Worth the Wait: Navigating the Cubs Season Ticket Holder Waiting List
(Photo by Stephen Green)
Greg Augsburg is the personification of the old axiom “Good things come to those who wait.”
When Augsburg was a college student at Eastern Illinois University in the mid-2000s, he got into the habit of watching the standard Cubs 1:20 day game. Each telecast would include a plug about joining the Season Ticket Holder Waiting List. For the longtime Cubs fan, who always followed the team but really got hooked around the time of the 2003 playoff run, it was a siren call.
“It was always something to look forward to,” said Augsburg, now a technology coordinator and trainer at Wood Dale School District 7. “What’s five minutes out of my day to fill out a questionnaire? It was just something charming to think of once in a while.”
Of course, Augsburg knew it would be a while before he got a crack at tickets. The Cubs send regular updates on where each person stands in line, and at one point, he was informed he was customer No. 75,000.
“I was like, ‘Oh, this is never going to happen,’” Augsburg said, laughing. “Seriously, my train of thought was, ‘Well, maybe when I’m retired, I’ll get to do it.’”
Though he did have a little wait, a decade later, the 29-year-old is now the proud owner of two Cubs season tickets.
The Chicago Cubs Season Ticket Holder Waiting List is a no-cost way for Cubs fans to get in line for season tickets. To join the list, fans complete the form at cubs.com/waitinglist and, well, wait. How fast the list turns over depends on various factors. Seat locations primarily become available when current Season Ticket Holders opt not to renew their spots, so the product on the field can be a big determinant.
With the Cubs major-league team struggling over the last few seasons, there was quite a bit of turnover. That’s not the case anymore.
Going into 2015, the Cubs churned through 17,112 names on the waiting list before hitting capacity. That kind of movement is why Augsburg became a Season Ticket Holder in his late-20s instead of his late-60s. This year, the team went through fewer than 1,000 names.
“It’s always fun to welcome new Season Ticket Holders into the Cubs family, especially since we know our fans wait years for the opportunity,” said Cubs Senior Director of Ticketing Cale Vennum. “The increased interest in becoming a Season Ticket Holder is just another example of the tremendous demand we’ve seen to watch this year’s exciting team. It may take some time to get that call, but stories like Greg’s are a reminder the wait is definitely worthwhile.”
After completing the form, fans receive an account number and their current place on the list. The list is updated annually, and fans receive periodic emails so they know just how close—or far—they are from getting an opportunity.
Augsburg worked with Cubs Ticket Sales Representative Charles Zubrod, who he said offered constant feedback and communication once his number finally came up. Not only did Zubrod provide progress updates and advice about how to get through the line quickly once Augsburg got into the virtual waiting room, he was also honest and helped temper expectations. There is no guarantee a fan’s preferred seats will be open.
If a fan is offered a season ticket location but chooses to decline the offer, the Cubs will proceed to the next person in the queue, and that fan will be required to sign up again and obtain a new waiting list number, which can mean years more waiting.
But when the day came and Augsburg went online to claim his spot, the stars aligned, and he was able to get exactly what he wanted. Now he has only one more thing left to wait for—another deep Cubs playoff run.
“This really is quite the opportunity,” Augsburg said. “We’re probably in our best position to win in a very long time, and it just happens to be the year that my number gets called. It’s very nice. Coincidental, but I’ll take it.”