It’s an hour before the Chicago Cubs Home Opener, and Daniel Rico is furiously folding shirts as baseball fans order and purchase Cubs ware and souvenirs at a stand right outside the Addison Red Line stop. Many Wrigleyville businesses rely on the first game of the season to boost profits.
Rico, a sales associate at local Clark Street Sports, says the home opener is one of the most important days for businesses in the Wrigleyville area.
“Opening day is probably one of the biggest days of the year,” he says. “It’s really busy and everyone is excited, there’s a sense of freshness to the whole ordeal. Especially with spring just beginning.”
Sara Soich, the Vice President of Chi City Sports is working opening day at her booth in the 7/11 parking lot across from the stadium and is hoping for a very busy opening day.
“Opening day is hopefully the busiest because of how the Cubs have been playing mediocre,” she says. “Today is exciting.”
Today marks the 136th home opener for the Chicago Cubs. The team starts off its season by facing off with the Washington Nationals. Every year, the home opener brings the promise of a rise in profit for Wrigley Field businesses and vendors. Max Waisvisz, owner of Locos Tickets-Gold Coast Tickets which is a business that buys season tickets from season ticket holders to resell them experienced a rise in sales that exceeded his expectations.
“Traffic today was higher than expected,” he says. “We are sold out today. We sold over 1,000 tickets for today’s game. “
For the store manager of Wrigleyville Sports, John Moorhouse, baseball season is the most important for business.
“If the Bears are doing well we might be busy, ya’ know, but nothing is like when the Cubs are playing,” he says. “Everybody is buying sweatshirts and hats and stuff to keep warm. Baseball is definitely our busiest season by far.”
Street vendors even get a considerable cut of the action from the opening game Eric Ramirez, a street vender outside of the Wrigley Field Stadium, sells T-shirts, peanuts, Cubs hats and water and today is one of the most important selling days for him.
“We make more money today than all year,” he says “It’s a big deal for everyone. I make about $300 to$400 in sales on a good day.”
Cubs fans have come to the home opener prepared to watch the game and spend a considerable amount of money. They will increase Wrigleville business’ profits whether they spend it on parking, the bars, the restaurants, or sports shops.
Tommy Petracek, a chimney tech and a Sox fan, came to Wrigleyville Sports Corner Bar to enjoy some drinks with his brother, a Cubs fan, before the game. He has a positive attitude about the money that he is spending in preparation for the game.
“I’m a Sox fan; I’m here with my brother who has tickets,” he says. “I’m having a great time. We’ll spend over $100 today. We like to give back to the economy.”
Victoria Coleman, Tim Shaunnessey, Merissa Marks, Aspeyn Jones and Sean McEntee contributed to this report.