Monday, March 07, 2011

Upgrading Your Box

Things just keep getting tougher for the Ricketts. Not only do they have a hand out to the state for funds to fix up Wrigley Field, but they also are asking their primary customers to shell out more bucks as well. What do the season ticket holdsrs have to do now? Nothing. They aren't the main customers.

The big kahunas for the Cubs are the skybox owners. Why? They are the only people in the park with multi-year contracts for tickets. They also have the deepest pockets.

While the Cubs can only have so much certainty that some shlub will fork over a few thousand dollars to sit in the bleachers every day, there's always the chance that said shlub could lose his job and not be able to afford the luxury that is Major League Baseball tickets.

The better bet is to get a good corporation to sign a three or five year contract to take not only more tickets than the shlub (say 15 per game versus the shlub's 2), but to pay premium rent for the skybox itself. The best part of this deal is that the Cubs don't have to have Tom Ricketts send an apology letter to the skybox lessors every year because these companies are in the box for the long haul.

How much are the boxes? Well, according to one suite holder, "...who asked not to be identified, said his company pays in the neighborhood of $200,000 for the 15-person suite. 'And that doesn't include food,' he said."

What's the problem now? It seems some of the suites have become a little shabby. One renter asked if they could do some upgrades themselves and were granted permission. The Cubs saw the improvements and figured they would ask everyone else if they would like an upgrade too, so long as the Cubs don't pay for it.

It's understandable that the Cubs don't want to spend their own money on upgrades if the State of Illinois might soon decide to pay for it. But with a 5th place finish last year, season ticket renewal rates down, and Opening Day not yet sold out (you can get 4 seats together in section 38 as of this writing), shouldn't the Cubs be giving their best customers something rather than asking for donations?

Very interesting!
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