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Wrigley Done Right: The Ultimate Rooftop Experience - Click for tickets

Wrigley Field Premium Ticket Articles

Cubs create season ticket resale plan

Copyright 2002 Paddock Publications, Inc.
Chicago Daily Herald

June 17, 2002, Monday All


LENGTH: 448 words

HEADLINE: Cubs create season ticket resale plan

BYLINE: Kent McDill Daily Herald Sports Writer

BODY: The Cubs are trying to get a piece of the lucrative and active secondary market for their own game tickets.

In a letter to season-ticket holders, the Cubs announced the creation of the Wrigley Field Premium Ticketing Services, which will handle the transfer of tickets from season-ticket holders who want to sell individual game tickets.

This is in direct response to the obvious market for such tickets, which the Cubs recognized in their letter to season-ticket holders.

"Based on what we see online and at the many legitimate and illegitimate ticket-broker operations, people are willing and anxious to purchase excellent seats for our high-demand games," said the letter, which was signed by Cubs executive vice president for business operations Mark McGuire.

"As our best customers, you should benefit from this opportunity. You should not be penalized by being forced to waste tickets you cannot use from time to time, if there is a willing market of buyers."

Whether this is the best way for season-ticket holders to go is uncertain.

"The advantage of dealing with us is we have a reciprocal agreement with season-ticket holders," said Jack Buttitta, owner of Best Seats Tickets in Roselle. "When they need tickets to other events, we make sure that is available to them. We make sure those people are taken care of when they want tickets to other events."

In a question-and-answer format, the Cubs letter attempted to respond to questions the new program might bring up, although it left a couple of questions unanswered.

The service is only available for 20 "high-demand games," although no list of such games was provided. The service is available online at www.cubs.com.

The seller sets the price for the ticket, and if the tickets are sold, the seller receives 85 percent of the sale price, losing the 15 percent transaction fee. However, the funds from the purchase are not pocketed. They are credited to the season-ticket holder's account as a down payment toward next year's tickets.

"That's another advantage to dealing with us," Buttitta said. "You actually get the money."

Through the Cubs' Season Ticket Exchange, the tickets cannot be sold at less than face value because "we are concerned this service could negatively impact our regular ticket sales," McGuire said in the letter.

The seller is notified 48 hours before game time if the tickets do not sell so that the seller can do something else with the ticket.

The actual ticket transfer never takes place. Once a sale is made, a new ticket is issued at Wrigley Field to the buyer, and the seller is instructed to then destroy the original tickets.

LOAD-DATE: June 21, 2002

Fan sues Cubs, claiming illegal ticket scalping

Copyright 2002 Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

The Associated Press State & Local Wire

These materials may not be republished without the express written consent of The Associated Press

October 10, 2002, Thursday, BC cycle

SECTION: Sports News

LENGTH: 253 words

HEADLINE: Fan sues Cubs, claiming illegal ticket scalping


A baseball fan filed a lawsuit against the Chicago Cubs, accusing the team of selling overpriced tickets through a subsidiary that competes with local brokers.

Peter John Cavoto Jr. filed suit against Wrigley Field Premium Ticket Services on Wednesday. His lawsuit claims that the team uses the outlet to sell some $36 tickets for up to $130, without first making them available at face value.

In the lawsuit, Cavoto accused the club of consumer fraud, deceptive business practices and violating the Illinois Ticket Scalping Act, which prohibits people who run professional sporting and entertainment events from charging more than face value for tickets.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction barring the Cubs from engaging in the ticket-selling practice, and seeks $100 in damages for every ticket sold through the subsidiary for more than face value.

Mark McGuire, executive vice president of business operations for the Cubs, would not comment about the merits of the lawsuit, but said the team was "comfortable with the setup" of the subsidiary.

McGuire also pointed out that some attorneys helping on the case are also involved with rooftop owners battling the team's Wrigley Field expansion plans.

"At a minimum, the same people are involved," McGuire said.

Bauch and his partner have two rooftop owners as clients. But he said the plaintiff in this case is not affiliated with those owners, who are trying to preserve views of the field for paying customers who sit on the roofs.

