Cubs replacing 'print-at-home' tickets with Ballpark app

Change among business-operations updates at annual Convention

January 15th, 2017
Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts addresses the crowd during the annual Cubs Convention in Chicago. (AP)

CHICAGO -- Print-at-home tickets will become a thing of the past beginning in 2017 as the Cubs move to the Ballpark app in hopes of eliminating fraudulent tickets altogether.
That announcement came Saturday afternoon on the second day of Cubs Convention at the Sheraton Grand Chicago hotel during the business-operations update. The ongoing Wrigley Field renovations, the possibility of hosting the All-Star Game and in-market streaming also were discussed.
"We certainly saw a lot of instances in the postseason where the value of our tickets became so tremendous that there's incentive for people to commit fraud to capitalize on the value of tickets," senior vice president of sales and marketing Colin Faulkner said. "We're going to eliminate the print-at-home tickets. We think the Ballpark app is a great solution."
Hard and commemorative tickets will be available for season-ticket holders and those who wish to pick up tickets at Will Call.
The Cubs' World Series run once again shortened the offseason and time for renovations at Wrigley Field. Vice president of Wrigley Field restoration and expansion Carl Rice said most of the construction, which includes additional women's restrooms, structural improvements in right field and continued seat replacement, will be ready by Opening Day. Concession improvements near Gate F behind home plate, however, will not be completed until May or June.
The biggest on-field change will be the moving of bullpen locations from down the foul lines to underneath the bleachers, which will alleviate safety concerns.
Other issues discussed during the session included:
• In-market streaming, which president of baseball operations Crane Kenney said he's "cautiously optimistic" will come to fruition for 2017.
"[Comcast and MLB] seem to have reached an agreement," Kenney said. "We're the ones pushing hard for it because our fans want it, and if you look at most markets, you have in-market streaming."
• Wrigley Field hasn't hosted an All-Star Game since 1990, but Kenney said the club and the city of Chicago have had dialogue with the Commissioner's Office about the game coming to the North Side.
"We should get the All-Star Game," Kenney said. "In 2020 our building's complete, and what a great way to celebrate the completion, to host the All-Star Game. It'd be great for the city. The city wants it, we want it, but we've got to convince [Commissioner Rob] Manfred that we've earned it."
Kenney cited security as the main issue that needed to be addressed before being awarded the Midsummer Classic.
• The Cubs continue to have conversations with TV rights holders about starting their own network in 2020 after their current deal runs out. Kenney said the club has been active in talks but added, "I wouldn't say something's going to happen by Opening Day, but I'd say the pace of conversations are going to pick up."
• Heads up, promotional giveaway lovers: There will be no replica ring giveaway. There will be a replica Commissioner's Trophy giveaway, as well as several bobbleheads representing plays made during the postseason. The full promotional giveaway schedule has not been announced.