Since July 17, the Cubs are 21-9, which is the second-best record in the National League over that span, just a game behind the Dodgers. THROUGH SUNDAY!!!
That includes a 12-5 record at Wrigley Field in that time frame. Attendance has risen, as you might expect.
Through that July 17 game, the Cubs had averaged 32,926 for 48 dates. The 17 games at Wrigley since then have averaged 38,671, a significant jump. That includes the largest crowd of the year, 40,869 for the second game against the White Sox. That crowd was thrilled by Christopher Morel’s walkoff home run.
Overall, the Cubs have sold 2,237,873 tickets for 65 dates, an average of 34,429. That average is up over 2,000 per date over the entire 2022 season average of 32,306 and is likely to keep going up as long as the Cubs continue to win.
Winning brings fans and thus winning brings more money and profits to the team. As usual, BCB reader Lifetime Cubs Fan has done some pricing analysis as well as more comparisons to past years’ attendance, and so I bring it to you here. The rest of this post comes from LCF.
Winning + Playoff Push + Good Weather can only equal one thing: Attending games at Wrigley Field has become fashionable and fun and the Friendly Confines have recently been filled to capacity as a result.
What I hope to share with you today is the data to show that 2023, from an attendance perspective, is trending in behavior to the 2015 season, when the Cubs made the playoffs as a Wild Card team.
In addition, I will also share with you how you can still attend games, in some cases, at/near STH prices (but this is changing quickly)
First, let’s look at some attendance data. Below is a chart comparing the running average attendance for the 2014 season (where the Cubs finished 73-89) and the 2015 season (where they went 97-65 and qualified for the second wild card). You’ll notice that through the first 26 home games, the average attendance in 2015 (32,422) was about the same as it was in 2014 (32,202). However, from that point forward, the Cubs averaged about 38,500 per game (around 95 percent of capacity) vs. approximately 33,000 per game for the remainder of 2014 season (where one would have received a Jim Mora response if you asked about the Cubs making the playoffs that year)
Now let’s look at the chart below. It compares the running average attendance for the 2022 season (where the Cubs finished 74-88) and 2023 season (where the Cubs are currently 65-59, and a Wild card Team). Once again, through the first 26 games of the season, the average attendance in 2022 (31,874) was about the same as this year (32,079). For the last 39 home games, the Cubs have averaged just under 36,000 per game (about 90 percent of capacity) bringing the season attendance average up to 34,429. At this pace, with every remaining home game being meaningful, the Cubs’ average attendance should exceed 35,000 for the season.
Here is another perspective, avg. attendance by month, to show how attendance fell in non-playoff years vs peaking when a push for the playoffs was present.
Now to the second theme of this article: How expensive will it be to watch the Cubs make it to the playoffs? At the time of this writeup, it was surprising as to how reasonable many games were on the secondary market.
Per Seat Geek (MLB’s new official secondary market platform), of the 16 remaining home games, tickets can be purchased (including fees) for $20 or less to 11 of those games, which I think is incredibly inexpensive. To put it in perspective, purchasing on Seatgeek, you could get one ticket to ALL the remaining 16 Cubs home games ($321) for a lot less than getting one ticket to see the Bears play the Packers September 10 at Soldier Field ($409).
Look at the chart below. It compares the cost of what Bleacher tickets were at the time of my first writeup in early June, to what they are now (or were the night before games on this most recent homestand).
As you can see, the three games where bleacher tickets have skyrocketed in price (September 4, September 9 and September 23) are due to the fact that Bleacher tickets are no longer available via Cubs.com for those dates. For the remaining 13 games, 12 of them are still cheaper than the Cubs.com price (the only exception is the Friday, September 8 game, which has a jersey gate giveaway). I also thought it was more than interesting that for this last homestand, Bleacher seats on Seatgeek the night before the game were….
8/15 White Sox: $154
8/16 White Sox: $158
8/18 Royals: $91
8/19 Royals: $118
8/20 Royals: $72
Prices for upcoming games are destined to escalate in a hurry, especially if the forecast indicates nice weather. For the next short homestand against the division leading Brewers, each game is forecast to be in the 70s and mostly sunny, you may want to procure tickets now on the cheap(er) and thank me later.
Exhibit A to this point – On Friday, you could have procured Bleacher Seats for the August 28 Brewers game on Seatgeek for $45 per ticket, by Sunday night, that was up to $55 (22 percent increase in two days). Note, that $55 price is still cheaper than the current Cubs.com price, around $59 for a Bleacher ticket (but probable to increase with dynamic pricing). Exhibit B to this point – last week, I procured Club Box Home Plate seats for that same game for $118 per ticket (lucky me!). As of Sunday night, the cheapest seat in this seat category is now $184 (56 percent increase in a week!)
The last factor that I feel will contribute to escalated prices as the regular season commences is due to many fans wanting to get a ‘playoff’ atmosphere game, at a fraction of the price of a playoff game. As of Sunday night, one could go to all three upcoming games (August 28-30) against the Brewers for only $63. I think it would be quite difficult to procure any seat to any playoff game for less than that amount.
I hope for nothing more than for some of you that read this article, you act fast and procure tickets to a meaningful game at a reasonable price!
As always, go Cubs!