The Cost of Success: Cubs Ticket Prices Jump Almost 20%

Hey, Tom, how’s it going?

Great, Theo. Hey, are you okay? You don’t look so good.

Month-long benders will do that to you. Doc says my liver should be fine by next November, though.

Whew, good to hear. Guess you’re headed to the Winter Meetings. Any names I should know about.

Yeah, I need to talk to you about that. Jed and I are really high on Kenley Jansen.


Here’s the thing, though, he wants about $20 million a season.

Hmmm, let me see if I can come up with a way to offset that.

I’m sure it didn’t go down like that, not exactly, but the Cubs have found a way to generate a little extra revenue for the upcoming season. Renewal invoices have started going out to season ticket holders with varying price increases for different levels. The upper deck seats are only going up by around 6%, while the bleachers are seeing a 22% jump and the club box infield seats are experiencing a 31% hike. Other areas in the ballpark are getting hikes from 11 – 17% as well.

All told, the average Wrigley Field ticket is going to run about $58, a 19.5% increase over last season and a 31% bump from three years ago. This sucks, but you had to know it was coming after 103 and a World Series title. And with demand that will only be greater than that in a season that saw secondary-market prices that were roughly double face value, it makes good business sense.

A little quick math tells us the Cubs can probably clear upwards of $25 million in additional gate. Actually, taking a $9.50 approximate price increase times 40,000 fans per game times 81 games, we get nearly $31 million. That’s really oversimplified, but you get the point. And it’s not like all of that will be turned into baseball ops, but the thought is that it’s part and parcel with maintaining the excellence the Cubs have established.

Kenley Jansen, anyone? That’d be cool, right?

To this point, Cubs tickets have proven to be a pretty inelastic commodity that people are happy to continue paying more to acquire. Or are they? Part of me wonders when the rubber band snaps and fans are unwilling and/or unable to continue paying these high prices. Like, how much of the crazy demand during the season and playoffs was because people knew they might be witnessing something historic.

I know that’s what drove me to pay for so many more games than in the past, including Game 1 of the World Series. And I fully intend on getting to many more, but I do think some people will dial it back knowing that a lifelong dream has been recognized. Or maybe I’m just crazy. Either way, you might want to stop buying all that World Series gear if you want to be able to afford tickets again.

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