The Chicago Cubs will draw 3 million fans for the eighth straight season, according to a team source, yet the team will lower prices on bleacher seats in 2012.
The Cubs have sold just over 2.8 million tickets, which is about 500 fewer per game than in 2010. There are six home games remaining. The slight erosion has been most apparent in the bleachers over the last couple of years.
The team is concerned about a perception of half-empty bleachers on television during games early in the season -- because of weather, and late in the season if the team is out of contention. So ownership plans to lower prices on bleacher seats in 2012.
Demand for Cubs tickets still is extremely high as the season-ticket base is close to 26,000 with a waiting list of 100,000.
The Cubs are considering expanding sales of season tickets in 2012, according to a team source.
Fan support remained high despite the fact that over the past two seasons, the only time the Cubs have been over .500 were two days early in the 2011 season. The team also had to battle unusually cold weather and four rainouts.
With an average ticket price of $53, the Cubs will gross $165 million from ticket sales alone in 2011.
The Cubs will publish their 2012 schedule and hand out the schedule during their last homestand Sept. 16-21. That will be the first time Cubs fans will know the next season's schedule before the current season ends.
Bruce Levine covers baseball for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.