For the first time in the modern era, the Chicago Cubs have unveiled a team mascot. Clark the Cub will be making occasional appearances at Wrigley Field during Cubs home games this season. A team official stated Clark will have a some exposure during games, but nothing to disrupt from the game viewing experience. The unveiling of Clark is a plan to make the overall experience of the 100-year-old ballpark more family friendly.
As Cubs fans can be some of the most passionate in baseball, sections like the outfield bleachers would not be mistaken for the most family-friendly environment. Clark’s presence could help attract a new group younger fans to the ballpark this season. It also leaves only three teams, the Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees as the only Major League franchises without a mascot.
It’s yet to be determined what kind of impact Clark will actually make for the ballpark experience, but even before Clark, Cubs tickets were seeing an increase for 2014. Chicago Cubs tickets have an average price of $113.82 on the secondary market for home games during the 2014. That price is 15% above the average secondary market average during 2013. The price increase starts with opening day against the Philadelphia Phillies on April 4. The average price for Cubs opening day is $156.10. Last year, the average ticket price for opening day was below $100 at $98.58.
The Cubs haven’t had a winning record as a team since 2009 and haven’t appeared in the playoff since 2008. In 2013 they fell out of the top five in total National League attendance for the first time since 2002, although they still ranked seventh. In the midst of a rebuilding process, the Cubs could have another below .500 in 2014, but many fans are aware the team has a lot of young talent in the minor league system. When those players start to make their debuts, tickets could continue to increase. Until then when the Cubs can unveil a new generation of players, there’s nothing to lose in seeing if a cuddly-looking bear mascot can enhance the game day experience for a new generation of fans.