Prices for Cubs Tickets in 2014 Largely Staying Flat

cubs ticketsFor the third straight year, the Chicago Cubs will not be raising ticket prices – a reasonable decision following another year of declining attendance and poor performance on the field. There will not, however, be a clear drop in prices as there was before the 2013 season.

That said, in the aggregate, you could argue that there’s a bit of a drop, because there will be fewer games in the highest tier of ticket prices, and the Cubs will be making available a block of 350 upper deck tickets for $19 apiece to each game, regardless of tier.

Season ticket holders have started receiving their invoices this week, and their prices are flat from last year. Single game tickets, which will go on sale later in the offseason, will likely once again be slightly more expensive than season tickets (gotta provide an incentive for buying in bulk, eh?).

You can read a great deal more about the pricing structure for 2014 Cubs tickets here, courtesy of Danny Ecker at Crain’s. There is also a fair bit on the Cubs’ approach to purging the season ticket holder registry of brokers, and the Cubs’ continued experimentation with dynamic pricing.

With flat prices next year, the Cubs’ ticket will remain the third highest in baseball, on average, behind the Red Sox and Yankees. At the low end, $8 will get you in the door for the cheapest games, and $112 will get you the better seats for the better games.

There is usually an outcry at this time of year – “Grr! The Cubs should be cutting prices in half for the crap they put on the field!” – and it never makes much sense to me. The Cubs’ approach to ticket sales is about as business-focused as it gets. Given that the revenue generated is what drives the future product on the field, it’s precisely the approach they should take. Apologizing to fans in the form of slashed ticket prices might make for a nice two-day story, but it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense on the pricing curve (to say nothing of long-term organizational health).

The Cubs set ticket prices in such a way as to maximize revenue. Rage if you must, but it’s the only appropriate approach.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

39 responses to “Prices for Cubs Tickets in 2014 Largely Staying Flat”

  1. Aisle424

    I haven’t looked at this year’s pricing structure, but the phrase “For the third straight year, the Chicago Cubs will not be raising ticket prices” is misleading. The Cubs raised single game ticket prices last year in many areas and pricing tiers, but they sold it as staying flat because they moved games out of the Marquee and Platinum tiers into the lower Silver and Bronze ranges. So the overall cost stayed flat to season ticket holders.

    Individual games were more expensive more often than not.

    http://www.obstructedview.net/commentary-and-analysis/cubs-lower-season-ticket-costs-while-mostly-raising-individual-ticket-prices.html

    1. Funn Dave

      Thanks for clarifying.

  2. CubFan Paul

    “..but it’s the only appropriate approach.”

    Season ticket holders disagree almost wholeheartedly.

    1. Aisle424

      They can stop buying them any time.

      1. Spencer

        …And many did last year. I don’t think the Cubs should slash ticket prices to the lowest in baseball, but I also don’t see a reason why the Cubs HAVE to be in the top 5 in baseball for ticket prices year after year.

        Maybe the Cubs could find a business model that allows them to operate with ticket prices that are consistently in the middle of the pack in MLB, instead of just keeping steady with high prices because that’s where they’ve been the last few years, and anything less than that negatively impacts the financial viability of the franchise. Then again, the team is broke, so….

        Maybe they could do fun ticket giveaways or promotions like other small market teams do. The Brewers in particular are exceptional at giving fan friendly deals and ticket packages.

        1. Funn Dave

          I really like that last idea, as a way to get people into the stadium during these rebuilding years.

    2. Blackhawks1963

      The law of supply and demand. It’s a choice to buy tickets. Surely the Ricketts understand that attendance was going to take a hit in the early year phase of the Theo Epstein building program. But if they think the worm starts to turn in 2014 then I see no reason to lower ticket prices. In fact, once this thing takes off the current price of tickets will look like the bargain of the century.

      1. Funn Dave

        The third-highest prices in baseball hardly seem like a bargain.

  3. ssckelley

    How about if fans agree to a $5 price increase on tickets can we get Ellsbury? It would be an extra $10.5 million to help cover the cost and would probably help sell a few more tickets to each game.

    1. MightyBear

      I agree.

