Wrigley Field Restoration Update: Ricketts Threatens to Move Out of Wrigley If Signs Are Not Approved

Tom Ricketts met with the media on Wednesday morning at the City Club of Chicago to discuss the Wrigley Field Restoration plans that were released Tuesday night.

For the first time publically, Tom Ricketts has threatened to move the Cubs out of Wrigley Field if they are not able to add the signs inside Wrigley Field necessary to generate the revenue to restore Wrigley.

Tom Ricketts addressed a number of subjects, plus what the impact of the restoration deal being approved will have on the Cubs’ baseball budget.

Here are numerous reports that were tweeted during the press conference from David Kaplan, Patrick Mooney, Gordon Wittenmyer, Danny Ecker (Crain’s Chicago Business) and Serena Dai (DNAInfo Chicago.com).

I recommend taking the time to read all of the information from this morning’s press conference.

  • Ricketts says that the new Wrigley will generate 94 million in additional revenue for the community and city.
  • Says Cubs spend 15 mil in deferred maintenance on aging baseball stadium.Says only Yankees pay more amusement taxes than Cubs
  • Ricketts digs at Wrigley rooftops use of Groupon to sell tickets
  • Says that not only do Cubs have restrictions that no other team has but that every other team in division has a new publicly funded stadium.
  • Says “I knew the problems when we bought the team. That doesn’t matter. The problems still have to be addressed.”
  • “Just let us run our business like a business. We want to win and run our business without outside influences having a voice in our business”
  • Ricketts says Cubs are looking for $20 million annually in new outfield advertising.
  • Ricketts says he hopes public keeps an “open mind” in hearings
  • “We have utmost respect for public process and we thank Mayor Emanuel for his support. We hope City Council acts quickly to approve our plan.”
  • Ricketts says players have complained that Wrigley weight room is smaller than their home gyms, calls facilities “third class”
  • “We don’t want to fix what isn’t broken. The view remains the same.”
  • “Signage we are proposing would be with minimum of impact on our rooftop neighbors.”
  • “Our plan is to create a family friendly plaza outside park that will be a benefit to community and provide a venue for multitude of events.”
  • “We’re going to have to consider moving” if can’t do signs
  • Ricketts: if it comes to a point where we can’t do what we want to do, we’ll have to consider moving. (Crowd murmurs)
  • “If we cannot get approval for this plan and our signage plans are blocked we will then consider moving out of Wrigley Field”
  • Ricketts: no plan to raise ticket prices now
  • Ricketts: two rooftops on either side of jumbotron will have minimally impacted views
  • Ricketts: I like all the people that own the rooftops
  • “We need to control our relationship with our sponsors. That’s why we don’t want signage across the street on the rooftops.”
  • Beth Murphy: We still have a lot of work to do
  • Murphy said they need to meet with neighborhood groups and team to discuss signs
  • Beth Murphy, representing rooftops, says there’s a lot of work to do with Cubs: “I’m confident in our contract.”
  • Beth Murphy, rooftops spokeswoman, on Ricketts threat to move: I don’t think it would be a wise decision.
  • Rooftop rep asked if they would take team to court:”I know you all want me to say that.We still have work to do with the Cubs
  • “We are very confident in the legality of our signage plan. We are not making a threat to move. The fact is we want to win in Wrigley Field.
  • Keep my talk about moving in context. We want to win at Wrigley. We also need to run our business.”
  • I am not frustrated. It’s been longer than I originally anticipated but I understand it is part of the process process.”
  • Moving is not a threat. It is a fact that if we don’t have outfield signage we cannot make the financials work. That’s it.”
  • “It’s a big leap to take our proposed plaza and call it Times Square. Yes, there will be signage on plaza but that’s part of sponsorship.”
  • “We anticipate increasing spending on the baseball side as soon as we know what we can do with this plan.”
  • “We need this revenue to compete. That is a fact.”
  • “We’re doing everything we can to build winning baseball team and winning organization. We are building a minor league system and it will pay off.”
  • Ricketts says team’s enormous debt “doesn’t affect the urgency of the process.”
  • Cubs to meet with rooftops in next few days. Signage made focus but number of asked night games, hotel height, etc still critical too

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  • paulcatanese

    Good for Ricketts,outside influence should have minimal impact, and he’s right about City funding, Cubs are taking it in the shorts right now.
    Cubs deserve to make a stand and get it right, once and for all.
    It shows how much he wants it, and I don’t blame him.

