August 20, 2008
With 37 games still remaining in the regular season and with nothing guaranteed, there are Cubs fans paying as much as $1,700 for the right to buy league championship and World Series tix to the games in Chicago.
If you don't think that's a bad deal, considering how much seats might cost to see the Cubs first World Series win since 1908, consider the following:
1) Fans are only buying the rights. They still have to pay the face value of the tickets to obtain them. That'd be another couple of grand on top of the initial contract fee.
2) You don't get your money back if the Cubs collapse like they did in '69, '84, '03 or '04. So when fans use sites like firstdibz.com to buy the options or yoonew.com to buy the futures (there are slight differences between the two), they're speculating just like on any market, complete with a chance of big rewards and big losses.
Then again, if the Cubs keep rolling, then you own this.
Season ticket holders who don't want to or won't be able to go to all three division or all four championship playoff games or the potential seven Series games can sell the rights to their tickets at whatever price they wish through the site. Buyers purchase the rights based on what the market price is at the time. Like any market open for trading, the prices vacillate day to day, hour to hour, even minute to minute.
The article also details how one New York Giants fan turned a $40 option, bought when it looked like the G-Men might miss the playoffs, into a Super Bowl seat. With the Cubs almost assuredly making the playoffs — Baseball Prospectus lists their probability at 99 percent — the rights-to-buy prices are obviously going to be higher.
Still, would you bet that much on a team that has made a cottage industry of breaking hearts?
Then again, I'm not sure we're calling the sanity of the right people into question here. If there's someone willing to betting for the possibility of playoff tickets that means there's also someone betting against them.
And since the only people guaranteed those tickets right now are season ticket holders — who are ostensibly fans — that would seem to indicate there's more than a few Cubs fans out there who think they won't make it and want to capitalize anyway. Oh ye of little faith!