Thursday, July 29, 2010

MLB Gives Me Another Reason to Not Buy Cubs Season Tickets Next Year

I just came one step closer to not giving a damn if I give up my Cubs season ticket package for next year.  Earlier today one of my intrepid podcast buddies, Adam Kellogg, tweeted out the following message:

Upon clicking the link, it took me to this page at

That's right, is selling me the right to purchase Cubs 2010 World Series tickets for a mere $20 each.  Not the ticket, mind you, the right to buy the ticket at full face value if and when they qualify for the World Series costs $20.

Adam believes this would be a waste of money this year, and he is right.  This year, you would be better off setting your money on fire and then flushing it down the toilet.  You would be better off giving it to me (feel free to do that if you'd like). But let's say this was 2008 and the Cubs were beating the crap out of teams left and right.  Or even 2007 as the Cubs made a charge for the playoffs with a fantastic second half.  It would be totally worth it, right?

How about 2001?  The Year of Mack Newton.  The Cubs came out strong under Don Baylor and the positive thinkin' of Mack Newton and were making a push to the playoffs.  The team crumbled down the stretch, but the Cubs were in the race long enough that the ticket office sent out their post-season ticket invoices to the season ticket holders.  I had to plunk down something like $750 per seat to the Cubs for the playoff package that year. (Thus somewhere in a box, I have a sheet of mint condition 2001 playoff tickets to Wrigley Field.)  Sure, it eventually just became a down payment on my 2002 package, but I was still out of pocket $750 as Christmas season was approaching.

That is a lot of coin to be forking over to reserve some post-season tickets.

PLUS, in order to maintain that right to get my hands on post-season tickets (if the planets align correctly and a miracle occurs), I have to come up with about $3,500 (and rising) per seat to hold onto my ticket package. 

Now, I love baseball.  I love going to 40-50 baseball games a year and watching the Cubs play.  Even when they are bad, I usually find some amount of joy in going (watching Colvin, Castro, Byrd, Marshall).  But I don't have a compulsive need to be at the ballpark for every night or weekend game. I could easily get through a summer by attending only ten games or so.  Even when there is an historic season like 1998 or 2003 or 2007, I could have lived with not attending ALL of those games.  The television and radio provide plenty of access to the games in most cases.

I saw exactly one game in 1984 because I lived in New York at the time.  Granted, it was The Sandberg Game, but it was still only one game in one of the most magical seasons the Cubs have ever had.  I lived with that just fine (without any therapy or anything).

The reason I have stuck with the season ticket package for so long is because, in addition to the forty to fifty  home games I get access to, I get guaranteed post-season tickets at face value.  This was a HUGE selling point because without that access, I would most likely have to pay secondary market prices to be able to see a post-season game at Wrigley.  The World Series tickets on Stub Hub in 2003 were hitting thousands of dollars each (and they weren't always even good tickets).  That fact, plus the enjoyment I usually derive from going to so many baseball games made the price tag more palatable.

Now, thanks to MLB, I can potentially guarantee myself a ticket to every single potential playoff game held at Wrigley Field for a total of $170?  (Three NLDS x $10 + four NLCS x $15 + four WS x $20 = $170.)

I don't have to plop down $3,500 for that right anymore?  That is a savings of over 95%!  Holy shit!  Beat that, Groupon!

Plus, if the Cubs absolutely blow like they do this year, I don't have to pay a nickel.  This just keeps getting better.

So let me do some math.  Let's say next year I don't want to hand over $3,500 to the Cubs as some form of tacit agreement with how they have been running the team.  Instead, I can just go and buy a reservation to every Cubs post-season game (hell, I'll buy two so Kris can also come with me).  Then I'll do their little 20% reverse pre-sale and buy tickets to ten Platinum Level seats in the Upper Deck Infield Boxes for the regular season.  That would be $70 each, plus the 20% markup of another $14 for a total of $84 per game.  That is $840 total.  Again, let's buy two just because now I can.  That is $1,680 for enough live baseball for us to enjoy together during the season and $340 to get us into a potential of eleven post-season games.  Grand total spent: $2,020 or $1010 each.  I save 42% if I include Kris in my plans.  I can save 71% if I'm a selfish bastard.

Granted, there is some risk involved.  What if there is a run on post-season ticket reservations as soon as they are put on sale?  The Yankees reservations are completely sold out.  The Reds and Cardinals have sold out of a few post-season games already as well.

I may not get the tickets I want in the pre-sale either.  I won't get my same seat and sit with my summer family who help me get through the pain of most Cubs seasons.  I'll have to change the name of this blog.

But still, I could use that additional $1,500 saved per year and I wouldn't be feeling obligated to go to forty games when the Cubs suck, which unfortunately, is most of the time.

It is definitely something to think about for next year.  Thanks, Major League Baseball!


Adam said...

Wow, I had thought more about how this cuts into the secondary ticket market, but it really does lower the incentive to retain season tickets, too. Granted, I don't know how good you can expect the reserved playoff tickets to be, but they do say you're guaranteed a ticket.

Very interesting . . .

Aisle 424 said...

I'd guess the block they hold back for this would be in the 500 section at Wrigley, but it could be anywhere. Unless they can figure out a way around MLB rules to sell the tickets at closer to the secondary ticket market, they might as well sell all off the seats this way and make an extra $20 per seat.

Adam said...

For what it's worth, all the reservations for Red Sox and Yankees postseason tickets are sold out, and all but the (if necessary) games for the first two rounds for White Sox tickets. Several contenders have at least sold out their World Series reservations. I would assume they'd just make reservations available for all seats not belonging to season ticket holders. There's no need to do that lottery thing they usually do if they can sell reservations.

Commenter Formerly Known as Chester said...

I guess you could go with "Tales From Wrigley". Boring though. How about "Tales from Earth"? Maybe too broad. Although you could widen the scope of your posts. How about "The Blog Formerly Known as Tales From Aisle 424"? I suggest this symbol "*&^%$#@"

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