Roger Clemens versus the Cubs for his 300th win was the toughest ticket in Chicago on June 6—but for big bucks you could, of course, still get in. A $45 seat could be had for $1,500 from one of the licensed ticket brokerages near Wrigley Field. That's $3,000 for you and your date before that first hot dog. The markup is shocking, but wait till you hear who owns the brokerage: the Tribune Company. Since that media giant also owns the team, this is, some say, a blatant case of the Cubs scalping their own tickets.
Wrigley Field Premium Tickets Services exists partly because the Cubs got tired of seeing brokers and illegal street scalpers make a killing while they were selling tickets at $5 to $45. But Cubs VP Mark McGuire says that when PTS opened in June 2002, the team hoped it "would be creating goodwill" by providing "a quality and legitimate ticket brokering service" that would protect fans from the counterfeit and stolen tickets that sometimes surface on the secondary market.
But with thousands of good seats going directly to PTS for resale at Tiffany prices, goodwill has been slow in coming. The Chicago Sun-Times called the plan "a woefully dishonest—and illegal—ticket scam." A fan went into the PTS office last month and berated workers. And a rival broker, Marc Hamid, has filed a class-action suit against the Cubs, claiming they've violated an Illinois law prohibiting host entities from selling tickets above face value. "We have many reports from angry fans," says Paul Bauch, the lawyer representing the plaintiffs. The Cubs wouldn't comment on the suit.
Even worse for the Cubs, though, is that PTS hasn't been profitable. The brokerage ended last season with $15,000 in unsold tickets; a source says it lost money, and this year red ink is possible again. One thing is certain: If the Cubs board up the windows of PTS, some people would buy a ticket to watch.