Renewed Interest in Rivalry between Cubs and White Sox
With the Crosstown Classic fast approaching, the Cubs’ resurgence is reversing a recent downward trend in Chicago’s enthusiasm about baseball, as well as the Sox-Cubs rivalry in particular.
Tickets sold on the secondary market to the upcoming Cubs-White Sox games at U.S. Cellular are averaging $77, while tickets to the mid-August series at Wrigley are averaging $96. Last year, on average, a Crosstown Classic ticket at U.S. Cellular was $31 more expensive than a ticket to the series at Wrigley (see chart below). Luckily, differences in weekend versus weekday prices do not notably contaminate our data; this year, both Cubs-White Sox series will take place over a weekend, whereas each 2013 and 2014 game between the two was played on a weekday.
Cubs-White Sox Tickets at Wrigley Field
Rivalries within the same city typically have one team that vastly outperforms the other in average ticket prices. Every year since 2011, Subway Series games at Citi Field have been approximately $30 more expensive than the same games at Yankee Stadium. Likewise, Dodgers-Angels games have consistently been approximately $20 more expensive in Angel Stadium than in Dodger Stadium since 2011. A swing in prices like we’re seeing in Chicago is relatively rare and points to the excitement surrounding the Cubs’ hot start.
This season, the Cubs have the eighth most expensive ticket in baseball, with tickets sold on the secondary market averaging $52. With the team vying for a playoff position for the first time in several years – they haven’t finished better than 15 games back in the NL Central since 2009 – ticket prices are slowly bouncing back after bottoming out at $45 in 2013.
Meanwhile, on the South Side, the White Sox have the sixth cheapest tickets in baseball, with an average price of $37 on the secondary market. This represents a substantial drop from last year’s average of $51 through July 8.
Cubs-White Sox Tickets at US Cellular
This year’s two Cubs-White Sox series have already combined to gross an estimated $2.8 million on the secondary market, which is more than the previous four series combined. Specifically, last year’s two series grossed an estimated total of $1.4 million, and 2013’s two series grossed an estimated total of $1.2 million. This means that a considerably higher amount of fans are buying and selling tickets to this year’s Crosstown Classic games than in previous years. Of course, at least some of this increased activity is driven by the fact that both of this year’s series take place over a weekend, where the 2013 and 2014 series all occurred on weekdays.
This year’s series at the Cell is on pace to be the White Sox’s most expensive average ticket this season at $77. Their next most expensive series, a late August set against the Red Sox, is currently averaging $63 on the secondary market. Likewise, we estimate that the Sox-Cubs series at Wrigley in August will be the Cubs’ most expensive average ticket of the season at $96. Their next most expensive series, an early August set against the Giants, has sold tickets on the secondary market at $84 on average.