View From The Bleachers

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November 2011

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COMMENTS

To Buy or Not To Buy

Written by , Posted in General

I have a problem.  It’s not a big problem.  It’s not even a real problem–more of a quandary.  But there’s a time limit on this quandary, and you good people might be able to help me make my decision.  Or at the very least, liven-up the decision-making process.

My conundrum: should I buy Cubs season tickets?  (Remember, not a real problem.)

Let’s begin with a little history.  I don’t remember when I first heard about the Cubs’ season ticket waiting list, but I’m pretty sure I originally signed up well over ten years ago.  I do know that it was so long ago the email address I used at the time–my college email address–is no longer even active.  The Cubs ticket office had to contact me by phone to get a new email address (and I’m not entirely sure how they got my current phone number, but that’s for another time).

In fact, it was so long ago that I had forgotten I had signed up at all, and signed up again years later with a different email address.  And if I log in to the Cubs’ wait list page with that second, current email account, there are more than 46,000 people in front of me in line.  Which means that if I pass on this current opportunity, more people than can fit inside Wrigley Field would either need to purchase and then surrender their season tickets or pass them up altogether before I’d have another chance to buy them myself.  When you add in all the current season ticket owners, and factor in that most people aren’t simply one-year-and-done when purchasing season tickets, it’s entirely possible that I could wait another decade before I make it to the front of the line.  And not altogether impossible that the opportunity might never come up again.

Now if I still lived in Chicago, there’d be no question about it.  But I live in Los Angeles.

(Like I said–not a real problem, but a significant quandary nonetheless.)

You see, if these were tickets I could use every day, or if I could split them with friends and attend even half or so of the Cubs’ home games, I’d have no qualms about buying them.  But if I plunk down the necessary cash for season tickets now, I’ll do it knowing that I can probably only hope for one or two weekend trips back to Chicago, at the very best.  I’ll wind up selling the vast majority of these tickets on StubHub.

And while getting some of that money back does make the initial investment a little easier to swallow, it also takes some of the shine off the purchase in the first place.

Now there is a chance that the Cubs could return to being relatively competitive next season, that tickets to Wrigley would once again be in demand, and that I could make back most of my money.  Possibly even enough of a profit to help pay for those trips back to Chicago.  But that’s probably wishful thinking, and it’s more likely I’d struggle to break even on the tickets I can’t use.

That’s most of the downside, as I see it.

The upside?  The Cubs will eventually be competitive again.  They’ll even get back to the postseason.  And as a season ticket holder, I’d have the first shot to buy playoff tickets.  And depending on how long I could keep buying the seats, I would potentially be guaranteed a seat in the bleachers when the Cubs finally return to the World Series.

Of course, I could also save all the season ticket money from now until then and have plenty of spare cash to buy scalped playoff seats on StubHub (possibly from some enterprising season ticket holder).

And sure, that’s a fine fall-back plan.  Heck, that’s been my primary plan for a while now.  But today, I have a chance to aim a little higher.  I have a chance to own a little piece of Wrigley Field.  (Probably a couple seats in the bleachers, because really, why bother sitting anywhere else?  Also, the closest seats are crazy expensive.)

For the moment, I have a chance to be a Cubs season ticket holder.

What would you do?

  • Josh

    Oof that’s a tough predicament.

    A few years ago I had the opportunity to buy Bills season tickets,while living in Boston, is a bit of a drive 8 times a fall.

    An LA to Chicago is even more expensive of an investment.

    I’ve known people that have done it for a variety of teams, but you have to go in with the thinking that it’s inevitable that you’ll lose money with travel and re-selling tickets.

    It’s certainly worth it once it gets to the point where the Cubs are making the postseason consistently. But if they don’t do that soon and you can’t afford seasons any longer, it might be a waste.

  • Jeremy W.

    Listen to the way this sounds;

    “Hi, my name is Jeremiah Johnson. I am a season ticket holder for the Chicago Cubs.”

    That’s rare air my friend, of course you have to do it! (and I’ll buy a few of them off of you when I travel to Chicago on occasion).

  • CubbieDude

    JJ,
    I’ll buy a couple of ’em off you, too. Wait,what?
    They’re in the bleachers?
    Can’t see that far any more. Sorry. Count me out.

  • How many seats can you get, and where, precisely are they?

