While never the sexiest topic, MLB attendance has always interested me. What gets folks to the park, how seasonality plays a role, what day and time combos work best, how attendance changes throughout the year … I could go on, but I don’t want to pull you too deeply into my nerdy web.
For the Chicago Cubs, particularly in recent years, attendance has been something of a sore subject, as years of decline and then a deep rebuilding process have eroded annual attendance from a high of more than 3.25 million in 2007 and 2008, to just 2.65 million in 2013 and 2014. As a team without a mega television contract secured just yet, the Cubs are more sensitive to attendance as a driver of revenue than many other teams around baseball. And, since the mantra of the Ricketts Family is that the “closed circuit” of the organization puts revenue back into baseball operations after expenses, fluctuations in revenue—positive or negative—directly impact the organization’s baseball flexibility.
Thus, keeping an eye on attendance as the Cubs become more competitive is more important than you might otherwise think.