In recent years, there’s been a problem surrounding games at Miller Park against the Cubs. In those games, Cubs fans tend to buy out the majority of the tickets, and the stadium is filled with Cubs fans taking over the game. It’s so bad that the stadium gets unofficially called “Wrigley North” since the Cubs essentially get a home environment with so many of their fans in attendance.
This year, the Brewers are trying to fight that with a special ticket sale opportunity. Starting tomorrow, Wisconsin residents will be able to purchase tickets to all of the games against the Cubs ahead of regular game sales opening on February 17. The effort here is to get more fans of the Brewers into the stadium and mitigate the impact that the Cubs fans have when playing at Miller Park.
While this idea might help get more Brewers fans into the seats for those games, it’s also has several flaws. Here are some of those issues:
Cubs fans are not limited to Illinois alone.
Not all Wisconsin residents are Brewers fans. It’s an unfortunate fact. The Cubs have been around for a lot longer and have made a strong push into the Wisconsin market. In fact, they claim SE Wisconsin as part of their TV market, since their fans extend that far north. By limiting the opportunity to Wisconsin residents, more Brewers fans may buy tickets, but there will also be a strong group of Cubs fans purchasing as well.
This will drive up the ticket prices on the resale market.
The Brewers and Cubs are expected to be the top two teams in the NL Central this upcoming season (depending on how you view the Cardinals). In addition, they are going to be competing for a wild card playoff spot in the upcoming season. As a result, ticket prices were already going to be inflated for this series. By opening this opportunity to Wisconsin residents first, it simply gives them the chance to buy tickets to resell on a third-party site. Many people buying may not have any intention of going to these games, just turning them around for a quick profit. Once they are on the secondary market, there’s no control over which fans buy them. While the games against the Cubs have always been considered marquee games (meaning higher prices), it’s harder to get casual fans in the game if the prices of the tickets are much higher.
This doesn’t solve the perception issue around Brewers-Cubs games at Miller Park.
There’s been a general perception issue about the overall environment in the stands that goes beyond there just being more opposing fans there. Overall, Brewers fans have mentioned that they don’t enjoy going to these games as much. The fans are more hostile, and problems with things like drunkenness seem to be higher. Over on Baseball Prospectus, Paul Noonan wrote about many of these problems last season, during one of the Brewers-Cubs series. This sentiment is common in many Brewers fans now, and as a result, they are staying away from these games to avoid dealing with these problem fans. Selling tickets in advance is not going to solve that.
The Brewers obviously want every advantage they can get at Miller Park in the upcoming season. Getting more of their own fans into the seats for games against the Cubs is a good step, and that is what they are trying to do with this advance purchase. Unfortunately, it’s not going to solve all of the issues around these games, and may not have any effect at all on these games. To solve the issues around these games, there’s one general way to do it that works above any other: Win a lot of games and lead the division.