A rainy day at Wrigley. (Tribune file photo)
Jon Greenberg of ESPN wrote a provocative column about how small the fan base for the Cubs is. That might be hard to believe for Wrigleyville residents who deal with all the traffic and chaos surrounding the park. Do you agree with his assessment? Let us know in the comments!
BREAKING NEWS: The biggest draw for the Chicago Cubs will always be Wrigley Field.
I know this. You know this. The Cubs know this. The seagulls know this.
The Cubs could field a modern-day equivalent to Murderers’ Row and 37 percent of the crowd wouldn’t be able to name three players on the field without a scorecard, iPhone app and George Will whispering in their ear.
I say 37 percent because that’s the magic number for the Cubs. According to the Cubs’ marketing studies, that chunk of their crowd is from out of state, mostly tourists. The Cubs were averaging 36,853 fans heading into Friday’s game, so that’s a pretty big chunk of out-of-state fans.
In one sense, it proves what a tourist draw Wrigley Field is (which is why the Cubs want city tax money to subsidize renovations), but that study also proves the point of Cubs detractors who argue that a big chunk of the fan base is made up of tourists and dilettantes, people with no real vested interest in the team.
But even with a steady flow of Iowans and Texans, a bad team and high ticket prices almost assures thousands of empty seats most days — the team is down 1,868 fewer fans per game than last year, and if that holds up, it means more than a 3,600 per-game decrease from 2009.
Read more: Empty feeling: espnchicago.com