Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Monday that the two teams in the city, the Cubs and White Sox, would be able to host fans at 20 percent capacity in their ballparks to begin the 2021 season.
For the Cubs, that would mean a little over 8,200 fans at Wrigley Field.
You likely know, whether you’re a Cubs season-ticket holder or not, that the team has far more than 8,200 season tickets. Thus, most if not all of the fans who will be attending games at Wrigley Field, at least to begin 2021, will be season-ticket holders.
“To welcome Cubs fans home to Wrigley Field and bring back one of the joys of spring after a challenging year is incredibly rewarding,” said Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney in a statement. “We’d like to thank Governor Pritzker and Mayor Lightfoot for their tremendous leadership in carefully navigating this important milestone and partnering with us on our plan to safely return fans to the ballpark. As the City continues on the path to safely reopen, we’re excited to finally say, ‘Welcome home, Cubs fans!’”
On 670 The Score Tuesday morning, Kenney elaborated:
On @mullyhaugh, Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney said of the return of fans to Wrigley Field: "We see a path early on with success early on at 20% to move to 30 (percent), and ideally sometime this year, we'd like to see 100% in the ballpark."— 670 The Score (@670TheScore) March 9, 2021
Crane Kenney to @mullyhaugh: "Certainly, the goal is by the time we're playing in October, we're seeing a full ballpark."— 670 The Score (@670TheScore) March 9, 2021
Crane Kenney: "As the numbers continue to come down, hopefully, and the availability of the vaccine goes up, we think the percentage attendance continues to ride with them ... That will all be done with the city and state's approval. Thankfully, there's a good partnership there."— 670 The Score (@670TheScore) March 9, 2021
The Cubs also sent out an email to season-ticket holders Monday describing the ticket-buying process and other protocols for attending games at Wrigley Field. For the most part, those protocols are the same as I laid out in this article about Sloan Park policies last month and this article about the experience at Sloan for the first spring game last week. The operations at Sloan Park are, in a way, a trial run for what will happen at Wrigley Field and the team is surely noting lots of information about how things are going in Mesa (pretty well, from my point of view).
There are a few differences, so let’s take a look at them.
Season-ticket holders will get the first opportunity to buy tickets. That will happen on Friday, March 19, and STH will receive a specific buying time that date based on “season ticket account plan and tenure,” per the email sent to STH. The Cubs will be selling tickets in “pods” of one, two, three or four. As is the case for Sloan Park tickets, if you buy tickets and want to then sell them, you have to sell the entire “pod.”
I have seen comments here and on Twitter from people who assume ticket prices will be much higher than normal. I do not believe that will be the case. When tickets were sold to Sloan Park season-ticket holders, we paid the same price we would have paid if season tickets would have been sold — and no fees were added. My assumption is that for STH, that will be the same at Wrigley Field. For non-STH prices might be somewhat higher.
The Cubs also say that for non-STH, there will be a drawing for any tickets left after STH buy theirs. The cut-off date for the first drawing is Friday, March 19. For the first homestand, winners of this drawing will have the opportunity to purchase a limited number of tickets Tuesday, March 23, with any remaining tickets going on sale to the general public Wednesday, March 24. At this writing, there doesn’t seem to be any place on the Cubs website to sign up for this drawing, but the Cubs did say that more information would be available later Tuesday.
One of the major differences between Sloan Park operations and what will happen at Wrigley Field is timed entry to the ballpark. Wrigley Field will open 90 minutes before game time (this is a change from previous procedure where the park was open two hours prior to first pitch), and each ticket will have a specific entry time and gate. This is being done, no doubt, to avoid having people line up at Wrigley, where there’s not a lot of space to do so.
As is the case in Mesa, the Cubs will ask fans at Wrigley Field to wear masks at all times when not actively eating or drinking, and to practice social distancing.
The full list of COVID-19 guidelines for Wrigley Field is here. Hopefully this helps keep everyone safe and capacity at the ballpark can be increased as time goes by during the 2021 season.
When I get more detailed information about ticketing for the 2021 season I’ll post it here.