Just a few random observations from someone who goes to a handful of Cougars games each year, and has done so since they moved to Kane County:
I had been surprised at what I perceived to be lower attendance this year, particularly at a Friday night game last week with perfect weather. I looked up their annual attendance numbers, and they have slid from 7000+ per game average a few years ago, to 5000+ per game this year. I would think they would do better in a poor economy (similar to McDonalds), not worse. In addition, they added some seating capacity a few years back.
Went to a game against Peoria two years ago, and it was the only one I have ever been at that had issues with drunken fans. Not a lot, but enough of the drunken frat boy types cheering for the Chiefs to be obnoxious, including a couple that spent a half inning screaming a two older ladies on the upper deck to “show us your tits”. Never seen that before at that ballpark. If they are trying to get fans that normally only go to Wrigley to head out to Kane County a few times, they are going to have their hands full.
While I’m sure the Cougars will get a short term boost from this, I don’t see how this works out long term from a marketing standpoint. If they turn the place into Wrigley Field West, they risk turning off a significant portion of their current fan base that has supported them well. If they ignore the Cubs connection on the other hand, what is the point of doing this in the first place? IMO, staying neutral has been a stroke of genius on their part. It makes all Chicago area baseball fans feel welcome.
Interesting that these supposed talks are in violation of MLB rules, with fines of $500,000 for the Cubs and $100,000 for the Cougars. Wonder who leaked this?