License to Swill: Cubs Ponder New Ticket Program

Seat licenses would change way Cubs fans transfer season tickets

Getting a Cubs season ticket is no small feat. It requires patience and -- perhaps most of all -- plenty of cash, to say nothing of the time you must spend at Wrigley Field to really get your money's worth. But there are far more dedicated, eager Cubs fans than there are Cubs season-ticket packages, making the plans extremely hard to come by.

One method some franchises have used to organize and transfer ownership of season tickets, both in the U.S. and Europe, is seat licenses, legal agreements that cost fans additional money and grant them the right to own or sell the season tickets their plans cover. The license is typically an additional fee on top of the tickets, and critics have derided them as merely another way to extract money from fans.

If the Cubs Convention is any indication, the Cubs are giving the idea some thought:

Asked about handing down season tickets to relatives, Frank Maloney, the director of ticket operations, said the "fundamental rule is you can't reassign tickets, but if it's in your immediate family, we certainly will do that."

Mark McGuire, the executive vice president of business operations, followed by saying: "This is the positive to a controversial thing called seat licenses. If a seat-license situation ever came up, it sort of makes a legal right to whoever holds the license to do what they want with the tickets. We don't have that. Consequently, we're left in some sort of a fine area. Sometimes we joke there's a percentage of the season ticket-holder group that's deceased."

If it helps settle the huge, likely outdated masses of season-ticket holders, great. Give it a shot. That said, the question of how fees would be distributed looms. What about current ticketholders? Do they suddenly get hit with an extra fee because of new licenses they didn't agree to? Do they get to keep their tickets?

There are a variety of issues that come with the procedure, not least of which is this: Do the Cubs really need more of their fans' money? Want? Yes. Need? Probably not.

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