The Chicago Cubs finally had a good season, and now their fans are going to pay for it -- big time. After one year of being not terrible, the team is sending ticket prices sky-high in 2016.
According to the Chicago Tribune, some seating sections at Wrigley Field are seeing their face-value increase by as much as 43 percent, and the overall price of a regular-season ticket next year will go up by about 10 percent. That's far more than the league-wide average of 3 percent in 2015.
But fans ready to criticize the team's management may need to cast some of the blame on themselves, too. Colin Faulkner, the team's SVP of sales and partnerships, told the Tribune that the huge demand for tickets and a high season-ticket renewal rate proved that fans are willing to pay to see the games in person.
"We've clearly seen an increase in demand, so that helped factor into an increase in our prices," Faulkner said. "Our goal is to remain competitive for the long term and provide value to our fans for a competitive baseball team, but also [value] in their tickets."
It's still a hefty price increase for a franchise that already ranked third in MLB for the average price of a ticket. Last season, the Cubs ranked sixth in the league in terms of attendance.
But the high prices fetched on the secondary market also showed management just how much fans will pay. Compared to 2014, ticket prices sold on secondary markets like StubHub in 2015 were about 20 percent more expensive, on average. The overall 10 percent increase of face-value tickets for next season will claim some of that profit margin for the team itself, as opposed to online scalpers.
And the Cubs will be able to put that money to good use. As Bruce Levine reports for CBS Chicago, the Cubs will make about $20 million in extra revenue during the course of the year. At least some, if not all of that money, will go to the team's payroll.
The prospect of an extra $20 million in annual player salary is a boon for any franchise -- even a rich one, and especially when several key members of the roster are playing on rookie contracts.
At any rate, the revenues appear to be going toward improving the baseball product, which fans should appreciate. Writes Levine:
"Owner Tom Ricketts and his family said when they bought the team in 2009 that every dollar that comes into the franchise will go into building a champion on and off the field. So far, Ricketts has taken the necessary steps toward that. He created a new complex in the Dominican Republic to sign and train players, and the Cubs also made a deal for a state-of-the-art spring training complex in Mesa, Ariz., that cost $77 million."
There hasn't been any official statement on how those extra revenues will be handled, but if fans are cranky about the increased cost, they can at least comfort themselves with the notion that they're getting something in return.