In a move being described as a means to ensure fans are the ones purchasing and using their season tickets, the Chicago Cubs have announced that the club will be revoking nearly 1,000 season tickets from about 40 customers following allegations that those individuals were scalping their tickets.
With a waiting list of nearly 115,000, Chicago Cubs season tickets remain some of the most sought after tickets, despite the team’s failure to win a World Series since 1908 and the team’s dismal finish to the 2012 baseball season, which saw the Cubs possess the second worst record in all of baseball. The Cubs may be known as the “Loveable Losers,” but tickets to individual games routinely sell out and are routinely resold on the secondary market.
According to the Cubs, the club worked alongside “third party sources” to determine which ticket holders purchased tickets in bulk with the sole intention of reselling the tickets for profit. ESPN reported that in letters sent to the 40 ticket holders, Chicago Cubs Vice President Julian Green stated that the decision to revoke the season tickets was “about getting as many season tickets in the hands of fans that are interested in and intend to enjoy Cubs baseball at Wrigley Field.”
As with many season ticket packages, the Chicago Cubs, as the ticket sellers, hold the right to revoke the tickets. Language within the terms of the season ticket deal states that season tickets “are a revocable license granted on a yearly basis at the sole discretion of the team.” Thus, the Cubs have the right to revoke the license should the club deem the purchaser no longer fits within the club’s guidelines.
While this move by the Cubs may not seem to be particularly egregious, there are some who feel that this latest action by the club is simply a sign of a larger disconnect between the Cubs organization and the average ticket buyer. Steve Rosenbloom, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune, took to the pages of the paper to decry this latest announcement as “sanctimonious tripe.”
Rosenbloom argues within his article that the Cubs’ choice to revoke the season tickets from the 40 customers is simply an attempt to prevent the resale of tickets through non-sanctioned means, as well as a decision driven by the Cubs wanting to prevent outside businesses from profiting off the club’s product. The Cubs have dealt with previous allegations that the club resells unsold tickets in their possession through secondary ticketing sites, sometimes at as much as five times above face value.
As the deal between StubHub.com and Major League Baseball is set to expire after this season, and MLB teams are looking to be prepared for whatever the future will bring with regard to secondary ticketing within baseball. It is anticipated that this move by the Cubs will eventually lead to other sports teams following suit and cracking down on those season ticket holders who routinely resell tickets through non-sanctioned ticketing sources.
ESPN is reporting that other “large market teams” are already crafting plans to take action to purge brokers from their season ticket holder ranks. What this means for secondary resale within baseball is currently unclear, but it is certain that teams are hoping to gain more control over who sells their tickets and where.