Cubs eliminate fees on new mini-plans

CHICAGO -- Fresh off a 101-loss season, the Chicago Cubs are making some big changes.

That’s right, they’re eliminating service charges for new mini-plans.

What, you were expecting an Alfonso Soriano trade? A promise of more than 61 wins?

It’s a decent deal for fans, actually. Service fees would’ve been as high as $40 for the six- and nine-game plans that go on sale Jan. 23, said Colin Faulkner, vice president of ticket sales and service.

“I don’t know why fans would wait for the on-sale date at this point,” Faulkner said. “If they’re planning on going to six or nine games, the ‘no service fees’ is pretty compelling.”

There it is. The Cubs want to move inventory before all of their single-game tickets go on sale March 8. In previous years, the Cubs sold out single-game tickets on the day they went on sale. Those days are long gone.

Last year, the Cubs drew 2,882,756 fans, their first time under 3 million since 2003. That’s a decrease of 135,210 from the previous year, and 417,444 since setting a franchise-record for attendance in 2008, back when the Cubs won 97 games and made the playoffs.

Now they’re trying to bring those customers back one mini-plan at a time.

The mini-plan choices have definitely improved. The nine-game plans have 50 games to choose from, many of them desirable dates, and start at $144.48, including the 12 percent amusement tax.

Prices start at $129.92 for the six-game plans. Both plans give fans the option to buy seats in terrace reserved, bleachers and throughout the upper deck.

The six-game packs are “tailored to different fan interests,” including a bobblehead pack, which has four bobblehead giveaways, and the “Topps Baseball Card” pack.

“We’ve worked with Topps to create a brand-new set of 82 cards with Cubs players in a year they didn’t exist,” Faulkner said. “Like a Starlin Castro 1987 Topps card. We’ll have four different sets for four different dates. The Topps pack has all of those dates.”

Season ticket holders will get the entire Topps set with their 2013 orders, and no other teams will have a Topps set made, according to the Cubs. The Cubs have already sold 24,000 season tickets, according to a source, roughly the same amount they sold in 2012.

Other plans are centered around Friday games, “family Sunday” plans and a "prime plan" for interleague and rivalry games for those fans who actually care about the games.

Bruce Levine contributed to this report.