Wrigley Field Restoration Update: Wrigleyville Rooftop Association Issues Statement

With less than a week to go before the Cubs’ deadline of Opening Day (April 1) to have a deal reached with the city and Alderman Tom Tunney, the Wrigleyville Rooftop Association issued a statement on Tuesday due to being “exasperated by inaccurate statements by the Ricketts family.”

Here is the statement from the Wrigleyville Rooftop Association:

Wrigleyville Rooftops Association Setting the Record Straight

Rooftop owners exasperated by inaccurate statements by Ricketts family

CHICAGO – The Wrigleyville Rooftops Association wants five facts to be known as the Cubs’ self-imposed April 1 Wrigley Field renovation deadline approaches:

1. The Ricketts family does not need to renegotiate their 2004 landmark ordinance agreement with the City of  Chicago by April 1 to move forward with renovation plans. The landmark ordinance protects the “uninterrupted sweep of the bleachers” – not updating the clubhouses, public restrooms and various guest amenities. Nothing has prevented the Cubs from making these improvements except to use the renovation debate as an excuse to drive away the Rooftops.

2. The Ricketts family was well-aware of the 20-year contract signed in 2004 with the Rooftop owners when they purchased the team. Two of the top people in the Cubs’ current organization, Cubs President Crane Kenney and Mike Lufrano, Executive Vice President, Community Affairs/General Counsel, negotiated the contract and profit sharing agreement with the Rooftop owners.

3. As reported by media outlets this week, the Ricketts family attempted to purchase five Rooftops in 2011 and place signage-including a jumbotron-on the properties. The Ricketts family’s idea back then was nearly identical to the compromise solution being offered to them today.

4. The Ricketts family requested public financing for the renovation even knowing they are about to receive an enormous financial windfall. The Cubs have publicly stated they intend to sell broadcast rights for their product next year, possibly even saying goodbye to their partner of many decades, WGN television. Here’s what the Ricketts know: a similar deal negotiated by the Los Angeles Dodgers in a like-sized media market was recently signed for $7 BILLION.

5. Many of the Rooftop owners have lived and invested in the Wrigleyville community for more than 30 years when the neighborhood was much different. Upon engaging in a partnership with the Cubs in 2004, they proceeded to collectively invest $50 million to upgrade and enhance their facilities. The Rooftop owners have collectively paid the Cubs approximately $25 million in royalties and are scheduled to pay another $45 million over the next decade. Unilaterally changing a contract without one party’s consent is unfair to any business let alone your neighbors of 30 years.

Beth Murphy, longtime owner of Murphy’s Bleachers, adds, “Our win-win advertising plan would dedicate 100% of all revenues from signs on rooftops to the Cubs to renovate Wrigley Field and help improve community needs. Signs on rooftops were proposed by the Ricketts family two years ago when they tried to buy a rooftop, so we’re confused why it isn’t good enough for them now. The Ricketts family should honor the contract we signed in 2004 that was negotiated by current Cubs’ top executives.  There is no reason to block our views.”

The Rooftops are a tremendous economic engine creating significant revenue for city, county and state government.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Ald. Tom Tunney held his annual Wrigley Field Community Meeting on Tuesday night. Tunney is sure that the Cubs and the city will work things out.

Greg Hintz reported Monday there is a deal to be reached that would involve revenue sharing, limited new signage and the Cubs living with their current contract with the rooftop clubs which expires in 2024.

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  • 07GreyDigger

    I really can’t understand the rooftops position. They are profiting off a product they don’t own and expect to receive fair treatment. If you owned a grocery store and the neighbors took free food because they lived in the vicinity of it that would never fly. Why should it here? The Murphys here should be quiet, simply because they own a bar right outside the bleachers. They’re set no matter what.

  • calicub

    This is all such a mess. If I were the Ricketts and had the money to do so, I’d buy out the rest of the contract with the roof tops. It’d be expensive with ten years remaining, but could possibly pay for itself with the added time to generate income. Lets do some math:

    The rooftop owners expect to pay ~$45MM to the Cubs over the course of the next 10 years. That is about $4.5MM/year (17%), which means the rooftops expect to make on average about $26.5MM/year.

    I’m not familiar with Illinois Contract law, but generally, if voided, the Cubs would responsible for ~$265 million for the ten years: $45MM in their profits, and $220MM to the roof tops. Thats about $22MM/year for ten years that would be paid to the rooftops. (The contract has been signed and is not going anywhere, so the rooftops will be getting paid either way)

    I have to imagine that it’d be hard to reach $22MM yearly solely on advertisement, but the dramatic deflation of property value to the rooftop owners would almost be worth it. Additionally, such dramatic decrease may incentivize those owners to sell, and hopefully allowing the Ricketts to swoop in.

  • paulcatanese

    Regardless of what the “roof top owners” say, when one sits in the park and looks out at eye level, those roof tops are a blight to the skyline. The contribute 0 to the beauty of ones experience to a ballgame. Should have never been allowed to begin with. No question, the Cubs made a serious error here allowing them with a foothold.

    • Brp921

      Has anything Crane Kenny supervised turned out well?

    • Henry

      Paul, I have been saying that for years. The only time I notice them from my seats down the 1st base line is around the 7th inning when they put their grills out. If the wind is blowing in the smoke come in as well!

  • John_CC

    1. The renovation plan is an enormous undertaking and solving the rooftop/jumbotron issue is paramount to the overall plan because without the revenue generated by the advertising the total renovation is not possible.

    2. Touche. Crane Kenney should have been fired in the FO overhaul.

    3. That was 2 years ago. Things change. Too bad.

    4. What does the team’s right to sell their broadcasts have to do with the rooftops? Nothing. Sour grapes!

    5. Show me any neighborhood that doesn’t look different 30 years later, let alone one that surrounds a major market MLB home stadium? So I’m confused, do they enjoy the appx. $20 MILLION in annual revenue that the Cubs bring to them, or do they want it to like it was 30 years ago? Which is it? Oh, and I certainly hope that they do not think the $45 Million over 10 years – $4.5M per year – is a revenue stream that the Cubs cannot replace or far exceed.

    What a mess!

  • Henry

    Rosemont is sounding better with each passing day.