I don't blame fans one bit for not caring about Chicago baseball right now. That's what happens when the product on the field is garbage.
Originally Posted by kittle42
The crosstown series gets about 30k a game, even at Wrigley and even on Memorial Day.
This afternoon, a lovely one, at Wrigley? Announced at 24,645, per a friend at the game.
I know that Wrigley makes the Cubs a strong draw, but the "3 million attendance every year" is only a recent phenomenon.
My theory is that, since 1998, the Cubs have had circumstances that have pretty much perpetually boosted attendance. Beginning in '98 to about 2003, it was the Sammy Sosa show. Who cares if the Cubs sucked? They drew big crowds of people that were more thrilled by seeing a Sosa HR than seeing a Cubs win. Then the Cubs went deep in the playoffs in 2003 (before choking to Florida
) and that's when attendance starting going over 3M. The Trib really hyped them up in 2004 by running a countdown to the pennant at the start of the season IIRC. They started seeing some empty seats (no shows) in 2006 as the Cubs stumbled to 96 losses right after the White Sox World Series championship. But, the Trib went on a spending spree for the 2007 season and the Cubs made back to back playoff appearances. Their last decent season was 2009, so they were able to keep up the ticket sales over 3M another two seasons (even if there were a growing number of no-shows). Last year, they fell to 2.8M and i'm guessing that ticket brokers aren't gobbling up as many Cubs tickets as they used to.
....before all this began, the Cubs drew 2.1 million in 1997 and the Kerry Wood 20 K game in May 1998 had an attendance of 15,000. They probably won't sink to those levels any time soon, but people have short memories when they think the Cubs "always draw 3M even when they suck".
They might also be benefiting from a slight boost in advanced sales thanks to last season's surprisingly competitive and fun-to-watch team. People were moaning last season that the Sox didn't see an immediate boost in attendance from their success, but teams often don't see a benefit until the following season.
I agree that better pricing has helped too.