Cubs fans will pay less on average for tickets next year

October 18, 2012

Quinn Ford

(Flickr, Mi55 Anthr0py)
The Cubs announced ticket prices will fall, on average in 2013.

Cubs fan will pay slightly less on average to see their lovable losers play next season.

The average ticket price will drop about 2 percent in 2013. That comes from price decreases in three sections: the Budweiser Bleachers, the Terrace Reserved Outfield and the Upper Deck Box Outfield.

Those three sections make up 30 percent of the seating capacity in Wrigley Field, according to Colin Faulkner, the vice president of ticket sales and services with the Chicago Cubs.

Faulkner said the price of bleachers seats will decrease by about 10 percent.

“Everywhere else remains flat, so no season ticket holder will see an increase for next year,” Faulkner said.

Faulkner also said there will be less marquee-priced games in 2013 than in 2012. Tickets for marquee games cost the most and feature teams that draw big crowds like the Chicago White Sox or the St. Louis Cardinals.

The price changes comes after attendance at the friendly confines dipped this year. About 2.8 million people attended games this year at Wrigley Field, compared with just over 3 million in 2011.

Tim Mahon, a principal analyst at Midwest Diversified Services Group in Chicago, said the ball club's record this year had something to do with that.

“With the brand equity at Wrigley, you’re going to attract a certain number of people and a large number of customers regardless of how the team does, but at a certain point, ambiance only goes so far and the poor product actually has an impact,” Mahon said.

The Cubs finished the season with a 61-101 record, the second worst in major league baseball.

Mahon said the Cubs are lowering the prices in certain sections to attract certain types of fans.

“If you categorize your customers, those are the seats where the customers are more price sensitive,” Mahon said, adding that a good chunk of revenue coming from those customers come not from the tickets but from purchases inside the stadium.

“If somebody has to pay $5 less for their ticket, they’re going to more than make up for that with the first beer that they buy,” Mahon said.

Faulkner also said the Cubs will roll out “dynamic pricing” for all their tickets next year, something they tested in the Budweiser Bleachers section in 2012.

“Dynamic pricing” is common when buying things like hotel rooms or airplane tickets. Basically, as the game approaches and less tickets are available, prices go up.

“It rewards our most loyal fans which are season ticket holders,” Faulkner said. “The incentive is to buy early.”

Mahon said dynamic pricing is becoming more common in sports, whether it’s baseball here in Chicago or soccer in Europe.

Mahon also said most sports teams across the country and even the entertainment industry in general are dealing with this issue of lower attendance right now, not just the Cubs. He attributes that to people having less disposable income to spend.

“Those discretionary dollars are becoming more and more difficult for the buyers to allocate, so entertainment and sports options are having to work harder to stay at the top of the list of capturing that share of the wallet,” Mahon said.