Cubs

Variables go into Cubs 2011 ticket pricing

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Variables go into Cubs 2011 ticket pricing

Friday, Oct. 8, 2010
6:50 PM

By Patrick Mooney
CSNChicago.com

The Cubs sifted through approximately five million pieces of data catalogued from 2005 on before setting ticket prices for next season. The review included box-office sales and transactions made through brokers like StubHub and Wrigley Field Premium.

What that means depends on what youre looking to buy, which is the entire point.

Overall, the average ticket price will essentially remain the same in 2011. To hit those numbers, the Cubs created a new marquee tier for 13 games with the highest demand. For those dates, tickets will rise roughly 12 percent from the year before.

This category will subsidize the other 68 games on the home schedule. More than 550,000 tickets or 17 percent of inventory will be listed at 20 or less next year. Less than 10 percent of tickets were valued that low in 2010.

Fans will still be able to buy 8 tickets on selected days. And there will be no significant increases to the remaining four tiers. Platinum will basically stay even, while prices for the less desirable gold, silver and bronze games will decrease by about eight percent.

The Cubs found that buying patterns are different in the bleachers than the grandstands and will make distinctions between the two areas. The number of bronze games, which represent the lowest-priced tier, will increase from six to 15 in the bleachers.

What an average season-ticket holder will see is flat, Cubs president Crane Kenney said Friday. The highest increase for a season-ticket holder will be about three percent if you had seats in certain sections. If youre in a different place, you might see a reduction in your invoice as much as six percent.

This strategy isnt easy to fit into a headline or a Twitter update, but it is a window into how Tom Ricketts will run this franchise. The chairman, an investment banker with two degrees from the University of Chicago, will be guided by data analysis.

During his familys first season of ownership, Ricketts noticed the empty seats at Wrigley Field, which drew more than three-million fans but on certain nights saw some of its lowest attendance figures since 2006.

The Cubs havent finished projecting revenues for next season. The expectation is that ownership will spend the same amount next year on baseball operations, including amateur signings, international development and facility upgrades.

But payroll could decrease from the approximately 145 million committed on Opening Day 2010.

We are still working on our 2011 baseball plan, so it is hard to be too specific at this time, Ricketts wrote in a letter sent Friday to season-ticket holders. What I can tell you is that our overall baseball budget will be about the same in 2011 as it was in 2010.

Continued long-term success will come through superior scouting and player development, and we are committed to improving that facet of the organization. As a result, this likely means a shift of some of our resources from the major-league payroll toward scouting and player development, but we are still very much in the evaluation phase."

Fans will be paying for it in part through an average ticket price of 47.17, which does not include the 12 percent amusement tax assessed by local government. The Cubs have disputed the methodology used in a Team Marketing Report study that found they had, on average, the most expensive tickets in baseball in 2010.

Internally, the Cubs believe theyre fourth in that category, that it costs more to see the Yankees, Red Sox and Mets.

Season-ticket holders wont receive their bills until later this month. Some of the 13 marquee games are obvious, like Opening Day and series against the Yankees (June 17-19), White Sox (July 1-3) and Cardinals (Aug. 19-21).

Three Saturdays in the summer when out-of-town visitors flock to Chicago were also separated out: July 16 (Marlins); July 23 (Astros); and Aug. 6 (Reds).

By then, everyone should have a better idea of whether or not Wrigley Field will be hosting meaningful games into September, or remain just another tourist attraction.

When we see empty seats, we ask: Is it pricing? Is it the product on the field? Is it the economy? Is it the service level? Kenney said. There (are) a whole lot of questions around why you might have an unfilled seat. This year, we took a much deeper dive into that question and hopefully were doing it smarter.

Patrick Mooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. Follow Patrick on Twitter @CSNMooney for up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.

Podcast: Cubs pass the first test in midst of crucial stretch

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Scott Changnon

Podcast: Cubs pass the first test in midst of crucial stretch

On the latest CubsTalk Podcast Scott Changnon and Tony Andracki discuss the state of the Cubs offense, the value of Javy Baez and Addison Russell and what it means now that the starting rotation looks to be finding its form.

With 17 games in 17 days (most of which come against contending teams), the Cubs started things off right with a series victory in St. Louis.

Listen to the entire podcast here:

The Cubs are in a way better spot than they were a year ago

The Cubs are in a way better spot than they were a year ago

ST. LOUIS — It's night and day watching the 2018 Cubs compared to the 2017 version.

Even with the injury to Javy Baez Sunday night, the Cubs are in a way better spot now than they were a year ago.

On June 17 of last season, the Cubs sat at 33-34 with a run differential of just +6.

They looked flat more often than not. "Hangover" was the word thrown around most and it was true — the Cubs really did have a World Series hangover.

They admit that freely and it's also totally understandable. Not only did they win one of the most mentally and physically draining World Series in history, but they also ended a 108-year championship drought and the weight of that accomplishment was simply staggering. 

The 2018 iteration of the Cubs are completely different. 

Even though they didn't finish off the sweep of their division rivals in St. Louis Sunday night, they're still only a half-game behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central and for the best record in the league. A +95 run differential paced the NL and sat behind only the Houston Astros (+157), Boston Red Sox (+102) and New York Yankees (+98) in the AL.

Through 67 games, the Cubs sat at 40-27, 13 games above .500 compared to a game below .500 at the same point last summer.

What's been the main difference?

"Energy," Joe Maddon said simply. "Coming off the World Series, it was really hard to get us kickstarted. It was just different. I thought the fatigue generated from the previous two years, playing that deeply into the year. A lot of young guys on the team last year.

"We just could not get it kickstarted. This year, came out of camp with a fresher attitude. Not like we've been killing it to this point; we've been doing a lot better, but I didn't even realize that's the difference between last year and this year.

"If anything, I would just pinpoint it on energy."

Of course the physical component is easy to see. The Cubs played past Halloweeen in 2016 and then had so many demands for street namings and talk shows and TV appearances and Disney World and on and on. That would leave anybody exhausted with such a shortened offseason.

There's also the mental component. The Cubs came into 2018 with a chip on their shoulder after running into a wall in the NLCS last fall against the Los Angeles Dodgers. They have a renewed focus and intensity.

But there's still plenty of room for more. The Cubs aren't happy with the best record and run differential in the NL. They know they still haven't fully hit their stride yet, even amidst a 24-13 stretch over the last five weeks.

"I think we've been pretty consistent," Jon Lester said. "We've had some ups and downs on both sides of the ball as far as pitching and hitting. But the biggest thing is our bullpen and our defense has been pretty solid all year.

"That's kept us in those games. When we do lose — you're gonna have the anomalies every once in a while and get blown out — we're in every single game. It's all we can do. Keep grinding it out.

"Our offense will be fine. Our defense and the back end of our bullpen has done an unbelievable job of keeping us in these games. And if we contribute as a starting five, even better. 

"You have the games where our guys get feeling sexy about themselves and score some runs. That's where the snowball effect and we get on that little bit of a run. I feel like we've been on a few runs, it just hasn't been an extended period of time. I don't have any concerns as far as inside this clubhouse."

Lester hit the nail on the head. The Cubs sit at this point with only 1 win from Yu Darvish, Tyler Chatwood struggling with command and low power numbers from several guys including Kris Bryant.

Throw in the fact that Joe Maddon's Cubs teams always seem to get into a groove in August and September when they're fresher and "friskier" than the rest of the league and this team is currently in very good shape for the remainder of the year. 

If they can get 3 wins away from the World Series after going 33-34, the sky should be the limit for a 2018 squad that's in a much better position 67 games in.