there are plenty of reasons to feel sorry for cub fans. but wrigley field is considered to be a cub brand's strengths. having been to far too many games at wrigley field over the last few decades, however, i see wrigley exhibiting the familiar signs of a diminishing brand. for example:
doing things on the cheap the cubs have finally installed tv monitors in the concourse - a huge advantage when you consider how long the concession stand lines are (mostly due to the fact that after the 5th inning, most cub fans have trouble speaking coherently). but instead of fans being thankful, we're stuck wondering how the team could find that many 1969 zenith tvs with Chromocolor.
lowering brand expectations for years, cubs marketing would brag that wrigley field had no advertising. then, as digital boards were added, they switched the claim to "no permanent advertising." now, all they have to say is how nice the ivy is. each year, the playing field is surrounded by more signage. if the team hadn't used the lack of advertising as a sell point, it wouldn't be so disappointing. but for decades, they did.
us-first attitude when a brand is on the decline, the customer perspective often takes a back seat. nowhere is that more apparent than the shirts the wrigley staff now wear. used to be, wrigley had ushers. by definition, an usher's role is to serve the customer. as you can see in the picture, staffers are now called "crowd management." funny, i thought people went to baseball games to be entertained, not managed. for years, cub staffers have acted with a ruthlessness that would have ghengis khan thinking, "damn, i should've thought of that..." but the shirt seems to abandon any pretense that the customer's enjoyment is at the center of decision-making.
this year, 3 million people will flow through the turnstiles at wrigley, so you can argue the brand is healthy. me? i say the next owner has a lot more to fix than the cubs' on-field follies.