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2018 Cubs attendance watch: All-Star break pricing update

The Cubs started to draw big crowds as the weather got better.

Part of the sellout crowd at Wrigley on Friday, June 29
Al Yellon

The Cubs had a light home schedule in June. There were just 11 home dates since the last update in this series, but eight of the 11 drew 40,000 or more:

June 19, Game 1: 39,273
June 19, Game 2: 40,409
June 20: 41,199
June 29: 41,492
June 30: 40,950
July 1: 40,051
July 3: 38,424
July 4: 40,510
July 6: 41,434
July 7: 41,538
July 8: 38,655

The crowd for the first game on June 19 comes with a caveat. That was a last-minute makeup game for the rainout on June 18, and the Cubs allowed ticketholders to exchange their June 18 tickets for another date if they did so before the first game started on June 19. It would appear that 1,000 or so did that.

The Cubs have sold 1,655,649 tickets for 43 home dates, an average of 38,503 per date. That’s up about 800 per date from the last update. The average ranks fifth in MLB behind the Dodgers, Yankees, Cardinals and Giants. The figure of 38,503 per date is down about 700 per date from the same number of dates in 2017.

MLB attendance as a whole is down about 1,700 per date from the same time a year ago. Factors for this include really bad weather in the midwest and northeast as compared to 2017 (35 games played in temperatures below 40 and 35 postponements), as well as higher pricing.

For more on pricing, as always I turn the rest of this post over to BCB reader Lifetime Cubs Fan.

Since the last ticket pricing update, two things happened to me that were firsts:

  1. I was checking StubHub prices to Cubs games from Skagway, Alaska (which I am happy to say was the most boring five minutes of my cruise).
  2. After attending approximately 400 professional baseball games (minor and majors), I finally got my first game-used baseball (a home run ball – and no, I did not steal it away from a young fan).

If there are any BCBers debating on whether a cruise to Alaska is worthwhile, my reply is this — Alaska and Hawaii are similar in the sense that I have yet to meet someone who returned from Hawaii or Alaska and did not enjoy their vacation.

Enough about me, let’s take a look at some pricing trends. The Cubs have had two homestands, a short one against the Dodgers, and a three-series homestand against the Twins, Tigers and Reds (Oh my!).

For the three-game Dodgers series/homestand, it was surprisingly reasonable to get tickets on the secondary market versus what I was expecting (given the teams have met in the NLCS the last two years). As has been a common theme, iffy weather forecasts lead to lower prices on the secondary market.

For the most recent homestand, all drivers of an elevated secondary market pricing environment were present (pleasant weather, kids out of school, out-of-town interleague interest, a holiday date, and a team that is getting HOT!!). This showed in the secondary market pricing as even the Upper Deck Box Infield section had one game where secondary market prices were above what season ticket holders paid.

It will be interesting to observe secondary market pricing trends over the next month as the Cubs will play 18 home games in the first 28 days after the break. The games against the Cardinals, Nationals, and Brewers are trending to be in high demand with some opportunities to get tickets more reasonably for games against the Padres and Diamondbacks.

Below are the charts that keep you coming back. You will notice that the secondary market price for bleachers has crept up to just about what season ticket holders paid. Apologies (again) to those of you with Upper Deck Box Infield seats.