The Cubs sold 98,339 tickets for the three games over the weekend against the Milwaukee Brewers, an average of 32,780 per game.
That’s actually pretty good, considering the lockout and the chilly weather in Chicago. Among the 15 teams that have played home games so far, that average ranks ninth. It’s likely to go up some once the weather improves, and if the Cubs continue to play well.
As he has done often here, BCB reader Lifetime Cubs Fan has put together some data on Cubs ticket sales on the secondary market. The rest of this post is his.
Pop quiz to start off your Monday: Which of the following statements are true?
- 2022 Cubs Opening Day Attendance was more than three times last years’ Opening Day Attendance
- You can purchase tickets from Stubhub (with fees!) for you and 11 friends to go to every home game at Wrigley and sit in the bleachers for an amount less than purchasing the two cheapest tickets on Stubhub to the Field of Dreams game against the Reds in August
- In multiple sections in the ballpark, you could purchase on Stubhub (with fees!) tickets to all 81 home games for cheaper than what season ticket holders paid for the same seats
- You could buy two tickets to every home game on Stubhub and spend $15 at Wrigley per game and still it would be cheaper than buying a parking pass on Stubhub for every home game at Wrigley.
You might not believe it, but ALL of the above statements are true.
Many of us continue to adjust to higher prices for everyday goods. For example, look at this photo I got from a friend for the price of gas in Death Valley, CA as proof:
Despite that, I am happy to report there has been a sharp decrease in prices compared to last year for one “luxury” item – Cubs tickets on the secondary market!
In April 2021, I was fortunate enough to be in Chicago and attend a Saturday game as a birthday present. I’ll be honest, I peeked at what tickets were going for on Stubhub just behind the Cubs dugout, and they were very expensive — in the $500-$600 range per ticket. (Happy birthday to me!). This was primarily due to the 25 percent capacity allowed at Wrigley due to Covid restrictions at the time, coupled with pent-up demand for fans wanting to see baseball in person after not being able to go at all in 2020. Curiosity got the better of me, and I checked for tickets in the same section for the same Saturday weekend this year and they are about one-third the price!
That got me thinking, what would be the cheapest amount I could pay for a ticket (via Stubhub) to each home game and how would that compare to the cheapest season ticket holder cost (Upper Deck Reserved – Outfield)? I also did a similar exercise solely focusing on the bleachers.
The results were exactly what I expected. I could attend every game for less than what STH paid.
Here are some additional details. Purchasing the cheapest ticket available on Stubhub, I could get a ticket for all 81 games, and pay only $2,025. Compare that to the cheapest STH invoice of $2,318 for Upper Deck Reserved – Outfield, and I would pay about 13 percent less than what they paid (and for many games, sit in much better seats). Taking the same approach, but focusing specifically on the bleachers, one could procure a ticket to every game for about $3,300 vs the $3,807 paid by STHs, also 13 percent cheaper.
So why are tickets so cheap this early in the season? These thoughts are strictly my own opinion:
- People are upset over the work stoppage, and taking minimal interest at this time in MLB
- The team’s expectations are lower this year, and the star power is reduced compared to this time last year (Nico Hoerner, Ian Happ, Frank Schwindel and David Robertson not as alluring as Javier Báez, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Craig Kimbrel)
- Tickets are still expensive, and with inflation impacting many people just trying to put food on the table and keep gas in the car, discretionary income is nil. My favorite poke bowl (which is “Exhibit A” for living too long outside of Illinois) is up 45 percent in the last 16 months, I can assure you my salary has not increased 45 percent during that time.
I have said consistently that the Cubs need to do more for their season ticket holders. The days where season ticket holders made money on the secondary market are long gone. Now they are paying more than fair market value than fans who can pick and choose which games they want to attend. Many STH realized this and did not renew last year (attendance of 30,369 for the game this past Saturday is indicative of this). For those that did renew, we should all thank them, as indirectly, they are the key to providing many of us discounted Cubs tickets in 2022.
Some other facts I feel are mind-blowing at this time of the year:
- 29 games at Wrigley could be purchased on Stubhub, with fees, for less than $15 (36 percent of all home games)
- There is just one game where the cheapest ticket on Stubhub is more expensive than the cheapest parking pass on Stubhub (June 5 vs. Cardinals)
- For those with Bleacher season tickets, if you sold your tickets at the cheapest current Stubhub price, you would not make a profit on any game after seller fees are factored into the equation
- In 2005, I sold two tickets for a Saturday game against the Red Sox for $180 each in Upper Deck Reserved infield ($261 in 2022 dollars). Today, those same tickets can be purchased for about $75
- It’s over $47,000 to purchase the two tickets currently available for the Field of Dreams Game. I am speechless on this one:
Hopefully the Cubs will overachieve and generate excitement throughout the season. However, I feel there will be plenty of opportunities to enjoy Wrigley and a greatly reduced price vs. what STH paid, or what someone would pay on Cubs.com.
Curious to hear everyone’s thoughts!