For the people who can’t afford or aren’t willing to spend more than a fixed amount on Cubs tickets, this promotion is bad news. They (we) have to choose between buying advance tickets at a higher price and perhaps getting a better selection but fewer games or waiting to buy the normal price tickets and getting a poorer selection of (and quite possibly fewer) tickets and games.
The third group, the scalpers, usually buy single-game tickets by employing teams of wristbanded grunts to hang out at Wrigley and buy as many tickets as they can, bypassing the usual surcharges, taxes, and inconvenience fees. All it costs the scalper/ticket broker is a slim $50 or so per grunt while loading up on hundreds or even thousands of tickets. But at a 20% markup with the additional per-ticket and per-order fees piled on? Not gonna happen. Their profit margin vanishes.
The scalpers probably get hurt by this the most, because their biggest profits come from the best tickets, which they’ll still have in spades via season tickets, but their single-game ticket supply will take a major hit. That frees up a fair amount of tickets to . . . the people in group #2 who would have wound up buying tickets from the scalpers anyway.
That’s right, the big winners in this pre-sale are the people whose ticket buying is limited only by the fixed supply of tickets, not by their desire or ability to purchase tickets. Okay, maybe that doesn’t sound like the traditional definition of “big winner” to you, but at least these people can move to the front of the line to buy the tickets they were always going to buy in the first place.
So people with less desire for tickets or less disposable income with which to buy them will get lousier tickets to less interesting games. The Cubs will recover a lot of the money scalpers would have collected. The absolute ticket fiends and college students with brand new credit cards and no sense of financial restraint will be closer to the field.
Did Cubs fans get the shaft? Some of them. But this is hardly a heartless move by the Cubs. It’s just a manipulation of capitalism that creates more PTWBRITT (Profits That Will Be Reinvested In The Team). And if that happens, we all win, right?