    2. V23

      Didn’t we learn from overpaying for middle-aged base-stealers? See Soriano…See Crawford. Not a wise investment.

  4. swaz46

    Without ticket price rage, what would Gordon Wittenmyer write about all season?

  5. North Side Irish

    Got my invoice yesterday and each season ticket is about $20 less than last year. They moved games out of the highest two tiers (Marquee and Platinum) but also out of the lowest (Bronze) level. They also lowered the prices on the Platinum and Gold level games slightly. With the extra night games in the Silver and Gold levels, it all came out flat for STH.

    I still don’t like the 10% deposit due in November that they added…you have to commit before seeing what moves the team makes.

  6. cubfanbob

    Well at least we dont have two afternoon White Sox games in May on a Wednesday and Thursday. That was brutal…the book is not worth it. Really liked my Rizzo autographed ball. How about a cubs jersey with the Season Ticket holders last name on it :)

  7. Aaron

    Cubs paid home attendance dropped by 8 percent this year to 2,642,682, or an average of 32,625 per game. That was 12th-highest in Major League Baseball, down from 10th last year, and marked the fifth straight season that the team had fewer paid ticket stubs.

    http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20131014/BLOGS04/131019939/cubs-ticket-prices-staying-put-in-2014

  8. AA Correspondent

    As a full season ticket holder at the AA Level, I am aww struck at what a GREAT VALUE Minor League baseball truly is. Just for comparison sakes…..My wife and I sit in Rown 1 above the Smokies Dugout. Literally 3 feet from the players and coaches These seats retail on Gamesday for $11/seat. Because I am a season ticket holder, I pay $500/seat for 70 games which is roughly $7.14/game for our awesome seats. Together with the wife, we have 70 bought and paid for dates for $1,000. AWESOME

    Now, we made our first trip to Wrigley in September and watched the Cubs play the Braves. I’m not sure what level of game that was with respect to ticket pricing (Premium, Gold, Platinum etc)……it absolutely did not matter to me. We were coming to Chicago EXPRESSLY to see the Cubs play and we were not going to let the price of the ticket stop us. I think we ended up paying about $80/ticket for Saturday and about $75/ticket for Sunday….but the experience was well worth it.

    I had season tix at the MLB level in San Diego for 10 years and loved every minute of it. The prices usually did escalate, but they are still way below what the Cubs charge.

    Bottom line for me: I understand the Cubs methodology for how they have to price their tickets and I don’t have a problem with it. But….dollar for dollar….the Minor Leagues are still the best value in town!! If you have never been to a Minor League game……do yourself a favor and check them out. You may never look at the Big League experience the same way.

    Brandon

  9. North Side Irish

    Does anyone know how many names are left on the Season Ticket Wait List? I know it went over 120K a few years ago, but I’m curious where it’s at now.

    1. caryatid62

      I was in the 30-40000 range, and got called and offered tickets this year.

    2. hansman

      I just signed up last week and was at 93,000

      1. DarthHater

        Just think! That’s fewer hamburgers than you eat in a year!

        1. Tommy

          I love it! That joke hasn’t died down since what’s his face was trolling the site! Ahh, great memories there!

  10. jh03

    I asked Parks why there was such a difference on projection from him and someone like KLaw. Here’s the response:

    I’ve actually seen him pitch quite a bit, so that’s probably a difference right there. I like Edwards. The delivery is easy and athletic; the arm is loose; the fastball has some punch; he can spin a good CB; shows flashes of a good CH. My biggest issue with Edwards from a scouting standpoint is his body and how that might influence his durability and effectiveness in a rotation. As someone who has been around Edwards since he signed, I’m aware that his efforts to add weight to his frame have been unsuccessful. His natural build is very slender, with a narrow waist and a skinny frame. He’s not the type of arm that is going to add much in terms of mass, and despite having the loose arm, I do have concerns about his long-term role. I think Edwards has the stuff to pitch at the big league level, and in bursts, he could have impact potential. But I don’t see a frontline starter. I know his stats suggests a different outcome, but that’s why we watch these guys in person instead of making projections based on a pitcher’s A-ball numbers. Scouts are mixed on ultimate projection, but I’ve yet to speak to one scout with familiarity who believes Edwards is a top of the rotation type.

