Cubs Offseason Leads to High Expectations – and Ticket Prices – in 2015  

The Chicago Cubs are coming off of a disappointing 2014 season where they went 73-89 in general manager Theo Epstein’s third season leading the club. They have not won a World Series since 1908, and have generally been uncompetitive for much of the past decade (and even longer). But the tide, and expectations, seems to have turned after a very active offseason that saw them bolster their coaching staff, pitching staff, batting order, bullpen and depth.

The Cubs did surprisingly go 41-40 at home last season, so they did provide some exciting times for the home fans. Based on their improvements, in addition to the young core they have already built, those exciting times will be much more prevalent in 2015. The Cubs hired the very successful and well-respected former Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon at the beginning of the offseason, and followed that up by signing former Red Sox ace Jon Lester, back end rotation arm Jason Hammel, catcher Miguel Montero, and outfielder Chris Denorfia. Young touted prospects Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler, Addison Russell and Javier Baez will show improvement and contributions to the big league club, and Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro will continue their All-Star level play.

The heightened expectations have led to an increase in prices, as games average $149 per game, with a home high of $265 on average for Opening Day tickets for the Cubs vs. Cardinals. Below are the five most expensive games of the season for the Cubs at Wrigley Field, with games against their two main rivals detailed in a bit more depth.

04/05/15 vs. St. Louis Cardinals | Average Price: $249 | Get-in Price: $96

The Cubs will open the season at home against their hated Central Division rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals are coming off yet another division title and a 90-win season to boot. They have been playoff stalwarts and frequent World Series participants in the past decade-plus, and will not relinquish their place atop the division to the upstart Cubs quietly. This game, while just one of 162, can set the tone for how these teams will approach their season series in 2015. Adam Wainwright, Cardinals ace and 20-game winner, will likely face Lester on Opening Day, helping to prop up already robust ticket prices to nearly $100 just to get in to Wrigley Field.

07/10/15 vs. Chicago White Sox | Average Price: $235 | Get-in Price: $54

The White Sox joined the Cubs as one of the most active teams in free agency this offseason, adding outfielder Melky Cabrera, former Cubs star Jeff Samardzija, first baseman Adam LaRoche, and bullpen aces Zach Duke and David Robertson. They join unanimous AL Rookie of the Year Jose Abreu, who finished fourth in the MVP voting in 2014 with a .317 batting average, 36 home runs and 107 runs batted in.

The July cross-town series will be played at historic Wrigley Field and these teams will meet again in August at US Cellular Field as the White Sox play host to the Cubs. Prices for the games at US Cellular actually have higher average prices than the games at Wrigley, which illustrates just how in-demand tickets for Cubs vs. White Sox games are to Chicago baseball fans.

Date Opponent Average Price Get-in Price
4/5/15 St. Louis Cardinals $249 $96 BUY
7/10/15 Chicago White Sox $235 $54 BUY
8/8/15 San Francisco Giants $230 $37 BUY
7/11/15 Chicago White Sox $228 $56 BUY
7/12/15 Chicago White Sox $216 $53 BUY

 

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