The Cubs are already looking forward to the buzz Theo Epstein will bring to their franchise and what that could mean at the box office.
The timing happened to work out perfectly. Renewal forms were already scheduled to be sent out to season-ticket holders on Friday, just as team executives were finalizing the details that will bring Epstein to the North Side.
The Cubs announced Friday that prices for season tickets will be essentially flat or reduced when compared to 2011. Season-ticket holders will also get a break, paying on average $1-to-$2 less than what it costs for individual-game tickets in the same location.
The Cubs are now requiring a 10 percent deposit on season tickets in November, with the remaining balance due in January. In exchange, fans will be able to visit Wrigley Field and personally pick out a new location if they’re looking to change seats.
Perhaps sensing how it looks on television, management has responded to the empty seats seen across the bleachers last season.
The Cubs say that season tickets in the bleachers are decreasing on average by 14.3 percent per ticket. Prices for individual games will drop 10.3 percent on average next season. But it will be more expensive than last year to sit there for the 13 “marquee” games.
The Cubs did not add another pricing tier for 2012. Marquee remains the most expensive designation, which is reserved for: Opening Day; weekend series with the White Sox, Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals; and high-traffic Saturdays in the summer against the Houston Astros, Arizona Diamondbacks and Cincinnati Reds.
The Cubs say season tickets within the seating bowl will remain flat compared to last year.
Individual tickets depend on the game category, and it’s a wide range. When the 12 percent amusement tax is factored in, it will cost around $128 for an infield club box seat on a marquee day. It’s only about $9 to get an upper deck reserved outfield seat for a “bronze” game.
The general manager definitely can’t take credit for this streak, but the Red Sox counted their 700th consecutive sellout at Fenway Park last month, a reflection of the winning teams assembled by Epstein.
In the months ahead, we’ll find out what a new direction means at Wrigley Field.