LOAD-DATE: October 11, 2002

Cubs in court over claims they're scalping tickets

Copyright 2003 Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

The Associated Press State & Local Wire

These materials may not be republished without the express written consent of The Associated Press

August 20, 2003, Wednesday, BC cycle

SECTION: State and Regional; Sports News

LENGTH: 439 words

HEADLINE: Cubs in court over claims they're scalping tickets

BYLINE: By NICOLE ZIEGLER DIZON, Associated Press Writer


The Chicago Cubs are bilking fans by selling game tickets above face value through a brokerage the team set up, lawyers said Wednesday during closing arguments in a class-action lawsuit.

But what the plaintiffs call scalping is actually a licensed business separate from the Cubs organization, team attorneys said.

Cook County Circuit Judge Sophia Hall must decide whether Wrigley Field Premium Ticket Services, established as a "sister company" to the Cubs last year, defrauded consumers and violated an Illinois law barring those who sponsor an event from charging more than face value for tickets.

The trial wound down Wednesday after a week of testimony. Hall said she would rule by Nov. 24.

Paul Bauch, an attorney for the plaintiffs, is seeking $100 per ticket for between 1,000 and 2,000 people who bought tickets from the brokerage. He also wants the judge to shut down the service.

The plaintiffs claim Premium is not a ticket reseller, as the Cubs say, but instead is an agent for the Cubs that gets "high demand" tickets the team keeps off the regular market. At the same time, the Cubs claim certain games for which Premium holds tickets are sold out, Bauch said.

"The Cubs dominated this corporation," Bauch said. "They did a good job of setting it up and making it look separate."

The team directs customers to Premium for tickets to sold-out games and even promotes the service with free television commercials aired during Cubs broadcasts, Bauch said.

Attorneys for the team, which is owned by the Tribune Co., have argued Premium is a Tribune Co. subsidiary that purchases tickets for resale at its own risk.

"We are not in the business of cooking the books and making sham transactions," said James Klenk, an attorney representing the Cubs and Premium. "Our business is to comply with the law."

Klenk said Illinois law is clear that a broker, once licensed, is allowed to sell tickets above face value. He said Cubs workers helped start the business but have not been involved since Premium opened in June 2002.

The tickets offered to Premium, the Cubs say, are those that normally would not be available at the box office until game day or shortly before - those held for Major League Baseball officials, the media, politicians and employees, for example.

The Cubs claim Premium actually helps fans by increasing competition and driving down ticket costs from more than 40 other licensed brokers. Klenk argued that other brokers who want to put Premium out of business are behind the lawsuit.

"We are here because the ticket brokers don't like our business," Klenk said.

LOAD-DATE: August 21, 2003

Judge rules Cubs didn't break scalping law

Copyright 2003 Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

The Associated Press State & Local Wire

These materials may not be republished without the express written consent of The Associated Press

November 25, 2003, Tuesday, BC cycle

SECTION: State and Regional; Sports News

LENGTH: 316 words

HEADLINE: Judge rules Cubs didn't break scalping law

BYLINE: By ERIC FIDLER, Associated Press Writer


A Cook County judge ruled in favor of the Chicago Cubs on Monday in a lawsuit that accused the team of illegally running a ticket brokerage.

Judge Sophia Hall ruled the brokerage did not violate state ticket scalping laws that ban those who sponsor an event from charging more than face value for tickets.

She said the law does not prohibit the Tribune Co. from owning both the Cubs and Wrigley Field Premium Ticket Services, and that the Cubs did not engage in unfair or deceptive practices. Hall ruled there was insufficient evidence to prove the Cubs tried to limit the number of tickets available at the box office in order to sell them to Premium.

The class-action lawsuit filed in October 2002 by ticket buyers claimed that the Cubs bilked fans by selling game tickets above face value through Premium.

The lawsuit claimed that Premium is not a ticket reseller, as the Cubs say, but instead is an agent for the Cubs that gets "high demand" tickets the team keeps off the regular market.

Attorneys for the team argued Premium is a Tribune Co. subsidiary that purchases tickets for resale at its own risk.

In her ruling, Hall wrote that if people are concerned about a ticket broker and amusement being owned by the same company, the Legislature should change the law.

