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Cubs Push Back Against Proposed City Amusement Tax Increase on Concerts

Chicago Cubs News

Stick to sports! Well, in this case, that wouldn’t really be possible, because the politics and sports are coming together head on.


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From the Cubs:

You can see the Cubs’ full message at the link there, but here’s some of the pertinent argument:

“As you may know, the current amusement tax on tickets to sporting events in Chicago, like Cubs games, is at 12% – already one of the highest in the United States. Meanwhile, the amusement tax for concerts, still high by national standards, is taxed at a lower rate, currently at 6.5%. However, if our politicians get their way, that will all change. Late last week, city officials announced a proposal to raise the tax on concert tickets to 10.5% – an increase of 80% – which would make Chicago concert ticket taxes among the highest in the United States as well.

Chicago stands alone for many reasons that we can be proud of – but having the highest amusement taxes for fans attending sports and concerts in the United States should not be one of them.


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We think it’s a bad idea for several reasons. First, in the short term, it will cost you, the music fan, more money. But the costs long term will be even greater. By driving this tax to one of the highest in the country, Chicago will lose concerts. As the shows leave, so do the dollars that flow through restaurants, cabs and hotels on any given show night. And despite what our political leaders believe, the losses will far surpass any gains a tax increase was intended to garner.”

The Cubs have made known their antipathy for the high Chicago and Cook County amusement tax for a good long while. Although the tax is ultimately footed by the fans who buy tickets, let’s not be naive: every dollar in extra tax is a dollar that the market could have otherwise born in the price of the ticket, itself.

Moreover, it just makes for a painful experience for fans. When you go to buy a $50 Cubs ticket, and then the final screen comes up showing two different taxes, several different kinds of tacked on fees, and your $50 ticket is suddenly well over $60 … it’s a maddening experience, and, in the moment, all of that ire is directed at the Cubs.


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So, then, it should be no surprise to see the Cubs – and other major sports teams in Chicago – opposing a hike to the amusement tax on concerts, since each of the organizations also hosts concerts. Beyond that, I’m sure there’s just a general opposition to the creep of taxes on amusement (a bump here begets a bump there begets another bump and so on).

A city’s and county’s revenue has to come from somewhere, and a city in an uncomfortable financial situation doesn’t improve by ignoring the need for higher taxes. I get it. Still, I kind of hate that the city would try to squeeze out maximum dollars from the very people who are trying to go enjoy some of the things that get the highest-visibility positive attention for the city. It just seems counterproductive in the long-term.

I’m no tax policy expert, and that goes way beyond the scope of this place. I’m just a dude who likes to go to Cubs games and other events at Wrigley Field, so I will continue to keep an eye on this.


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Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation.