2023 Cubs Convention weekend passes go on sale Thursday

LAS VEGAS — Weekend passes for the Cubs Convention will go on sale Thursday as the team gears up for its return after a two-year hiatus.

Passes will be available to the general public starting at noon Thursday, the Cubs announced, with a presale for season-ticket holders opening at 10 a.m. Hotel-room packages for the 36th convention — which will be held Friday,

Jan. 13, to Sunday, Jan. 15, at the Sheraton Grand Chicago — are already available and come with discounted weekend passes.

”The initial presale for the hotel-room packages went really well, and it’s showing us that there is very much an appetite for the convention to come back and that there’s fan enthusiasm for it,” said Jen Martindale, the Cubs’ senior vice president of marketing ”So we’re just hard at work now on giving them a great experience.”

All-access weekend passes will cost $120, plus convenience fees, with a limit of six per household. The presale passes for season-ticket holders will be discounted at $105, plus fees.

The Cubs canceled the event in 2021 and 2022 because of COVID-19 health-and-safety concerns. The convention was the first fan event of its kind in baseball when it started in 1986.

”The one thing that I think having the two-year break did do for us,” Martindale said, ”is it allowed us to really take a step back and evaluate what are the parts of the convention that are really important that we carry forward and also where are the places where we can enhance the fan experience and freshen it for them.”

The Cubs plan to bring back opening ceremonies with players and alumni on Jan. 13, followed by ”Off the Mound with Ryan Dempster.” Cubs bingo is scheduled for Jan. 14.

As for new programming, the Cubs will have dedicated spaces for pieces from the archive collection that have not been publicly viewed before, including jerseys, baseballs, trophies and awards.

The team also plans to introduce a youth baseball camp Jan. 15, where kids can learn fundamentals from Cubs players, alumni, coaches and possibly some outside experts. For the adult crowd, there will be late-night ”Harry Carayoke” on Jan. 13-14 at the hotel bar.

”Just on the informal side, we know that one of the things Cubs fans love most about the convention is the opportunity to connect with each other,” Martindale said. ”And that means giving them casual things that they can do after the official programming ends.”

The Cubs have yet to finalize the full schedule, but when asked whether fans would have the chance to question ownership and executives, Martindale said it’s one of the team’s goals to ”give as many fans as possible the opportunity to interact with leadership.”

”We’re really interrogating how it’s been done in the past and just thinking, ‘Are there places that we can improve it, so that more fans have that moment of interaction than we have been able to provide in the past?’ ” she said.

This will be Martindale’s first Cubs Convention. The Cubs hired her this past summer from the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans, where she served as their vice president of brand strategy.

”It’s a big responsibility to steward this event,” she said, ”but I have heard how much fun it is. I have heard to prepare myself to get very little sleep. And I have heard that I need to show up with an ice chest — preferably branded with a Cubs logo — possibly some cozy Cubs pajamas to settle in for a late night at the hotel and just experience all of it.”

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