Back-to-back losing seasons could have swayed the Chicago Cubs from bringing back their annual convention.
The pandemic has prevented the usual mid-January fanfare since 2019, but as the Cubs Convention prepares to return in two months for the 36th year, the organization is anticipating a strong turnout.
“The season started off on a challenging foot, but we closed it out with a lot of momentum, and I think we felt that from the fans,” senior vice president of marketing Jen Martindale told the Tribune.
“This was the moment to keep that momentum going and share the enthusiasm that the coaches, players and our leadership are feeling about the future with our fans. So regardless of what the final record was in 2022, we feel really energized as we look ahead to 2023 and want to bring the fans along with us.”
Weekend passes go on sale at noon Thursday for the January 13-15 convention at the Sheraton Grand Chicago. The package costs $120 plus convenience fees for access to all activities during the three-day event. Season ticket holders can acquire the tickets for a slightly reduced rate, and hotel packages offer a lower price too.
The Cubs are still finalizing programming and alumni attendees. Martindale stated there will “absolutely” be a forum for fans to interact with the Ricketts family. During the two-year layoff, the Cubs re-evaluated how to better improve upon the experience, but will still kick off the opening-night festivities with the talk-show formatted “Off the Mound with Ryan Dempster” and Cubs bingo night on Day 2.
For the first time, the Cubs will hold a youth baseball clinic on the final day led by players, coaches and alumni to teach kids the basics. They are also creating a fan experience centered on showing never before seen items from the Cubs archive, featuring jerseys, bats, baseballs and awards.
The organization also plans to air coverage of the convention on Marquee Sports Network.
From a marketing perspective, there is value in the consistency of the Cubs Convention regardless of the team’s recent performance.
“The way I look at it is the Cubs are blessed with one of the biggest platforms in the world with this convention,” Martindale said. “Any other team would love to have this opportunity to gather 1,000s of their most loyal fans together and to talk openly and transparently about the future of the team and the organization together and get on the same page. So to us there’s no reason we wouldn’t use that platform.”