The final turnstile numbers at Wrigley Field are in for the 2022 season: 2,616,780 total which averages to roughly 32,306 per game. This was the first season since 2019 where there were no COVID-19 restrictions keeping fans either completely out or limiting seating capacity. Taking away 2020 and 2021, this marks the lowest attendance number at the Friendly Confines since 1997 when they drew 2,190,308.
From 1997-2019 the Cubs averaged 2,984,645 fans annually. Although Chicago still ranked among the better drawing teams in baseball, it was definitely a ‘down’ year by Cubs standards. This should not shock anyone.
A better on-field product should lead to higher Cubs attendance in 2023
It is no real mystery why attendance fell this year. The experience at Wrigley Field has gotten very expensive and the Cubs were never in postseason contention. Many fans were fed up with not having a good product on the field paired with sky-high gamely prices. The solution to improving on 2022’s attendance number is very simple, a better product.
As usual, the bleachers filled up for most games. It was the grandstands where the unoccupied seats were noticeable. The corners of the lower grandstand areas and the nosebleeds in the upper deck especially.
These numbers won’t have the Cubs organization in a panic, as chairman Tom Ricketts did not seem too worried per insider Gordon Wittenmyer. We have seen more “April 1996” looking crowds than normal over the past year and a half, but they still draw more than a majority of teams. The drop is still noticeable though, and the Cubs would obviously like to get that number back to the 3 million mark.
While a good product would be the primary solution, fans would also like to see some price drops as well. Cannot say if that will happen, but there is hope for a better team next year. It is much easier to justify paying good money to watch a good team as fans did when they were contenders.