Long-suffering Chicago Cubs fans will have to pay more than ever to watch their favorite team defend their first World Series title in 108 years.
The Chicago Cubs were in the top-three major league teams in average ticket price last season. The proposed 19.5 percent increase will give them a solid hold on number one in 2017. The best seats will increase the most: 31 percent for club box infield seats and bleachers by 22 percent. Other seats will go up six to 17 percent.
It will also be the second straight season that the team has raised the face value of its tickets by at least 10 percent.
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According to Jesse Rogers at ESPNChicago, the marquee nature of the team’s interleague home games played a part in the increases. They will host the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays while taking on the St. Louis Cardinals in three separate weekend series.
“It’s not easy to raise ticket prices,” Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Colin Faulkner. Faulkner said at the Winter Meetings. “We are really sensitive to the loyalty and support of our fans. But, at the same time, the value of our tickets right now is far exceeding the current pricing levels. It’s important for us to realize some of that value.”
Funds from higher ticket prices go towards other renovation projects at Wrigley and in the community. Big-ticket projects like the team operations offices on Clark and Waveland and the Triangle Plaza are on the docket to be completed in 2017. These renovations not only bring short-term jobs for the construction but long-term opportunities as well.
“The office building will include several ground-level restaurants and other retail, although tenants have not been announced. Across the street, Big Star, Smoke Daddy BBQ, and two other Chicago eateries will open inside the under-construction Hotel Zachary, “Ariel Cheung of DNAinfo.com wrote about the projects.
Benefits for Wrigley
Last season, Cubs season ticket holders saw huge returns on the resale market in 2016. The secondary market exceeded face value for regular-season games by 96 percent. That went up to 670 percent in the playoffs and a whopping 1,206 percent above face value in the World Series.
By capitalizing on this value, the organization plans to “reinvest the money into the team and facility” according to Faulkner.
Wrigley Field will also undergo Phase 3 of its renovation process before 2017 begins. Most notably, the famed outdoor bullpens along the foul lines will be moved under the bleachers. The pitcher’s mounds will be leveled off—a welcome relief for infields and outfielders. This will make room for four more rows of premium seating.
The team also plans on renovating the umpire’s room, visitor’s clubhouse, and outdoor concourses as well. In total, the renovations will cost around $78 million.
The Wrigley Field Renovation Project—or 1060 Project for short—was designed to sustain the viability of the Lake View community and preserve the historic draw of the ballpark for generations to come. Wrigleyville is the enclave of the Lake View community in Chicago. Wrigley Field is the linchpin for growth there. Without it, the venues that attract a young professional demographic and sustain a strong entrepreneurial market may not have opened, let alone succeeded.