What Price Fandom?

In today’s Chicago Sun-Times, columnist Mark Brown reveals that the Cubs are letting fans buy tickets before this Friday’s official sale date…if they pay a 20 percent premium on their sale. This is in addition to the team owning their own ticket-scalping service.

As Brown concludes:

This is the conundrum in which the Cubs always find themselves: Their tickets are worth more than they can get away with charging for them from a public relations standpoint, a fact proved out by the prices those tickets fetch on the secondary market.

And so the Cubs keep looking for wrinkles to charge their fans more without coming right out and admitting that’s what they’re doing.

The danger is that just because some people are willing to pay the extra money doesn’t mean the team isn’t alienating a part of its fan base that already believes it’s being priced out of the historic ballpark.

The Cubs can charge what they want for tickets (and I plan on buying some this Friday). But fandom is an irrational act, and I wonder how much people are willing to pay before deciding they can do without–especially when there are 81 home games, times are tough, and your team is known for being “lovable losers.”