James Klenk, who represented the Cubs and Tribune Co., called the ruling a victory for Cubs fans.

"Allowing Premium to compete is a source of tickets at lower prices" than those charged by other brokers, he said.

The tickets offered to Premium, the Cubs have said, are those that normally would not be available at the box office until game day or shortly before - those held for Major League Baseball officials, the media, politicians and employees, for example.

Paul Bauch, the attorney who filed the lawsuit, said he would review the ruling and discuss with his clients whether to appeal.

LOAD-DATE: November 26, 2003

Cubs cash in big time

Copyright 2004 Gannett Company, Inc.

February 20, 2004, Friday, FINAL EDITION


LENGTH: 654 words

HEADLINE: Cubs cash in big time

BYLINE: Mike Dodd


CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs' business successes this winter created just a fraction of the headlines of Wednesday's Greg Maddux signing. But they played a significant role in making the big-name acquisition happen.

Cubs management went 4-for-4 on offseason business issues, bringing an additional $ 10 million or so to the Wrigley Field operation this year. The Cubs gained City Council approval to add 200 premium seats behind home plate and four additional night games each of the next three years. They also settled a lawsuit with 11 of the 13 owners of businesses that run rooftop parties overlooking Wrigley and won a lawsuit that enables a subsidiary company to continue selling VIP tickets for more than face value.

While about one-third of the additional money goes to Major League Baseball in revenue sharing, the net gain should be more than enough to pay for Maddux's $ 6 million salary in 2004.

"The additional income we will have from the rooftops and behind-the-plate seating, I doubt if we would have been able to do this without that," general manager Jim Hendry said at the announcement of Maddux's signing.

Andy MacPhail, Cubs president and CEO, said he believes the Cubs will have the highest payroll in the National League. The Maddux signing pushed it to about $ 92 million, and the team is negotiating long-term deals with pitcher Kerry Wood and first baseman Derrek Lee. The Cubs started last year with a payroll of about $ 80 million, seventh in the NL.

Besides the new revenue streams, the NL Central champs have enjoyed a surge in season ticket sales. Full-season equivalents are nearing 20,000 in the 39,000-plus-seat ballpark.

The deal with the city of Chicago was approved last week, giving Wrigley landmark status (which limits changes without approval) in exchange for phasing in 12 additional night games over three years and the new seats.

Construction of the premium seats, three rows from dugout to dugout, began immediately and should be completed by Wrigley's opening day April 12. Ticket prices are expected to be in the $ 200-$ 250 range.

MacPhail said the new seats would cut 10-12 feet from foul territory behind the plate. The fabled brick wall behind home plate was taken down and will be rebuilt in front of the new seats. "It won't be quite as tall," he said. "We'll go to the effort and expense of using as many of the same bricks as possible."

This week the Cubs changed the starting times of four weekday games, giving them 22 night games this year. They're permitted to increase that to 30 by 2006 but still are prohibited from playing regular-season games at night on Friday, Saturday or Sunday (with the exception of nationally televised Sunday games).

The team agreed to establish a $ 1 million fund to deal with neighborhood issues surrounding the night games, such as sanitation and traffic.

The settlement with the rooftop owners will bring an estimated $ 1.5 million-$ 1.7 million to the club this year. The Cubs sued the businesses in December 2002, claiming they were stealing the team's product. The 20-year agreement calls for the rooftop owners to give the team 17% of their gross revenue.

The team prevailed in a suit accusing it of running an illegal ticket scalping operation. A Cook County judge ruled in November that Wrigley Field Premium Ticket Services didn't violate state scalping laws that prohibit promoters of an event from charging more than face value. The Cubs argued successfully that the business was a subsidiary of Tribune Co., which owns the team.

During the trial the team said it sold an average of fewer than 150 tickets a game through the brokerage. It says it only sells tickets held for VIPs and aren't available to the general public.

"We're going to have as many tickets, if not more, available to the general public as last year," MacPhail said.

Contributing: Greg Boeck in Phoenix

GRAPHIC: PHOTO, B/W, John Zich, USA TODAY; Roof with a view: The Cubs will receive 17% of the gross revenue from the owners of the buildings with rooftop views of Wrigley Field.

LOAD-DATE: February 20, 2004

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