When the Chicago Cubs hosted the San Francisco Giants for a four-game set earlier this month, I had occasion to speak with a security guard whose tenure at Wrigley extended back many years, including the Cubs’ most recent peak in 2007 and 2008. He assured me that the energy and buzz was even more profound for that Giants series than it was at any point during that 2008 season. As I looked around the bleachers, struggling to find a solo seat, I suspected he was correct.
As we’ve discussed in this space a couple times this year, attendance at Wrigley Field this year is up. This fact is not only superficially nice to know—hey, people like the Cubs again!—but it remains important to the overall health of the Chicago Cubs’ organization going forward.
Specifically, as I’ve explained before:
“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.
So, then, against that backdrop, and with the Cubs highly competitive as we approach September, it’s worth taking a peek at Cubs attendance thus far at Wrigley Field in 2015.
Through Monday’s game against the Indians—their 65th home date of the year—the Cubs are up to 2,349,114 in paid attendance on the year. Through 65 games in 2014, the Cubs brought in just 2,128,439 ….