
Anyway, on the map you can also see the seats that are being reserved for members of the three new clubs (Maker’s Mark, Catalina and W Club) that are opening next spring.
Also included in the email was this information about some of the construction I’ve shown you in photos over the last few weeks:
Right field enhancements: New in 2019, fans will enjoy an expansive bar just inside the Wintrust Right Field Gate and concession stands. The former DraftKings Fantasy Sports Zone space will be refashioned to include an outdoor gathering space with a full service bar and a Cubs Store. Two women’s restrooms will be available in the right field area of the main concourse as well. Operational by August, a new elevator in the right field corner of the main concourse will assist fans with getting to the Terrace Level and Upper Level.
Seating and Budweiser Bleachers Deck: Seat replacement will continue in the Lower Level of Wrigley Field. Accessible seating will be added throughout the ballpark as well. New decks with seating and portable concessions will be added to the Terrace Level in the left and right field corners. As a continuation of the existing deck, the foul territory of the left field Budweiser Bleachers will be extended with new portables concessions and a view of the field.
So, that’s what’s being built in the right-field and left-field corners. Not exactly “party decks,” but additional areas for portable concessions and standing room. The bleacher concourse in left field, as noted, will be extended into foul territory. Lastly, here’s information about what’s being done in the suite level:
Enhanced Suites: We’re modernizing and expanding our Wrigley Field suites and incorporating game-changing new amenities. Each suite will feature a retractable glass wall, full-height refrigerator, outdoor drink rail, big screen TVs and much more. A new enclosed walkway also will be added throughout the Suite Level to provide a more comfortable walk to and from our suites. For additional details, please visit www.cubspremier.com.
The bleachers are being renumbered as the “500” level. This shouldn’t change anything for the regular season, as those seats remain unreserved, and for the postseason, the bleachers were converted to sections in 2015, so the only change for bleacher holders will be the section number for postseason tickets.
This should answer some of the questions we’ve all had about what we’ve seen in the construction photos, as well as further details about what we’ll all see at Wrigley Field in 2019.