The Wrigleyville rooftop owners unveiled their plan Friday morning to help the Cubs restore Wrigley Field. During a press conference held at Murphy’s Bleachers, the rooftop owners discussed what they called a “common-sense plan” and a “win-win” for both sides.
The rooftop owners are concerned the Cubs will put signage inside the ballpark which would block the view from their buildings and put them out of business. The rooftop owners proposed that large digital signs be added to the rooftops with the Cubs and the city splitting the revenue.
Under the rooftop owners’ proposal, the signs would generate $10-$20 million in revenue that the Cubs and the city would split and the rooftop owners would not see any profit from the signage. The owners assume the Cubs would use the money to restore Wrigley Field while the city could use the funds to add police protection and other things that would benefit the Wrigleyville community.
The Ricketts family released a statement though spokesman Dennis Culloton in response to the rooftop owners’ proposal.
“The Ricketts Family and the Chicago Cubs want the right to run their business so they can continue to be good stewards of Wrigley Field and save the beloved ballpark for future generations. They also want to invest $500 million and create nearly 2,000 construction and permanent jobs in Wrigley Field and the neighborhood. None of this is possible with continued restrictions and outside business interests blocking the Cubs from generating revenue being realized by every other team in pro sports. If the rooftop owners have a new plan, they would be advised to discuss it with the team instead of holding press conferences because a deadline is fast approaching for the team and the City to move forward.”
The Cubs think they can generate more money from the signage being located in the park and they would not have to split the money with the city.
The rooftop owners have a contract with the Cubs that runs through 2023 that states the Cubs will not block the view from the rooftops in exchange for 17 percent of their profits. According to a report from ESPN Chicago, the rooftop owners “are worried that provision will not be upheld if challenged by the Cubs under the idea that the Cubs are doing a civic good for the neighborhood with the rehab project which would bring jobs, both temporary and permanent, to the area.”
The rooftop owners think they are much as part of the Wrigleyville experience as the ballpark and one owner thinks the Cubs might not have been there if it wasn’t for Murphy’s Bleachers and the Cubby Bear creating an entertainment experience in the area.
Ald. Tunney released a statement on Friday afternoon.
“There are many creative ideas and moving parts that surround current discussions for improvements at Wrigley Field and the surrounding area. I am supportive of ideas to help renovate the stadium. The advertising proposal from the rooftops can be part of the larger picture for preserving Wrigley. I remain committed to working with the Cubs and small businesses in the neighborhood. Most importantly, we will continue to engage our residents in discussions concerning Wrigley Field and their quality of life.”
Mayor Emanuel has urged both sides to find a common ground.
- Full Report from Crain’s Chicago Business
- Full Report from Comcast SportsNet
- Full Report from ESPN Chicago
- Copy of Letter from Cubs’ President Andy MacPhail from 2004
- Rooftops Economic Impact