A Pennsylvania ticket broker is suing the Cubs, saying the team refused to renew his season tickets.
Yehuda Frager filed his complaint Feb. 2 in Cook County Circuit Court, saying the Cubs breached their agreement with him by refusing to renew the 30-plus season tickets he owned from 2011 through 2015. According to Frager, he and other brokers held tickets during the seasons in which the team routinely lost roughly 100 games “with the expectation of profit if and when a team is later successful and demand for tickets is higher.”
The 2015 team finished 97-65, earning a wild card spot and reaching the National League Championship Series for the first time since 2003. Following that successful campaign, Frager said, the team canceled all of his more than 30 season tickets. Frager objected, and the parties reached a settlement agreement granting Frager “a certain number of season tickets for the 2016 season.”
In 2016, the Cubs won 103 games and captured the team’s first World Series championship since 1908, ending the longest title drought in North American professional sports history. Afterward, Frager said, the Cubs refused to renew any of his season tickets for 2017, though the team did renew those “of many other season ticket holders.”
The team drew 3.23 million fans in the 2016 regular season, according to baseball-reference.com, an average of 39,906 over 81 home games, compared to 3.02 million in 2011, when Frager first bought his seats, an average 37,259 per game for a team that finished 71-91 in fifth place in the N.L. Central. In 2013, the Cubs finished with a record of 66-96, again finishing in fifth place and drawing just 2.64 million, or 32,626 per game.
In addition to refusing to renew his tickets for 2017, Frager said the team also, “on several occasions during the 2016 season … failed to provide Frager with the necessary season ticket holder passwords to purchase tickets for special events at Wrigley Field on presale,” although other brokers did not experience such difficulties.
During the summer, while the Cubs are playing games away from Wrigley Field, the stadium on Chicago’s North Side hosts concerts, a practice begun in 2005. In 2016, the venue staged a record seven shows, including such musical luminaries as Phish, Billy Joel, Pearl Jam, Luke Bryan and James Taylor and Jackson Browne. Various publications estimate the team’s haul at $1 million per show.
Frager seeks an injunction requiring the Cubs to provide him season tickets for 2017 — “in the same number and in the same or comparable location” as his 206 allotment — as well as damages for any profit Frager would have made on any tickets he is not granted. He also seeks damages for the values of tickets he was not able to purchase for other Wrigley Field events.
Representing Frager in the matter are attorneys from the Chicago firm Loevy & Loevy.