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Did the economy affect Cubs single-game ticket sales?

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Cubs single-game tickets went on sale this morning, prompting me to embark on another installment of a yearly tradition -- virtual waiting. I'll admit that I lucked out this year, but my good fortune made me wonder: Has the sour economy made some of the most elusive Cubs tickets easier to snag?

The tradition begins with a morning phone to my brother where we outline the games we want, the games we wish we could attend and exactly how many games we can actually afford. We do all of this, mind you, after lamenting the fact that we'll probably spend the duration of our lives on the season ticket waiting list.

Buying single-game tickets isn't necessarily about the tickets themselves or the actual games. I'm quite confident that, at the right price, I could find a way into Wrigley for any game I want to attend.

Rather, this odd February tradition is about the need to reward to reward oneself for enduring yet another painful Chicago winter.
It's the duty of every Chicagoan to eagerly anticipate the summer for a minimum of four months out of the year. Having printed Cubs tickets makes it possible to touch and feel that anticipation. To hold in one's hand that which seems so far away when terms like 'wind chill' pollute our vernacular on a daily basis.

And that's exactly why, after opening multiple virtual Cubs waiting rooms in various Web browsers on my computers (yes...computers) promptly at 9:30 a.m., I spend the next few hours monitoring them like a spooked ingenue in a horror film.

If the waiting room screen flinches, I flinch. I'm ready to pounce, spring into action and sieze what's rightfully mine.

I gained entry to purchase tickets earlier this year than I've ever been able to -- at exactly 10:19 a.m. I snagged my first batch of tickets -- Cubs/Cards seats a few rows away from Milton Bradleyville -- and went back to waiting with crossed fingers.

To my happy surprise, lightning struck twice. I was granted entrance to purchase more tickets. I wondered -- could Opening Day seats still be available? And better yet -- is it possible that Opening Day bleacher seats could  still be available?

Indeed they were. And purchase them I did.

But then I did what any good Chicagoan would do. I began to question my good fortune. Like many of my Windy City brethren, I tend to become immediately skeptical when good things happen -- especially when those things involve a certain baseball team that calls Wrigley Field home.

I began to think, could this be a sign of these tough economic times we've been hearing so much about lately? Are Cubs fans -- perhaps scorned by two straight years of playoff ineptitude and plagued by the need to pinch pennies -- keeping their wallets closed and buying fewer tickets this year?

As of 11: 30 a.m. Friday morning, a message in the Cubs Virtual Waiting Room read, "All games are currently available."

In past years when I've logged on to purchase tickets, by the time I've been able to actually purchase tickets, it's long after all the Cubs/Sox, Cubs/Cardinals and Opening Day tickets are sold out.

Not today.

It wasn't until about 11:40 a.m. that the first group of sold-out tickets were listed in the waiting room:

Colorado Rockies -- April 13
Chicago White Sox -- June 16, 18
St. Louis Cardinals -- July 11

By 12:30, a more sizable list was posted:

tickets_cubs_on_sale.jpg
Calls to the Cubs' director of ticket operations for comment were unanswered.

So for now, today's ticket mystery is left to anecdotal speculation. But it's possible that when future generations ask us how bad things got with the economy, we can tell them that things were so bad that I only had to wait 19 minutes in the virtual waiting room before buying tickets.

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11 Comments

Where is a good place to get tickets. I waited for a few hours and got nothing. I am from Minnesota and want to attend that series.. I was thinking Stub Hub but was wondering if there were local brokers that are better.

You suck! I wanted to get tickets for my boyfriend's birthday, and the four people I have trying to get tickets have been waiting for almost 6 hours now and when I did finally get in a few minutes ago, nothing worked and I ended up with nothing an was bounced back to the waiting room. Guess I won't be a good gf this year either...

This article is worthless. They don't update the sold-out tickets in real time and tickets definitely went quickly, just like every other year. Scalpers and people trying to make a profit are always going to up the demand when tickets go on sale.

