Cubs Hoping to Increase Wrigley Field Attendance Capacity Throughout Season - Goal Eventually is 100%

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Cubs Hoping to Increase Wrigley Field Attendance Capacity Throughout Season – Goal Eventually is 100%

Chicago Cubs

I just listened to Cubs President of Baseball Operations Crane Kenney on The Score, discussing the team’s and City’s announcement that fans will be able to attend Opening Day at Wrigley Field this year at 20% capacity.

Some of the important bits I picked up while listening:

⇒  Kenney referenced other midwest states and teams where they’re seeing 25-30+% attendance capacity immediately, and the Cubs see a path where – with an early demonstration of success at 20% – they could increase to 30% fairly quickly. All of that will require city and state approvals, however, and will be pegged to however the pandemic trajectory. As cases and case positivity continue to go down, and as vaccinations continue to go up, then attendance can also go up.

⇒  The goal is to reach 100% capacity sometime this year. Kenney did not say specifically when for that goal – how could they know for sure? – but he did quip that they want to see full attendance come October for playoff baseball. I will note that, based on the medical and scientific data available to this point (and my personal evaluation of that stuff), there is a strong argument that, if hospitalizations are down to a level consistent with other viral diseases (i.e., health care systems not close to being overwhelmed), and if every adult has had a chance to receive a vaccine, that’s when you can throw the doors wide open for a return to normalcy. And if shipments stay on track, that situation could arrive sometime this summer.

⇒  Kenney noted that, when the Cubs opened up the rooftops last year for limited capacity outdoor attendance, there was not a single contact-tracing event that touched on a rooftop.

⇒  Early on, Kenney expects the majority of seats will go to season ticket holders who’ve been around a very long time, and who’ve left deposits in place with the team since last year.

⇒  At 20% capacity, the Cubs are just about at their break even point for operating that day’s game. That is to say, at 20% capacity, the Cubs generate enough revenue to pay for the labor costs and operations costs of Wrigley Field that day. Once you get beyond that point, then you start generating revenue to be used for other parts of the organization (obviously everyone wants to talk about payroll, so there you go). Of note, the Cubs promised the City that they would staff up fully for games this year, regardless of attendance capacity. So they are fully staffing their game day labor, even at 20% attendance capacity.

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.