The Chicago Cubs are raising ticket prices in three popular sections next season, which will result in a 2 percent average ticket increase, according to the team.
Cubs vice president of sales and partnerships Colin Faulker said, "80 percent of our season ticket invoices will stay flat or go down."
For the 2014 season, the Cubs' average ticket price was $44.16, according to Team Marketing Report's Fan Cost Index, but that figure didn't include club box infield seats, which the Cubs and Team Marketing Report consider "premium" seats. That section is one of the three seeing an increase.
Club box infield seats are going up from $98.26 to $104.50, field box infield seats are going from $80.53 to $84.47 and a new "terrace preferred" section, made up of the first seven rows of terrace reserved, are going from $35.78 to $39.32. That makes up about 20 percent of the park.
The Cubs haven't raised ticket prices since doing so in the Ricketts family's first season as owners in 2010, and with good reason. The Cubs lost 288 games in the past three seasons and have seen attendance fall from 3,168,859 in 2009 to 2,642,682 in 2013. This season, the Cubs are averaging 33,728, down 558 fans per game from this point last season, according to Baseball Reference.
The Cubs have sent out invoices and have created an online hub for season ticket holders to renew, and if they choose, relocate their seats.
Faulkner said internal data shows that tickets in the three increased sections have seen an "uptick" in secondary market data. That means season ticket holders are getting more money for their seats, which indicates an increase in demand.
"That's a really interesting one," Faulkner said. "We looked at that data, and really the seats in rows 7-13 are totally different from rows 14-23. A guy in row 23 and a guy in row 7 are going to notice those are not the same seat. We felt we needed to create two different price scales here."
Faulkner said the Cubs say an increase in renewal rates last season and their annual survey shows a similar trend coming for 2015. He added that the "show-up rate" is percentage points higher this year than last year, another internal indicator for fan optimism.
"Internally we're optimistic for the future and our plan for sustained success," Faulkner said. "I think our fans are optimistic that the team has shown tangible progress on and off the field, and our fans responding to it positively."
While invoices are being received now, the first payment isn't due until Oct. 13. Fans have a choice of paying 10 percent then and 90 percent on Jan. 13, or making four auto-drafted monthly payments of 25 percent.
If you pay by check, you get an autographed Javier Baez baseball.