After their first World Series victory in 108 years, there has never been a better time to be a Chicago Cubs fan. Much of a championship roster returns, the reigning National League MVP is back in town, and slugger Kyle Schwarber is set to play his first full season on the North Side.
That being said, as the team opens Wrigley Field for the first title defense in its storied history, there has been one common complaint that I have seen consistently expressed from longtime fans: the price of tickets.
Entering the 2017 season, a ticket at Wrigley Field has increased by an average of 19.5 percent per seat.
At face value, that is quite alarming and understandably upsets many fans; however, each fan should take the time and consider how exactly an increase in ticket prices impacts their ballpark experience.
With a season ticket waiting list that reads 112,733 names long, there are huge profits for the taking and it is the responsibility of the Chicago Cubs and owner Tom Ricketts to capture as much of that value as possible after a once-in-a-lifetime victory.
While this may require reaching into the wallets of their loyal fans, it also allows for massive upgrades to be made at a ballpark that is over 100 years old.
In an era where teams are routinely packing up and leaving town if taxpayers will not give in to constant threats during stadium negotiations (see: Las Vegas Raiders) or, even worse, taxpayers do give in and finance those new coliseums (see: the city of Atlanta), the Ricketts family should be commended for their commitment to finance the renovation of their friendly neighborhood ballpark.
If this means that fans need to drop an extra $20 per visit, that is more than a fair price to pay.
In addition to ballpark improvements, increased ticket prices keep revenue off of the secondary market and allow for the team to sign high priced free agents like Jon Lester (who played a major role in ending the longest drought in American sports history), and will allow the team to extend its young core of superstars when the times comes.
Frustration is an understandable initial reaction from a fanbase when ownership puts its hand out expecting even more money from fans; however, all things considered, the market for tickets at Wrigley is seeing a greater demand than ever before and that is exactly the type of problem every team would like to have.
It is an exciting time to be a Chicago Cubs fan. One championship is already in hand and the playoffs are all but guaranteed. The same cannot be said on the South Side of town.