About That Cubs Ticket Price Increase and Other Bullets

Social Navigation

About That Cubs Ticket Price Increase and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

wrigley-chalk-walk-did-not-suckAs usual this time of year, getting through the “regular” Cubs news and “regular” Bullets is a tricky thing to fit into everything else.

So I’m typing quickly …

  • As Michael noted last night, the Cubs announced a significant ticket price increase for season ticket holders (which will presumably also bump the prices of single game ticket offerings when those come out in a couple months). No one was surprised by the bump, though the 19.5% average increase across all seats is, let’s be honest, quite huge. I was pleased to hear that the increase was unevenly spread across seats, with the bulk of the increase taking place in the priciest seats – the Cubs are running a business, but it’s in nobody’s long-term best interest to price out fans who can’t afford expensive seats, especially when you stack on the fees and other costs associated with attendance. The Cubs didn’t raise prices much at all during the rebuild, itself, so this is what you’d expect now that they’re putting a more compelling product on the field.
  • Much of the ticket price increase on season ticket holders reflects the value in having first dibs on the right to purchase playoff tickets, as opposed (necessarily) to the value/demand for a particular regular season game. Because that dibs-on-playoff-tickets value cannot be captured when those regular season tickets are re-sold on the secondary market, my guess is we’ll see premium game prices stay high on secondary market, but all other games might wind up going for less than you might expect.
  • As for the “rightness” or “wrongness” of a huge bump like this, like I said, so long as there’s a concerted effort not to price out less affluent fans completely, I’m OK with the Cubs trying to capture some of the value of the right to access playoff tickets (think about how insane the prices were on the secondary market this fall). And, as for the price/value of the regular season tickets themselves, it’s mostly a matter of what threshold the demand will sustain. If secondary ticket prices bottom out midseason, then the Cubs will probably have to re-evaluate. I’m interested to see how it plays out this year, when the Cubs should still be very good, but there isn’t the same sense of a once-in-a-lifetime quest.
  • … the other thing to mention here is, perhaps, the most obvious: with higher prices comes greater revenue for the Cubs, and, as we know, all revenue after expenses goes right into baseball operations. This increase could see the Cubs adding an additional $20 to $40 million in revenue (super quick back-of-the-napkin chicken scratch right there, so don’t hold me to it – I’m just ballparking for illustration). Think about what the front office could do with another $20 to $40 million in the coming years, particularly as the Cubs lose some of their pitching and the position players get very price in arbitration.

Author: Brett Taylor

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