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Saturday, December 7

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Cubs Fri Mar 01 2013

Cubs Deal With StubHub Is Hypocritical

Cubs_200.pngFor 16 months, the Cubs front office has done a masterful job convincing the fan base that bottoming out for a few seasons was the best way to transform the team into contenders year after year. Money that would typically be spent tweaking the team via free agency was going to be poured into the draft and player development.

The obvious ramification of that strategy is the team is going to be bad. Fine -- whatever will bring a championship to a fan base starving for one --most people are on board with it. But the unintended consequence of having bad players is that fans will get disinterested until the team is competitive again. During that time, ticket prices are going to fall quite extensively. It got to a point last year where you could snag a one dollar ticket to a game via StubHub (which ended up being around four of five bucks after fees).

The organization was not pleased -- to a point where it didn't renew an agreement with the ticket reselling website while nearly every other Major League Baseball team did. The Cubs wouldn't sign on unless some sort of price floor (among numerous gripes) was installed so people didn't shy away from the walkup ticket window. As you can imagine, an agreement was quickly reached, and little of it is good for the fan.

Starting on Opening Day, the minimum listing for Cubs tickets will be three dollars, along with a two dollar delivery fee and a 10 percent service fee up front. The lowest prices fans will now encounter will be $5.30 (though no fees will be tacked on above the list price - a rare benefit). As for the seller, they get charged the usual $1.50 MLB transfer fee plus the 15 percent StubHub cut. Worst of all, tickets to see the Cubs at Wrigley Field will end six hours before game time. That means you'll need to set the alarm clock and get your tickets bought before 7:20am for a typical 1:20pm matinee, or just after 1pm for a night game at the usual start time.

City dwellers that don't have plans on a warm spring or summer night will no longer be able to buy cheap, market priced tickets in the mid to late afternoon from a handy website "where fans buy and sell tickets." Instead, they'll either have to buy horribly overpriced tickets from the box office, or risk dealing with scalpers outside the stadium.

When the players are bad, the organization should be doing everything in its power to get people into the ballpark. If a few dollars have to be sacrificed in the process, so be it. An empty seat in a stadium is like an empty seat on a plane. You're still paying all your workers the same price for being there; why not pay them to serve more people?

Fans will be far more willing to pay the ridiculously high prices if they're treated well during the rough times. Bottom out on your own dime, Theo.

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Graham / March 2, 2013 9:15 AM

Great post. We also feel this deal isn't great for the fans.

For game day ticket sales, check out SeatSync. We're a Chicago-based startup focused on changing the ticket resale market.

SeatSync is a free mobile app that helps facilitate in-person transactions between fans. View closest sellers on a map, chat within the app, and buy from sellers with a history of positive transactions with our user rating system.

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