By Bruce Levine-
(CBS) The Cubs have raised ticket prices on the most sought-after seats at Wrigley Field for the 2015 season. Despite a late-season surge, the Cubs have languished in last place all season and may finish the year with their third last place team in a row.
Raising premium ticket prices an average of 6.3 percent means that the average season club box seat will go up about $500 over the invoice price from 2014. The business office contends this money will be used for the baseball department to add better players next year and into the future.
The team has added a new feature, allowing season-ticket holders to pay in four segments for the first time. That perk is tempered by the fact that season ticket holders must pay at least 10 percent of their total amount due by this Oct. 13 — which is roughly a month earlier than ever — or forfeit their claim to the present location they control.
Major League Baseball’s deal with the online ticket reselling agency Stub Hub allows Cubs season-ticket holders to sell their tickets on the secondary market for face or a lesser value. The team took away around 1,000 controlled season tickets two years ago for protection of the season-ticket holder’s credibility, as well as weeding out brokers who were selling their seats on a daily basis.
The Cubs have the third-highest priced ticket average in baseball ($44 as the median price). The raised ticket prices for next season only applies to 20 percent of the seats; 80 percent of the seats will have a flat price or in some cases a slight decrease in 2015.
Vice president of ticket services and corporate sales Colin Faulkner said the team projects the best seats in the ballpark to be basically be legal tender on the secondary market when the team is playing well.
“We want season-ticket holders to be able to sell their tickets,” he said. “We are OK with season-ticket holders making a profit on their tickets. We have to look at the data and make sure we are making intelligent decisions, so we are looking at all the different revenue options and putting it back into our first goal to win a World Series and preserve Wrigley Field.”
The Cubs will have $30 million coming off the books from the 2014 player payroll. They began the 2014 season with a $ 92 million payroll, which put them roughly in the middle of the 30-team pack.
The Cubs will launch the first phase of the $300-million ballpark restoration on Sept. 25 after the team completes its 2014 home schedule.The business office projected total ticket sales at $2.45 million before the season. The Cubs will outdraw their projection by between 125,000 and 150,000 tickets sold.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.