Because I know a lot of folks may not proceed to the meat of the post, let me go ahead and state right here that the titular information is drawn from secondary-market pricing and not face values. Even so, it figures that there’s a fairly solid correlation between those two figures. And anyone who’s had to fork over the equivalent of a car payment to take their family to a game knows that Wrigley ain’t cheap no matter how you get there.
According to ticketIQ, an online secondary ticket marketplace, the Cubs had the most expensive average ticket price (sortable raw data for all teams) in MLB over the course of the first half of the season. Their $128.13 figure made them one of only three teams to break triple digits and was nearly $10 ahead of the second-place Yankees ($118.34). As you can probably guess, the Red Sox were the next highest ($102.48).
Price is of course driven by demand, so it’s no surprise that the Cubs’ strong first-half finish and rivalry-laden upcoming schedule is driving ticket prices even higher for the second half. As you can see in the chart below, the Cubs are seeing a nearly 20 percent jump to an average of…wait for it…$153.43 over their last 69 games.
The top three teams remain unchanged, though the Cubs increased their “lead” over second place to over $21 per ticket. With their 29 percent hike, the Red Sox blast up to a $132.19 average and overtake the Yankees, who remain somewhat flat at $122.11. Interestingly enough, the team actually seeing the largest percentage increase half-over-half is the Rays.
Yes, the Rays’ prices jumped 36.45 percent to $70.49, perhaps on the strength of their announcement of a new stadium in Ybor City. Those numbers weren’t sexy enough to land them on the above chart, but the Rays do actually have the ninth-most expensive ducats in the game for the second half. Probably all the tourists.
Back to the Cubs and those exorbitant figures, though. Part of that, and this is true for most successful teams, is that playing better means higher prices. Whether it’s the face values for seats after a successful season or a ticket-holder’s ability to exact a higher price via sites like ticketIQ (which is not sponsoring this content, in case you were wondering), people will pay more to see a winner.
There’s also the matter of urgency. The baseball season is so dad-gum long that a lot of folks simply can’t get into it early on. And then you’ve got the greater potential for rain and even snow, both of which hampered the Cubs in April.
And while I’m not sure whether and what additional amenities they’ve added at Fenway or Yankee Stadium, the Cubs are surely experiencing a bump from premium experiences like the 1914 Club. Those tickets are much more expensive than they’d been previously and we’re talking about the first seven rows from dugout to dugout. The rising tide of what were already your most expensive seats lifts all chits.
Again, bear in mind that these are only secondary-market averages. The Cubs still have plenty of face-value seats available if you go directly to Cubs.com. A quick perusal reveals $30 SRO tickets for this coming Saturday against the Cardinals. And they’ve even got club box outfield seats for as little as $179. Wait, that’s not cheap.
That’s the Cards on a weekend, though, so selection is low and prices are high. If you want to get your hands on an El Mago bobblehead, you can attend the game on July 24 (that’s a Monday night) against the D-backs for as little as $37 face. Not bad at all, really.
According to Statista, the average face value for Cubs tickets is $58.57, which is still the highest in MLB but almost one-third of the numbers we saw above. Much of the inflation in those prices came prior to the 2016 and ’17 seasons, when season tickets rose by averages of 10 and 19.5 percent, respectively. This year’s increase was actually less than 1 percent, with some seat locations dropping by nearly 6 percent. Even so, you’re looking at a 30 percent jump over three years.
The moral of the story is that it’s not cheap to be a fan of a winning team. Unless you’re in Atlanta, where the average second-half ticket price of $51.02 ranks 27th in baseball. The Nationals ($57.68) and Cardinals ($57.03) rank 23rd and 24th, respectively, though you can bet those figures are buoyed by the Cubs coming to town.
And speaking of the Cardinals and tickets and all that, I need to plug the upcoming 3rd Annual John Baker Day on Saturday, July 21. This event is the brainchild of Danny Rockett of the Son Ranto podcast and the boys at Ivy Envy and it’s a way to have a little fun and raise money for charity while celebrating the exploits of the former Cubs catcher.
You may recall that Baker came on to pitch a perfect top of the 16th before scoring the wining run on a Starlin Castro sac fly in the bottom of the frame. Once his time as a player was done, Baker was hired on as a mental skills coordinator, so he’s one of the guys responsible for much of the organizational culture you hear so much about. He’s also just an all-around good dude who’s got some great baseball stories and insight into the game and life in general.
This year’s event will once again be held at Nisei Lounge, just a few blocks south of Wrigley, and will feature musical performances by Rockett and Katie Day. There’ll also be a trivia contest in which yours truly will be on stage to square off against Baker, plus we’ll have tons of great stuff to raffle off. It’ll all take place between the Cubs’ double-header games, so it’s basically a must if you’re going to either, both, or neither of those.
If you’re interested in being there, you’re going to need a ticket, so get one while they’re still available. And no, they haven’t gone up 20 percent.