    • 07GreyDigger

      I see him doing what they did in Mesa. Scare the city into folding and so far they have. Emanuel is not going to let them leave. It would hurt his ego too much.

  • calicub

    Still doesn’t sound like Murphy and the others are ready to play ball. Wrigley field is an institution and moving away may not be “wise” initially, the long-term dividends would be astounding! I’m so glad to see Ricketts finally put an ultimatum out there, however soft it may be.

    The speculation needed to be ended and Ricketts did just that. “Give us what we need, what every other baseball club already has, or we’re going to have to win elsewhere”

    What’s truly unwise Ms. (Mrs.?) Murphy is that you and your precious groups are dragging your feet and trying to put a strangle-hold on your only means of income! If the Cubs are gone, who are you going to rent your stands out to? admirers of the skyline?

  • jtrain23

    I guess city officials do not realize how pivotal the Cubs are to the community. They can have to old ballpark, the historical structures, the great community, the bars and restaurants……and yes, the rooftop bleachers but if they do not have the team none of that will bring any revenue.

  • BosephHeyden

    I hope the city doesn’t approve. Wrigley is a lost cause that isn’t exactly appealing to good players.

    • jtrain23

      This could be a valid point, but the Ricketts seem to want to stay in the current location and they have created this entire plan to do so. If they have to create a new relocation plan, it would surely take several months/years to complete, which leaves the team in limbo in the meantime. This is also very unattractive to good players. I just hope they can get something accomplished that will help the process move forward.

  • Nate

    Thank you, CCO, for being on top of everything. You’re my first stop daily on the internet.

  • John_CC

    Finally. Good to hear that Tom et al have finally addressed the elephant in the room…played the trump card…insert your cliche here.

    It’s on the table now. Good. Beth Murphy can tell him it’s a bad idea. Right, thanks for the advice Beth.

    • cc002600

      I agree, but unfortunately I don’t think anyone really takes the threat very seriously. Everyone knows they aren’t going to move. Its too bad, but he should have thrown it out there as an option from the very beginning, but that’s water under the bridge now.

      • John_CC

        I think it means something that he stated the fact. I don’t think any believes they will move either, but like I said, it was the elephant in the room and now it’s in the open.

        • DWalker

          On the other hand, the fact that he says it now after denying it so long does show a level of frustration that we haven’t seen so far. Had he been blusterign about it from the start, theres no way it would be taken seriously now. By waiting though, it can be taken that it really is dawning how tough the situation is and he has to actually consider the possibility no matter how much he hates to. Its all bluff and counter bluff though, so until they start drawing up pans for a new stadium I wouldn’t get too worried.

  • Rational Logic

    When you break it down, at the end of the day the rooftop owners have no leverage other than a signed contract. The benefits are far too wide-spreading for the City to take the rooftop owners side. With that being said, the threat of moving makes any leverage that may have existed for the rooftop owners essentially nothing.

    The owners have to realize the only way they survive is with the Cubs. I’m sure whoever drew up the contract as the rooftop owners right now if upset at him or herself for not including a clause about the Cubs relocating.

    As I’ve said before, you can calculate the present value of the future cash flows from the Cubs to the Rooftop owners. With a contract, but no way to sanely enforce it on the Cubs and no real possibility of the owners calling the Cubs’ bluff, I think a payout is the way it will end. It’s pathetic, but a signed contract is all it took.

    • cloycub13

      And who signed that contract? My guess is his initials are CK. Seems to be the root of most of our business esque concerns and one holdover from the previous regime that I REALLY wish Ricketts would throw out on his overpaid bum.

      • SuzyS

        Cloycub13, I’m in agreement. Clown Kenney is really amazing…he has more than nine lives and no one seems to know why.
        In any case, Kenney is usually an embarrassment and PR nightmare for the Cubs…he really should go…kind of along the lines of one infamous dinner that Jim Hendry had with someone that belonged in a mental institution.

    • 07GreyDigger

      The best part of the contract is if the rooftops are blocked and make $0 the cubs get 17% of $0 and clearly they don’t care.

  • triple

    Go cubs go, go cubs go, hey wrigleyville, what do ya say, the cubs threatened to leave your broke a** today!