The stereotypes are by now pretty well entrenched. Cubs fans are dumb. Cubs fans don't care about baseball. Cubs fans just want to party in the sun. The more you know about Cubs fans, the more difficult it gets to deny the generalizations. They're mostly true, right?
If the Cubs financials are any indication ... yeah, pretty much.
That's the lesson to be taken from this breakdown by Yahoo! Sports, which analyzed how much money the Cubs made from gate and ticket sales in the past few years. The Cubs have been more successful than usual in recently, but even in their truly horrible years -- 2006's 66-96 season, for example -- 3.1 million Cubs fans still showed up to watch baseball in a charming but decrepit old ballpark. It's amazing, when you really think about it.
This presents an obvious business opportunity for new owner Tom Ricketts. Frankly, the Cubs don't need to win to be profitable in the short term. They can still be in the top five or six in attendance every season, including the bad ones, so long as the occasional hope for success is sprinkled in. At this point the Cubs are so well-established as not only a place to watch baseball but a place to spend a pleasant, sun-drenched day in Chicago, it doesn't even matter if they win.
All of which you already intuitively know. But it is striking to see it spelled out on the page. Tom Ricketts seems like the kind of guy who's interested in winning, and over the course of, say, 30 years, a winning Cubs franchise would be a much more profitable venture than a losing one. But even if Ricketts screws things up -- or, heck, decides he doesn't much care about winning -- Cubs fans have yet to prove they'll care.
Good news for Ricketts. Bad news for Cubs fans.
Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com. Follow him on Twitter.