Chicago Cubs: A detailed history of Wrigley Field attendance

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

If there is one thing the Chicago Cubs are known for, it’s packed houses at Wrigley Field. Whether it be because of the national fanbase, and/or the novelty of going to one of the few remaining classic ballparks in America, the Friendly Confines is often full. This has been done on a consistent basis for the past several decades going back to the 1980s.

Millenial Cubs fans, like myself, have really only known Wrigley Field as the place where a majority of the seats are regularly packed with fans. Even some of the lowest attended games over the past 20 years still seemed like full houses compared to what teams like the Oakland A’s, Tampa Bay Rays or Miami Marlins draw. The older generations of fans, however, will probably remember something altogether different.

There were plenty of years in the 50s and 60s when the Cubs did not even reach 800K spectators at the ballpark in a given season. Some games back then they did not even bother opening the upper deck in the grandstand there were so few people there. On May 12, 1970, the day Ernie Banks hit his 500th home run at Wrigley Field, only 5,264 fans showed up to bear witness. That’s hard to imagine that happening today, without COVID restrictions of course. And that was in a season where they actually did draw over a million fans.

The Cubs have played at Wrigley since 1916, and the ballpark has had a seating capacity of over 30,000 dating back to 1927 when the upper deck of the grandstand was constructed. Here is a more detailed look at the history of Cubs attendance at Wrigley Field.

NOTE: These numbers are based on Baseball-Reference and Baseball-Almanac, based on tickets sold.