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SBJ/April 12 - 18, 2004/Facilities
Field-level thrills and no frills
Published April 12, 2004
Work continued recently on installation of the seats, to be ready for today’s home opener.
The three rows of 213 dugout seats set to debut today at Wrigley Field in Chicago have no amenities included. The high-end price of $250 makes those seats the costliest ticket in Major League Baseball to exclude the perks common with premium seating at other MLB facilities.
The tickets cost $250 for Opening Day and 38 other premium dates designated by the Cubs for the 2004 season. The seats are $100 for 37 regular dates and $50 for five weekday games in April and May.
A Cubs official said the seats may come with extras in the future but a tight schedule prevented such a program this year.
The lack of amenities didn’t dissuade rabid fans from registering on the Cubs’ Web site for the chance to buy up to four dugout seats to one game. Going online was the only way they could obtain those tickets.
Frank Maloney, Cubs director of ticket operations, said 131,000 people registered during a three-day period from March 31-April 2, the dates the Cubs set aside to determine the pool of qualified fans to buy about 17,000 available tickets. “My guess was that there would be 50,000,” he said.
The winners were selected at random and notified by e-mail April 4.
Bill Dorsey, executive director for the Association of Luxury Suite Directors, said the Cubs, Boston Red Sox and Green Bay Packers are the three major league franchises that are able to sell tickets regardless of the cost and amenities.
“In some cases, price isn’t that much of an issue,” he said. “There are certain situations where you can throw out all the rules. Wrigley Field is one of them.”
For the Cubs, the new seats amount to $2.9 million a year in ticket revenue.
Dugout seat holders get no added conveniences, such as waitservice or access to exclusive areas, Maloney said. He said the Cubs decided to forgo amenities for those seats this year because the team didn’t get approval from the city to install them until February, leaving officials with little time to coordinate a marketing plan.
Tribune Co. owns the Cubs and Wrigley Field, but now that certain areas of the ballpark are considered historical landmarks, the city must sign off on facility improvements.
“In the future, those seats may include other things,” Maloney said, and may be sold as season tickets.