I told myself I wouldn't buy tickets this year, economy and all, but by 4:00 I couldn't resist a peak at the virtual waiting room. First click I got right in (no waiting room), and got a game. In the space of one hour, which included running out for about 1/2 an hour, I was able to buy terrace reserved outfield seats to 3 mid week day games. Must be the ecomony.

Since there was a 1 game transaction limit it made it easier for others to get games as opposed to the past where people would load a cart up with seats.

I didnt try until about noon, and just now around 5pm was granted the option to actually purchase tickets....I waited so long, in and out though during the day, that when my turn did come I asked my wife "do you really want to go this year"---she said NO...the steroid thing turned her off, so I ditched out and let my tickets go...I cant believe I did, but I did...I've gone through this ritual every year, the virtual wait room and have been able to cop at least something at face value this way...but this year, it was different, I didnt start with the same enthusiasim as I have, and when I went for the final OK (wife got home from work at that time) and she said Not interested---suddenly I wasnt either.

I dont blame steroids, the economy, accusations of closet fan, I just write it off to not as interested as I once was...I think there are others out there like me now too. Though plenty of new folks to take our place. Something just isnt the same anymore. Peace.

Until we see some attendance numbers, I'm going to say it was your year to get lucky. Even during the Great Depression, people filled the ballparks.

I, on the other hand, bit the big one. Spent the better part of 6 hours today waiting around the Cubs' virtual waiting room like the fat girl at the school dance. How was it possible I didn't get let in until after 4 o'clock?!?!?!?

Bad luck, I guess.

I'm not originally from here, so I never really had much opinion about the Cubs one way or the other. And I'm trying to do the right thing and raise my young boys as Cubs fans. When the White Sox won in '05, the city and the nation let out a collective yawn; it'll be like nothing we've ever seen when/if the Cubs win it all.

But honestly, now I hope the Cubs lose 100 games this season.

Today was very disappointing.

I submit to Chicago that the empty-handed bloggers above must certainly be clueless American League fans, bad girlfriends, depressed hippies, and/or perhaps that unlucky fat girl at the school dance.

Most of these sad people were attempting to buy tickets for the first time, and I think that's great. But they could still log on right now & get any number of tickets - just not to the games they want.

Can't you see why it might be difficult to purchase tickets to see the best games to one the best pro franchises, in a rabid sports town, with a stacked roster?? Nevermind Wrigley's history and reputation as the best beer garden in Chicago.

Please understand that thousands of Cubs fans and opportunistic scalpers look forward to this day even more so than Christmas morning. If you don't get a group of friends together to go see Santa for a Cubs lotto wristband, don't complain when you don't get presents Christmas day.

And if you don't log on at 10am the day they go onsale & figure out how to launch 50 browsers, you shouldn't be surprised when you only get Pirates tickets.

I think there are valid doubts about whether the stimulus package will help. Of course, you can argue what will happen if there is no stimulus. But with this stimulus the federal deficit is likely to go even higher. I saw an interesting article, I think, on

http://www.recessioninfocenter.com

Went in around 3 pm waited for about 15 minutes and got tickets to the Cubs/Cards game April 18. That is not normal for the Cubs.

B.S Jude74!!!

I got on at 9:30am and waited until 2pm to finally get in. I wanted Cubs/Cardnial tickets bad and they had all been sold out since noon. If you somehow got those tickets I hate you!!!

Well, maybe I am bitter. Sorry.

I did end up getting Cubs/Pirates tickets at face value (Thank you Jeff) because a buddy is a pirates fan.

Had to go to stubhub and get Cubs/Dodgers tickets (gotta see the Man-Ram...*snicker). I do hope every scalper that put those tickets in stubhub minutes after buying them burns in h3ll!!!!
Every year I complain about the scalpers, but how is that legal???

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This page contains a single entry by Kevin Allen published on February 20, 2009 12:38 PM.

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