BCB reader Lifetime Cubs Fan has helped me over the last couple of years with information and charts regarding ticket pricing at Wrigley Field.
Recently, he got the opportunity to buy Cubs season tickets, after spending seven years on the waiting list.
Here are LCF’s thoughts on buying season tickets. The rest of this post contains his opinions, not mine.
Going into this offseason, I was roughly number 22,500 on the season ticket holder waitlist. I had signed up in November 2012.
Last November, I helped write an article here at BCB headlined “2020 Cubs season ticket pricing: Pure genius or pure lunacy?” where the theme of the article was the Cubs being fine for 2020 season from a revenue perspective, but might damage themselves longer-term based on how season tickets were priced for 2020.
The day that article was published, I got an email stating the possibility that I might have an opportunity to purchase season tickets (surprising to me, given my place in line)
In December, I got another email indicating a strong likelihood of having a chance to procure season tickets in February.
On Wednesday, I received a message from the Cubs informing me of my date/time to get season tickets (online in mid-February). Though I will likely peruse what is available for curiosity’s sake, at the end I will politely tell the Cubs, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
This offseason is mirroring the behavior for churning through the STH waitlist last seen during the rebuilding years almost a decade ago (25,000 – 30,000 per year). The huge difference now, of course, is that the team is full of marketable stars and has posted a winning record the last five seasons.
Though I have seen nothing published, the renewal rate for existing season ticket holders likely has to be MUCH lower than what the Cubs’ brass expected. In addition, to get to my place in line, about 21,000 to 22,000 people ahead of me needed to say “No,” so the demand can be argued to be almost nil.
Now to be perfectly honest, I never had the intention to buy season tickets as I live two time zones away from Wrigley Field. But if I did live in the Chicago area, I would not sign up for season tickets for the following reasons:
- I have no interest in going to 81 games (or coordinate finding someone to use tickets I do not use / selling on the secondary market)
- Tickets in ALL sections are too expensive relative to what they should be for a STH
- If I come into town to see a game, there is a better than 90 percent chance I could get tickets on the secondary market (including fees) for similar/less than what a STH paid, and I have years of data to prove this is the case, posted in many articles here
Based on 21,000 to 22,000 people ahead of me saying “no,” I am likely not the only one who feels this way. (Note, it is possible that my opportunity won’t be available when my number is called.)
Thus I believe that for a vast majority of the people out there on the waitlist, season tickets are unnecessary. (The only scenario where you might say “I told you so,” is if the Cubs get to the World Series AND have a chance to clinch the series at home). And so my advice for most of you is “Run away, just run” if given the opportunity, but the decision is ultimately yours. For those that have season tickets already — best of luck.
Until the Cubs start offering smaller season ticket packages (i.e. Double Play, Nights and Weekends) again AND have a larger price gap between STH price and non-STH price, I believe the STH waitlist will churn until it is gone.
(P.S. I also feel that there will be general fallout across all of MLB for the Astros sign-stealing saga, only time will tell how large the fallout will be.)