CHICAGO -- Thirteen can be a lucky number for Cubs fans.
Starting Thursday, fans can compile a 13-game ticket plan to select Cubs home games, including Interleague contests against the Yankees and White Sox as well as games against one of their National League Central rivals, the Cardinals.
The Pick 13 Plan was announced Monday, and is unique from other ticket packages the Cubs have provided in the past.
"We really tried to look at putting the best multigame ticket package that the team has ever offered for our fans," said Wally Hayward, executive vice president, chief sales and marketing officer. "It's designed to give fans a way to customize their 13-game package."
The ticket packages are divided into bleacher seats or seats in the reserved seating area of Wrigley Field, known as the "bowl." For example, a fan can chose Bleacher Plan A which includes the June 17 game against the Yankees and the Aug. 19 game vs. the Cardinals, or Bowl Plan B, which includes tickets to the June 19 game against the Yankees and the July 3 game versus the White Sox.
You will then pick 11 more games to complete your package. There are 22 games to pick from if you select a Bleacher package, and 39 games to chose from in the Bowl packages. Best of all, you can customize the 13-game package to your tastes. If you select the Bowl package and want to see the defending World Series champion Giants, for example, you can chose the May 13 game. If you want to see the Phillies and their high-powered rotation, the Bleacher package has tickets available for the July 18-20 series. It's up to you.
"We've never put together a multiticket plan like this with this level of high-demand matchups," Hayward said Monday. "From what we've heard from fans already, this is well perceived. If you look at some of the costs for some of the seating, there are packages that start at $210 for upper deck reserved outfield for one seat for 13 games, or $582 in the bleachers."
The price varies depending on the location and the number of tickets purchased. Fans must order the same number of tickets for each of the 13 games selected. Tickets for the Pick 13 Plan can only be purchased online at cubs.com starting Thursday at 10 a.m. CT.
The packages were created with an assist from a study the Cubs did on primary and secondary market ticket data, going back to 2005, which helped the team establish pricing for the '11 season.
The study determined fans' ticket buying patterns, and the club discovered that not only did certain series drive ticket sales but also which day the game was played on, and whether it was a day or night game. There were differences between the bleachers and the bowl, too, which resulted in the creation this year of the new pricing system. For example, some games in 2011, the bleachers may be priced at the "gold" level while the grandstand will be at the "silver" level.
Back to the Pick 13 Plan. The ad on cubs.com features shortstop Starlin Castro, who wears No. 13, facing off against the Yankees' Derek Jeter. But Castro's number had nothing to do with the number of tickets, Hayward said.
"It was based on the analysis we did in trying to put together a way that would guarantee fans without season tickets the chance to catch some of the most exciting matchups coming to Wrigley Field," he said.
Fans should study the games available now in the Pick 13 Plan. The Cubs have not announced the general on-sale date, but in the past, it has been in late February.
"We expect most of the tickets for these games to move through the Pick 13 Plan," Hayward said. "By the time we get to on-sale [in February], there will be limited availability for the high-demand games."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.