  11. When the Music's Over

    On average, I think ticket prices dropped by 2% last year. Saying there was a clear drop in prices, while true, is misleading because to the average person it implies a meaningful drop, not ~$1 per ticket (I think the average ticket price last year was just about $50).

  12. papad1945

    Hurray, Now play the kids.

  13. 1060Ivy

    Stating that keeping ticket prices high as “the only appropriate approach” is akin to saying that rebuilding the minor leagues while slashing MLB payroll is the only appropriate approach to rebuilding the Cubs organization. It’s an approach but not “the only appropriate approach”.

    BTW, I’m expecting PSL’s to come to Wrigley as soon as the renovation of the stadium begins in earnest and I fully expect to continue to hear how Ricketts is putting up $300 – 500 MM of his money while the PSLs are being rolled out.

    Might just be the optimist Cubs fan of the day.

  14. jh03

    Parks on Bryant/Appel in new top rankings:

    Bryant could/should be in the top ten in the game. He’s a polished offensive monster that should be at the highest level at some point in 2014. Appel is also a polished collegiate talent that will move quickly, but I’m not as high on his ceiling as some and I don’t see him as a future #1 type. He will be in the top 25, but not the top 10.

  15. jh03

    Back to back Cubs questions:

    How good is Bryant?
    In terms of polish and projection, I would put him right behind Taveras. He’s a very low risk offensive prospect. He’s a top 10 type right now.

    And on Baez’s defensive position in the future.
    I would prefer to see him at 3B because he has a very good arm and very good hands, despite his errors at SS. Either way, the bat is his glory.

  16. jh03

    Couple more Parks quotes on the Cubs. They’re seriously getting mentioned out the ass today ha.

    On if the lack of SP will hurt them:
    All talent is currency. They don’t have a deep stock of pitching talent, but those fortunes can change for a number of reasons.

    On if all 4 will work out:
    Not to your level of expectation. I expect at least one of those prospects to underwhelm.

    1. Funn Dave

      Somebody who’s more internet savvy than myself, get that Captain Obvious picture up here.

      1. DarthHater

        10296214514_c880b9e07d_n.jpg

        1. Funn Dave

          There it is.

        2. blars82

          Not to be the one to throw a turd in the punch bowl, but that’s actually Captain Hindsight from South Park…

      2. jh03

        Well, when people ask him dumb questions he has to reply with that lol.

        1. Funn Dave

          This is true.

  17. Tommy

    I forgot they were trying to push out ticket brokers. I wonder how and/or if that affected their attendance numbers this year.

  18. Funn Dave

    Raising prices would have been disastrous, but lowering them wouldn’t make much sense either for the health of the organizations, not to mention the inevitable backlash when they raise them back up. I think this is the right move.

  19. Rodney

    Our family has owned Cubs’ season tickets (about a 55 game package) for nearly 30 years, and we’re finally starting to wonder if it’s worth it. Buying season tickets is pretty similar to buying stock in a company – you expect the asset you’re purchasing to grow in value (i.e. you want to be able to sell your tickets/stock at higher prices on the open market). Problem is, when the underlying company is sliding, you start taking capital losses – except with season tickets, there are no dividends or buybacks to quell “investor” fears.

    It’s not an apples to apples comparison, because we extract entertainment value as the primary reason for purchasing tickets every year (we love the Cubs and always will). But every stockholder has max pain levels where they have to say enough is enough and throw in the towel. It’s difficult to justify the prices the Cubs charge when they routinely put a pathetic product on the field, which has been the argument for a while, obviously. I’m essentially the lone participant in our season ticket package that is on board with the Ricketts/Epstein vision for the Cubs (probably because everyone else contributing is 20-40 years my elder), but I’ve found myself defending our purchase of Cubs tickets much more this year than in years past.

  20. Senor Cub

    I live in Kane County so for 2014 much like 2013, all of my money will be spent with the local more competitive and exciting team in all of Chicago. I may visit Wrigley in 2015 depending on the product at that time.

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