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updated: 6/17/2011 1:53 PM

Cubs see historic drop in ticket demand

Yankees, crosstown series don't increase ticket sales

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  • Fans just aren't willing to pay anything to see a Cubs game, or so it seems this year. Local ticket resale companies are reporting a historic decline in demand that not even the weekend series against the New York Yankees or next week's crosstown games with the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field are helping to rebuild.

       Fans just aren't willing to pay anything to see a Cubs game, or so it seems this year. Local ticket resale companies are reporting a historic decline in demand that not even the weekend series against the New York Yankees or next week's crosstown games with the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field are helping to rebuild.
    JOHN STARKS | Staff Photographer

 
 

Cubs fans, it seems, have finally had enough.

Not from their team's eternally forgivable performance on the field, but rather high ticket prices and sales policies of recent years.

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Local ticket resale companies are reporting a historic decline in demand that not even the weekend series against the New York Yankees or next week's crosstown games with the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field are helping to rebuild.

"People are just not interested like they were," said Max Waisvisz, owner of Chicago-based Gold Coast Tickets. "It's too-high ticket pricing and fans not getting value for their money. We thought it was invincible. We were wrong."

Demand for baseball is generally down, Waisvisz added, but the White Sox policies are a bit kinder to their fans and season-ticket holders. The Cubs, on the other hand, are alienating their season-ticket holders by offering deep discounts on individual games, he said.

Cubs officials did not respond to a request for comment.

Demand, in fact, has grown greater for the limited number of rooftop seats than within the friendly confines themselves, Waisvisz added.

Chris Volante, a sales representative for Oak Forest-based ACheapSeat.com, agreed that the two high-profile series which start Friday have provided no relief in an abysmal season.

And he doubts the rare weekday scheduling for the Cubs-Sox rivalry had anything to do with that.

"I've never noticed the day of the week having an effect on those ticket sales," Volante said. "They either want to see it or they don't."

Waisvisz said he was forced to try to sell Cubs tickets below face value earlier this season, and is devastated that the upcoming games aren't providing the upswing he'd been counting on.

"These are the games that were supposed to help me out when I was eating all those tickets in April and May," he said.

Waisvisz believes the weekday scheduling of the Cubs-Sox series is depressing sales this year. Even the Yankees coming to Wrigley Field aren't providing an adequate replacement.

"That whole nostalgia thing is over," he said. "They did it once already in 2003."

Joellen Ferrer, public relations manager for StubHub.com, said she couldn't discuss specific numbers due to the company's contractual agreement with Major League Baseball. But she said the Cubs continue to be one of StubHub's top-selling teams, and both the upcoming Yankees series and the early July series against the White Sox are the club's top-selling home series of the year.

The Yankees are almost always a big draw in every National League market where they rarely play, she added.

Ferrer believes StubHub's system allowing buying and selling could be one reason it's having a different experience than other companies.

But Waisvisz said baseball demand is down overall, due in part to the lingering economic downturn and most people's need to be more careful with their spending.

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