The first thing you’ll notice about this installment of this series is the dates, April 10-19.
Because those aren’t the dates on the original schedule. This homestand was supposed to go from April 9-18, but four postponements made it start a day late, with the postponed home opener, and end a day late with a makeup game Thursday against the Cardinals.
This April’s weather has been the worst in Chicago in the memory of anyone living, the first 17 days being the coldest since 1881.
And so you will understand why Cubs attendance is down so far this year. Here are the announced attendance figures for this homestand, in which only seven of the nine scheduled games were played.
April 10: 40,144
April 11: 35,596
April 12: 29,949
April 13: 29,775
April 14: 36,788
April 17: 35,103
April 19: 29,648
On some of those dates, far fewer were actually in the park. In the miserable conditions in which the April 14 game was played, maybe 15,000 showed up, and for the makeup game against the Cardinals April 19, it looked like about 11,000 in the park.
The Cubs’ current total attendance of 237,003 ranks 15th in the major leagues, but that’s only seven dates, tied for second-fewest home dates of any team. The average of 33,858 ranks seventh.
Attendance figures are down so far this year all across baseball, largely due to the weather. Only seven teams (Astros, Phillies, Angels, Brewers, Padres, Rays, Dodgers) show an increase in average per-game attendance over 2017, and all of those teams except the Phillies are in warm-weather cities or have domes.
This will undoubtedly change when the weather warms up.
As I have done the past couple of seasons, I now turn the rest of this post over to BCB reader Lifetime Cubs Fan, who has prepared some information about ticket pricing over the first homestand.
Though I initially thought work was going to preclude me from providing some pricing analysis for the 2018 season, I have found enough time to continue looking at pricing trends for Cubs tickets at Wrigley in 2018 which I hope you will enjoy.
Some of you might recall the analysis I completed late last year when 2018 season ticket invoices were sent out. In that analysis, I concluded that owning season tickets in most cases would be a poor financial decision. Well, I am going to test that hypothesis throughout this season (in addition to other analysis). I will periodically check StubHub and notate the lowest price I see for the Bleachers and Upper Deck Box Infield (with all StubHub fees). I am sure there will be instances of lower prices than what I capture, but the data I capture will serve its purpose.
This most recent homestand was beyond brutal when it came to the weather. As a result, tickets on the secondary market were extremely inexpensive. In fact, for all games, with the exception of Opening Day, you could have procured seats (somewhere in the ballpark) at the minimum StubHub price of $9.70 (after fees).
For the bleachers, this homestand would have averaged $35.47 per ticket for season ticket holders (STHs). If you would have procrastinated on purpose, and purchased tickets at an opportune time, this homestand would have only cost you $13.92 per ticket — 61 percent cheaper. Now, I realize there are benefits STHs enjoy compared to a StubHub buyer (earlier entry for bleacher STHs, nice physical tickets, STH gift, STH events, access to concerts, and don’t forget postseason tickets), but it will be interesting to see if those benefits have a significant cost in 2018.
I know most of you are itching for some charts and graphs, below is the STH to Stubhub comparison for each game on this homestand (Bleachers) to satisfy that craving. (Prices below reflect all fees, etc.)
As you can see, every game could have been procured on StubHub for a price cheaper than what a STH paid. What I found interesting, when the April 16 game was postponed to July 21, the price of a bleacher ticket on StubHub went from $9.70 to $66 in about an hour. Kudos to any of you who scored seats at a heavily discounted price.
Lastly, as a reminder, in the invoice renewal letter sent in November 2017, the Cubs stated the following:
“Our goal is to ensure all Season Ticket Holders continue to experience tremendous value on their investment in our team.”
If the Cubs get to the World Series in 2018, then I think it is an accurate statement, but in every other scenario I am not convinced that ‘tremendous value’ is the right phrase to use. Time will tell, and I will take a fact-based approach in completing my analysis.
Until next time, stay warm!