  • Dan

    I’m totally disabled and in a wheelchair. As you can guess that makes me on a tight budget. I can only say being able to even afford to consider getting season tickets period is something to be proud of but affording season tickets and be that far away should be an honor itself. You have a privilege to buy season tickets and I wouldn’t pass it up if it was affordable. Just to say I’m a Cubs season ticket holder period I’d buy them. You even considering it you in the end know you want them so just do it.

  • Chuck

    If you think that you can recoup most of your money by reselling the tickets and you won’t miss the money if you don’t, go for it.
    I don’t like telling people what they should or should not do with their money. Doubly so if the money is discretionary. It is your money. You earned it. Do with it what you please. Just make sure The Boss (your wife, if applicable) is OK with it. If The Boss ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

  • Don

    What would I do if I had a chance for Cubs’ season tickets?

    I’d save my money and stay a Cardinals fan.

  • If you can weather the financial burden for a couple of years you will probably be fine in the long run in trying to get rid of the tickets.

    But demand is still down this year even with the Theo bump. The Cubs Convention is not sold out and that is a pretty good indicator of early demand levels. At the very least, people aren’t going to rush out to StubHub to buy up tickets right away. If they stumble and go along in a mediocre fashion as I expect they probably will without extreme luck, you are going to get stuck with a lot of tickets or selling them for way less than face value.

    Personally, I’d rather save the money and use it if and when they actually have playoff games to purchase if I couldn’t enjoy the perks of going to whatever games in the season I wanted to. But that’s just me.

  • Jedi

    @Don: http://diehardcardsfan.com/Home.php

    “What would I do if I had a chance for Cubs’ season tickets?”…we don’t negotiate with terrorists.

  • Doc Raker

    Sounds like a financial loser. If you have the discretionary money and don’t mind losing money then go ahead. I would not but them and just save my money for the World Series. You can spend 10K on a world series ticket and still come out ahead most probably.

  • Chuck

    GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
    CYCLONES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • BLPCB

    Depends what you think the return you can get on your investment is. Lots of people kept their Bulls season tickets after the Jordan era, and those that still have them are reaping huge rewards again with Rose and gang. Do you think you are going to move back to Chi at some point in your life? Me personally I would buy them, because down the road you are going to make a windfall. You’ll have to take a bite for a couple of years, but it will be worth it in 10 years. I would even be willing to buy some off you, possibly.

  • Doc Raker

    Call a local ticket broker. Ask him what he would pay for them, probably under face value. That will give you an idea of your average sale. The big markup game will be a small percentage of your sales.

  • Lando87

    I feel bad encouraging anyone to splurge on anything in today’s world, but if the opportunity won’t present itself for over a decade maybe you should. You may take a hit this year, but the Cubs are one of the best attended teams even when we stink, and things are going to only go up from here. Plus I do think you could get rid of a lot of the tickets here at VFTB, I’m definitely planning on going to a couple games this year for example…

  • Eddie Von White

    Buy the tickets.

  • big jake2000

    I live in Florida kept my Bears tickets for last 10 years have’nt been to a game in years. Possible to make an obscene amount of money

  • Ben

    Talk about losing credibility…

    “Probably a couple seats in the bleachers, because really, why bother sitting anywhere else?”

    Really?

    There’s a reason scouts sit near home plate – it’s the best place to actually observe the game. If alcohol and exposed female flesh are more important to you, by all means sit in the bleachers…

  • Eddie Von White

    There is nothing worse than watching a game through chicken wire fencing. There is no place like the bleachers.

  • BLPCB

    If alcohol and exposed female flesh are more important to you, by all means sit in the bleachers…

    That’s the best part about sitting in the bleachers. Getting fucked up and seeing all the hot girls. Seeing (and working with) all the hot girls is also the best part about lifeguarding.

  • BLPCB

    I posted that comment on facebook, and I already have several likes on it. All the hot girls lifeguard. The ugly ones flip burgers or work at Domino’s.

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    big jake – Tell me more.

    Ben – Thanks for assuming I have some credibility to begin with. I didn’t include it in the post above, but I don’t have the option to get seats just anywhere I want in the park. I think that privilege is reserved for current season ticket holders. In short, my options are limited to the upper and lower reserved areas, and of course the bleachers. We can talk seating preferences some other time–for now understand that represents the best option, especially if I’m hoping to re-sell most of my tickets.

  • Eddie Von White

    I guess it could be worse – watching a game around a post. Those tiny TV’s don’t cut it either.