Chicago Cubs News: Final predictions for attendance at Wrigley Field in 2023
A few months ago we made some initial predictions on how the attendance at Wrigley Field could look in 2023 based on several scenarios. This was before the Cubs signed Dansby Swanson. The Cubs were coming off a season in which 2,616,780 fans passed through the turnstiles at Wrigley, the lowest (not counting the 2020-2021 pandemic years) since 1997.
Seeing the Cubs spend money and landing one of the big free-agent shortstops this offseason put some anxious fans at ease. An uneventful offseason following the sub-.500 2022 season could have easily resulted in a bigger attendance drop this year. Wrigley Field always will draw better than a majority of ballparks regardless, but people also want the product on the field to be worth investing in. Especially when going to the ballpark these days is not necessarily cheap, with the cost of tickets on top of concessions, souvenirs, and transportation/parking.
So what could we be looking at in 2023? When referencing the offseason and putting some of the Cubs faithful's minds at ease, we can at least guess there likely won't be a dip from last year. The question is how much can it go up? Considering some circumstances, a fair prediction for 2023 could be in the 2.7-2.9 million range. So we will predict around 2.85 million for 2023.
If this team is more competitive, naturally more people go see them. The Cubs also lowered ticket prices for 2023, making it a tad more affordable to go. This can at least capture some people on the fence about going to games. How much more competitive the Cubs are in 2023 is unknown right now, but they should at least be more intriguing to follow compared to last year. What actually happens will help dictate how attendance shapes up. If they are playing meaningful games in August and September, then that will help out the attendance numbers.
Is hitting the 3 million mark possible? Sure, but not sure how likely that is. The Cubs have drawn 3+ million in 12 seasons in their history, 2004-2011 and 2016-2019. The Cubs were contenders and/or above .500 in seven of those seasons. They did draw 3 million in some of the awful late-Tribune era seasons like 2006, 2010, and 2011, but the Theo Epstein rebuild years would see the numbers dip below that mark. Considering modern ballpark experience costs (even with lowered ticket prices) and still some mystery surrounding how good the team will actually be, it is not crazy to think they won't quite reach 3 million in 2023 for the time being. Some of those early April/May weekday/night games could see some scattered empties in the stands.
What we can hope for is that the attendance looks much better than last year by the time the season is over because that will likely mean the team did well.