Friday, April 12, 2019

How Many Different Ticket Options??

I knew things were out of hand after I looked at this page of the Cubs schedule:

There are 31 different ticket options at Wrigley Field.  That just seems crazy to me.  So I did a little research.

From the time the Cubs moved into Wrigley Field through the 1964 season there were just three options.  You could get a box seat, grandstand seat, or bleacher seat.  And only the boxes were sold in advance.  The grandstand and bleacher seats were sold only on the day of the game. That worked for 51 years!

In 1965 the Cubs split up the box seats.  A seat in the first ten rows of boxes would cost you an extra 50¢.  So that gives us four options.  Still quite a ways from today's 31.

The box seats all returned to a single price in 1970, putting things back at just three ticket options.

The next year a new fourth option was added, reserved grandstand seats.  This was a small portion of the grandstand seats though, just 1,892 out of 19.082 grandstand seats.  This is what was done through the 1981 season.

The 1982 season was the first full year under the Tribune Company,  They made one change, splitting the box seats into two groups, making five options. 

The 1985 season saw a big change.  The grandstand seats, available only on the day of the game, were renamed terrace seats, and they were sold in advance.  Only the bleachers were sold on game days and that lasted for just the 1985 season.  In 1986 you could purchase any seat in the ballpark in advance.

Things remained this way until 2001, when once again, the box seats were split into another group, creating six different ticket prices.  I was surprised that it took until 2001 for changes to be made. 

In 2002 the Family section prices rose above the box seat prices, giving a seventh option.  The lower boxes were split between infield and outfield, adding more choices.  The upper deck boxes were split also, as were the terrace seats. The total now was nice different prices.

A tenth ticket was created in 2003, as the terrace seats were again divided, creating terrace boxes.

It was in 2005 when it started to get crazy.  More sections were divided up and now there were fourteen choices.  Its getting crazy, but still at half of what it is today.

A choice disappeared in 2006 as the bleachers were rebuilt and the family section was eliminated.  We're back at thirteen.  

There is stayed until 2015.  The Cubs split out another terrance and now the number of choices is up to fourteen.  

The 1060 Project moving full speed ahead in 2016.  Sure, they were renovating Wrigley to make it look pretty.  But the main motivation for the work is to add revenue.  And one way to do that is to have more ticket options.  In 2016 five more were added and were now 19.

Most of the above information I culled from my roster books and media guides.  Oddly, the ticket information was not included in the 2017 and 2018 media guides.  My schedules became my source.  

The 2017 schedule shows 26 different ticket options, a jump of seven.  2018 remained the same, and then we are up to the schedule at the top, 2019, and it's 31 choices.

31 choices and I can probably afford to buy tickets for a handful of them.


  1. Everyone: The next time you hear someone say "What do YOU care how much the players are paid, it's not YOUR money", remember this story about the great money-grab.

  2. Ownership is going to charge what they want if they can get away with it - find deep pockets to pay for season tickets for much of the premium seating options - they don't even need walk up and/or day of the game business to make their money in the long run.

    With regards to how much players are paid - you can have nine replacement players on the field, for a team like the Cubs and ownership will still find a way to make things complicated and expensive.

  3. Ugh... I think I'll go to more Mariner games in Seattle this year (to watch Vogelbach) than I'll see the Cubs in Chicago.

  4. From my standpoint working in media and having friends in the sports business, that TV deal they struck is likely part of the culprit in the advancement in ticket options. With less people available to watch due to subscription services, the hope is 'well then people will want to come to the park'. And what people want now with cell phones and instant everything is OPTIONS. And like gas stations that raise prices by two cents a day, it looks minimal, but when you can't buy $10 tickets because they are all gone, 'well, might as well buy the $12' and so on. 20,000 tickets at $10 or 1,500 at $10, 2,500 at $12, 5,000 at $20, 5,000 at $25, etc. They know they will sell them, because they have for generations. UNTIL PEOPLE STOP PAYING FOR IT, THEY WILL KEEP CHARGING FOR IT.

  5. And don't forget, rent in Wrigleyville is a bear, city wants their share.