Tribune Co. and the Chicago Cubs on Friday announced unprecedented plans to open the season ticket waiting list to the open market. Beginning in January, fans of the Tribune Co.-owned Cubs can buy their way to the top of the list with the purchase of subscriptions to the Chicago Tribune.
“Look: We’ve got some issues to work out,” said Tribune Co. Chairman and CEO Sam Zell. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday amid falling revenues and the nationwide credit crisis. “And it’s not just us. Look at the financials at any paper. If we’re going to turn this industry around, it’s going to take creative solutions, like the one announced here today,” Zell added.
Cubs Chairman Crane Kenney said fans already on the ticket waiting list will receive points based on their current place on the list. “Some people have been on this list for decades,” Kenney said. “It wouldn’t be fair — or humane, really — to just wipe that all away and make them start over.”
To get more points, and move up on the list, fans must buy subscriptions to the Tribune. Further details about the system, which will be hosted on Cubs.com, will be released next month.
Zell would not comment on how the Cubs’ impending sale would affect the new system, but Kenney says the concept is not dependent on newspaper subscriptions. “We can make points equal to anything we want,” he said, “be it newspapers or straight-up cash.”
Cubs officials say a similar system will be implemented for the sale of individual game tickets. Rather than receive a randomized place in a virtual waiting room when the tickets are made available, online customers can purchase issues of Vine Line, the Cubs’ official magazine, to improve their place in the virtual line.