Last season, ticket sales got so slow for the Chicago Cubs that they were giving tickets away, literally. Not of course for the big games versus the New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox and St. Louis Cardinals- but for many contests during the season you could easily find free tickets on the street.
Now you may ask yourself why would the Cubs offer free tickets to fans? Why give away what you’re selling? Well, first and foremost an ugly ballpark looks bad on television, but the real reason=further lost money on beer and concession sales. You may take a loss on the ducat, but at least you have people back in the seats buying drinks, food, souvenirs and crap. (oh wait, the Cubs baseball was actually free, so the genuine “crap” they didn’t have to pay for).
Anyways, you’d think these attendance issues would inspire the front office to lower prices; or at the very least keep ’em the same.
No, not so much.
In 1998, a year the Cubs were actually good, I bought bleacher tickets with my buddies for $11. We saw the Philadelphia Phillies on a Saturday in June. We were in college, so we weren’t going to get the high roller tickets, which topped out at about $50-$60 in those days.
A tweet today 3-7-11:
@TheWrigleyBlog: 1 #Cubs Bleacher ticket (via presale)$93.60 + $16.41 in service charges + $4 processing fee = $114.01
Borat himself could not do enough rape jokes to properly articulate what is going on with that pricing. In ’98, you got to watch a playoff team, along with all those STEROID injected Sammy Sosa faux home runs, and Kerry Wood throwing heat and racking up Ks in his prime before his arm fell off.
Today? You get David DeJesus and Bryan LaHair.
And a rebuilding, projected 66-71 win team that could likely be out of the NL Central division race by Flag Day. How exciting!
Now I’m no MBA, (actually I am, finished my degree in 2006) but that’s OVER A 1000% price inflation in just 14 years. I can’t remember any charts or graphs from B School in which that absurdity would ever even come close to being justified in price equilibrium. Maybe Cubs tickets are the next: Dutch tulip mania, 18th century English South Sea Bubble, housing crash or pets.com. It would make sense, because bleacher tickets have no true inherent value. The team is bad, the view from there is the worst in the stadium, and they’re the only Wrigley Field seats with no back. And it’s the only part of the stadium where you have to get there 30-60 minutes BEFORE the game starts if you want to save a few seats together.
You know, actually sitting with the people you came with, instead of strangers, for $114. What a treat!
So do yourself a favor, don’t buy tickets from the Cubs themselves, just get them for free/reduced on the secondary market. $114 bleacher seats come with no beer, no hot dogs, no local courtesan- just nothing. Kind of like what you should expect from the team this season. Therefore, I’m certain the prices will fall.
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports
A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.Follow paulmbanks