Despite a 182-218 record since the end of the shortened 2020 season, the Chicago Cubs continue to draw well at Wrigley Field - and ownership, despite reducing season ticket prices this year, continues to rake in the cash with Cubs fans paying the fifth-highest average ticket price in all of Major League Baseball.
Heading into this week's series against the Phillies, Chicago ranked sixth in the National League in attendance this season. Heading into the summer months, the Friendly Confines will draw will - as they do every summer - and with the Cubs firmly in the mix in a weak NL Central, there's no reason to suspect an attendance decline is coming anytime soon.
Cubs fans are shelling out big bucks to see games at Wrigley Field
Of course, more than just ticket prices go into figuring out how much it costs to take your family to the ballpark these days. Food, drinks, parking and souvenirs are all part of the equation. In those regards, the North Siders rank near the top of the league in beer prices and lead all 30 MLB teams in parking fees, averaging $60.
If you're a season ticket holder - all-in, for the 81-game experience - being a Cubs fan is the most expensive fan experience in the game, totaling north of $10,000 annually, according to Cipher. Now, the average fan doesn't have the luxury of A) being a season ticket holder or B) shelling out $10K+ to see a fairly pedestrian ball club each year. But the point still stands: it's not cheap to root for the Cubs in today's world.
I've seen more fan-facing outreach for group outings and luxury suites in 2023 than ever before - suggesting the organization is looking to fill those spaces at Wrigley. Teams across the league, especially in large markets, continue to focus on luxury spaces and corporate sponsors - leaving everyday fans wondering how much longer they'll be able to afford a day at the ballpark.
What was once within reach for everybody, regardless of which team you pulled for, seems to be slipping further out of reach with each passing year. Hopefully, with rule changes now in place, there's more of an effort from teams and the league to making the gameday experience more affordable - because, despite increased attendance levels this year (of course they're higher, as COVID continues to ease) - there's work to be done.