No fans have been inside Wrigley Field during the shortened 60-game season due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
No one knows where we’re headed with COVID-19 through the rest of 2020 and into next year, but the Cubs are reportedly planning to allow some fans in with limited capacity early in the 2021 season, per Jesse Rogers at ESPN.com:
Based on advice from medical experts, as well as restrictions because of local ordinances, the Cubs are not expecting full capacity inside Wrigley Field at the beginning of next season.
It’s possible only season-ticket holders will be allowed to attend games. They’ll get first priority as they make up about 50% of overall ticket holders, which is about the same capacity the team is expecting to allow inside the stadium.
I’m not sure that a 50 percent capacity — about 20,000 — would work at Wrigley Field in 2021 unless there’s a COVID-19 vaccine that’s proven safe and effective and that has resulted in a large decrease in cases of the disease. I guess we’ll just have to see how things go between now and April 1, when the Cubs are scheduled to open the 2021 season at Wrigley Field against the Pirates.
Rogers also reports that Cubs revenue is down about 75 percent this season, which he says could be a loss of $125 million to $140 million.
Due to these losses, about 25 percent of Cubs business-side staffers were let go this week:
“This is through no fault of their own and had nothing to do with their performance, talent or contributions,” a team source said when asked by ESPN about the lost jobs. “This was a difficult decision but the goal was to restructure the organization based on the current operating environment with losses of more than $100 million anticipated next year. We’re no longer a business that welcomes 3.3 million fans and we’re not sure when that business will resume.”
Per Mark Gonzales in the Tribune, the 25 percent staff cut was about 60 people. There’s been no official announcement from the team about this, and likely there won’t be. I just wanted to note here that I know quite a number of Cubs staffers personally, many are my friends, and I feel badly that they’re out of work. The pandemic has caused great disruption in this country and around the world and it could take several years for baseball and the rest of society to return to normal.
Stay safe, everyone.