How historic is the Cubs' appearance in the 2016 World Series?
How about the most expensive tickets in the history of the World Series? And that's accounting for inflation -- and it's not even close.
To get into Wrigley Field for Games 3, 4 or 5 this weekend, the sellers are asking anywhere between $5,400 to $7,400 per ticket. So far, business has been brisk, with an average sale price of between $3,000 to $4,200. Even standing room-only tickets are fetching north of a grand each.
Jesse Lawrence, founder and CEO of TicketIQ, which works with more than 50 sports teams to help them analyze and sell their tickets directly to fans, said the outrageous prices are the result of a fan base hungry to see its team's first World Series appearance since 1945, and if the Cubs win, it would finally break the club's 108-year title drought.
"It is majority driven by the drought," said Lawrence, whose company began tracking secondary-market prices in 2010. "The Indians actually have a smaller stadium than Wrigley, and the average price is more than double at Wrigley."
Though known as an intimate neighborhood ballpark, the "Friendly Confines" is in fact the 13th largest stadium among Major League Baseball's 30 ballparks, with a capacity of 42,495. Cleveland's Progressive Field, opened in 1994, is the third smallest stadium in MLB with just 35,225 seats.
Yet, the prices for the first two games of the World Series in Cleveland were considerably lower, despite the Indians having their own title drought since 1948. Tickets could be had for less than $1,000 and in many cases it would cost a Cubs fan less to buy a ticket and make the five-hour trek from Chicago to Cleveland (including a night's hotel stay) than trying to get into Wrigley Field this weekend.
The Cubs' ticket prices dwarf TicketIQ data's previous most expensive World Series tickets by a country mile, and those were also fan bases starving from historic droughts. In 2010, the average price to get into San Francisco's AT&T Park was $1,150, as the Giants were looking for their first Fall Classic victory since moving to the Bay Area in 1958. In 2013, when the Boston Red Sox clinched their first World Series title at home since 1918, the average ticket price for Game 6 was $1,120.
About the only ticket price remotely comparable to this year's demand at Wrigley Field was 2004, when the Red Sox finally ended their 86-year World Series title drought. For the first two games of the series at Fenway Park (Boston went on to sweep the St. Louis Cardinals in four games), the asking price on a nascent StubHub was $3,500 and tickets were sold for an average of $1,500.
Even accounting for inflation, the 2004 Red Sox World Series tickets went for an average of $1,925 in 2016 dollars, about two-thirds or half of what it would cost to get inside Wrigley Field this weekend. That was, however, still more than 2013 Red Sox World Series tickets, as that fan base presumably had become jaded as Boston was making its third Fall Classic appearance in 10 years (and winning all three).
For Cubs fans dying to get into a World Series game but can't afford the Wrigley Field prices, they might want to secretly root for their team to lose a game in Chicago, forcing the series to go back to Cleveland. Demand for potential Games 6 and 7 is still much lower at the moment, as tickets are selling for around $1,500, about half of what it would cost in Chicago.
And if these prices are still too high, some Cubs fans should bring back a familiar mantra that's been part of the "lovable losers" for more than a century - wait 'till next year.
That's because the prices for World Series tickets will not be this high again. Not even for the Cubs, win or lose this year.
When will these prices be topped at a World Series again? Lawrence has a ready answer: "Not for at least 100 years."