BOB:  Cubs tickets and a McCourt Update

Cubs let fans buy tickets early…for a price

The Chicago Cubs have teamed up with MasterCard for a very interesting promotion. Prior to tickets being sold to the general public at face value, they’ll be selling tickets to the general public earlier at a premium. They’ll be marking single-game tickets up by 20 percent but that premium drops to 15 percent if you use your MasterCard. The promotion is being billed as the MasterCard First Chance Presale.

This is also an obvious attempt by the Cubs to chew into the resale ticket market. I know the ticket resale business was huge a couple of years ago and while I’m sure it’s regional, I know they’re still around. Teams have made attempts to get in on the game with varying results and this is just one more stab. The Cubs can get away with it because of the popularity of their team and their ballpark. I also know a lot of the teams have partnered with companies like Stubhub to provide fans a way to sell their tickets (while the team gets a piece of the pie).

McCourt divorce rundown

With most teams on the eve of Spring Training, the Los Angeles Dodgers are in a precarious position. There’s a battle for the team that’s brewing in the background since the owner, Frank McCourt, and his wife Jamie, filed for divorce. There hasn’t been a lot of solid news since, but there has been some public squabbling. Jamie McCourt’s lawyer, Bert Fields, intimated his client would spend more on the team and that some of the money Frank pulled out of the team could have went toward pitching. It looks like Jamie is going to try to buy the team, but she’s just looking to buy something that’s not for sale.

Everything hinges on whether a postnuptial agreement that was signed more than five years ago holds up in court. The postnup had Jamie giving up control of the team in the event of a divorce while Jamie would get the real estate empire. Jamie is saying she was coerced into signing the agreement and she says she’s still co-owner of the Dodgers. We’ll just have to wait for the courts to decide.

Citi Field gets a face lift

While the dimensions at Citi Field aren’t set to be altered, it was decided last week that the New York Mets would lower the centerfield wall just in front of the Home Run Apple. Previously 16 feet, the wall be lowered to eight. This is a pretty minor move and the speculation is that there was concern about the Mets’ league low 95 home runs in 2009. While the ballpark is spacious, five other National League parks had fewer long balls hit in them last season. Part of the problem is the Mets lineup which was dead last in road home runs as well.

Kansas City mayor looks to cut stadium funding

Many municipalities are tightening their belts because of big drops in their tax base. Kansas City appears to be no exception and the mayor of the city announced that he’ll look to cut $2 million from the Truman Sports Complex, an entity that includes Kauffman Stadium, the home of the Kansas City Royals. The matter still has to be taken up by the city council, but the mayor wants to push the money toward things such as street maintenance and trash collection.

Opponents of the cuts noted that the renovation at Kauffman Stadium and Arrowhead Stadium have produced jobs and tax revenues far in excess of the investment the city is making. Now we’ll have to see which way the politicians lean when they vote on the budget in late March.

New year, new looks

Ben Hill’s latest is on all of the changes the minor league teams have made throughout the offseason with regard to logos and uniforms. He does a nice job of splitting the piece between what’s brand new and who’s just making some minor changes. There’s also a cool list of which teams are in the top 25 as far as headwear sales. They’re mostly Triple-A teams, which makes sense. He also has a section on which teams are hosting their respective All-Star games and what they’re doing as far as logos.

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Regarding the Cubs, it is a little known fact that the Cubs actually own and operate ticket brokerages outside the stadium that sell their own tickets above face value.  The Cubs were not trying to cut into the resale market, they run that market.  This was just an opportunity to get even more money from Opening Day tickets as well as the STL, CWS, and other interleague games without looking completely greedy.  Smart move, but as a fan…they better put that money into the team in 2011, not just into the Wrigley Field improvements going on now.  There is no… Read more »