The Chicago Cubs are having quite the 2015 season. The club's young core is becoming very popular and their success is bringing more people to the ballpark. That increase in attendance this season should lead to more money this winter, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago-Sun Times.
The Cubs are on pace to increase home attendance by more than 275,000. Internal estimates conservatively value each paid admission as worth more than $75 in gross revenues – making that increase worth more than $20.6 million.
General manager Theo Epstein is still waiting to reap the benefits of the Cubs' new TV deal and in the meantime, will have to rely on attendance bumps and expiring contracts in order to have excess cash to spend. Cubs fans saw the effects of having extra money this past winter when they were able to sign Jon Lester to a six-year, $155 million contract.
At the end of the 2014 season, the Cubs had a payroll of $92 million. Combining expiring contracts with a payroll increase, the Cubs have a payroll of $120 million for this season.
They should have a similarly productive 2015 offseason, as they have players with expiring contracts, and they'll have more money due to the increase attendance as well as the revenue from their new scoreboard. An increase like that could see the Cubs be big players once again this winter.
They have been linked to David Price, mainly due to the Joe Maddon connection and their need for a starting pitcher. The Cubs could choose to unload all of their money in one shot, by signing a big name like Price or Zack Greinke, or spread it around on multiple areas of need.
Not all of that $20.6 million will be injected into the payroll, but enough will likely be for the Cubs so that they can explore multiple opportunities in the offseason. With the Cubs making drastic strides in 2015, and an incredibly young core of fantastic players, they'll be competitive for quite a while.