Wrigley Field Restoration Update: Cubs Demo Right Field Sign, Rooftops Threaten Legal Action

The Cubs played their final home game of the year more than a month ago. Construction on the first phase of the Wrigley Field Restoration plan was expected to begin as soon as the home schedule wrapped but due to the ongoing conflict between the team and the rooftop club owners, the Cubs have yet to apply for permits much less order materials.

As they did in May, the Cubs erected a demo of the city-approved 650 square-foot see-through sign in right field on Wednesday. The demonstration had two purposes on Wednesday. The Cubs wanted to show the rooftop owners on Sheffield Avenue that their views would not be obstructed and to give Anheuser Busch a “better sense of what they have purchased.” The Cubs sold the advertising to Anheuser Busch and when the sign is built, it will feature a Budweiser script logo.

The Cubs have received permission from the city to build the sign and the construction could begin soon according to multiple reports, so the sign will be up for next season.

The Cubs erected demos of both the left field video board and the right field see-through sign in May in order to give the rooftop club owners an idea of how their views would be impacted.

While the Cubs do not think the views of the rooftops will be blocked, the rooftop owners do not agree. Reports from Crain’s Chicago Business and DNAInfoChicago.com quoted rooftop spokesman Ryan McLaughlin as saying, “We’ll take legal action accordingly if they put them up. The current mock-up blocks the views.”

The rooftop club owners have threatened they would sue to protect their views because the team would be in violation of a 20-year contract with the Cubs.

Talks between the two sides have stalled but Mayor Rahm Emanuel said last week that he has confidence “that a final pact between the two sides is going to get worked out, because it’s in everyone’s self-interest” according to Crain’s Chicago Business.

The Cubs have not only received approval from the city to install both the left field video board and the see-through sign in right field but have received permission from the city to move the footprint of the ballpark back 10-12 feet in both left and right field. The thought is that if the exterior walls are moved back it would help maintain the rooftop’s current views inside Wrigley Field.

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  • JasonPen

    The rooftop owners are going to really hurt themselves when it comes time to renew their current contract. Self preservation must not be on their mind. If I was Ricketts, I would build something huge to block 100% of their views and then light the contract on fire. They need the Cubs more than the Cubs need them.

    • Ripsnorter1

      The smart move: LEAVE.

      Get that entirely new stadium with ample seating, ample parking,
      and all the new amenities that weren’t available in 1914.

      • Tony_Hall

        Another option, people need to stop going to the rooftops. We here people all the time talk about not going to Wrigley until the product on the field improves and I agree with that. But why do people go to these rooftops? Imagine if they had no customers for their product they sell which is just a view of another business’s product. What if there was an actual boycott of the rooftops until they agree not to sue the hand that feeds them? How long do you think these rooftop owners would threaten to sue then?

        If that doesn’t work, I like Rip’s idea, except they can’t demolish it, it is protected by being considered a Chicago Landmark. I say move the Iowa Cubs to Wrigley and let the rooftop owners try to sell tickets to watch minor league baseball.

        • AG Ginn 515

          I’m from Dead Moines Iowa, if they do that bring the Chicago Cubs over here.

        • Henry

          The Boycott should also include Murphy’s and Ann Sathers. Murphy’s is owned by the spokesman for the Rooftop owners and Ann Sathers is owned by the Alderman that has been holding The Cubs hostage

          • Henry

            For the record I am for building a new stadium with a retractable roof!

          • Ripsnorter1

            Amen!

        • 07GreyDigger

          This is a great idea, except the fans that really care about baseball and the product on the field don’t go to the rooftops. That’s more for corporate events and people who want to stuff their face and get wasted.

        • Dorasaga

          I wouldn’t mind flying to Des Moines for a game. They renovated the park in 2007 when I was there, and it looks dang nice right now.

      • J Daniel

        Rip,
        I agree 100% with you. Time to move into the BEST stadium ever built … that should become the goal.

        • Ripsnorter1

          You are dead right!

      • jtrain23

        I get your point. They could move the team but demolishing Wrigley would be easier said than done because of it’s landmark status.

  • bpot92

    Dont the Rooftop owners realize that more marketing=higher payroll and ability to retain prospect+FA=Hopefully more winning=Ability of Rooftop owners to charge premium prices and more demand for their tickets. A better team will equal more revenue for everyone and the first step is to bring more money in to the organization to take care of the debt ratio of the ricketts family

    • K_Gripp

      I cant imagine that the roof top owners were too happy about empty rooftops in August and would be much happier if the Cubs had a good product on the field and their seats were full every night. The 20 year deal was pretty sweet for the rooftops. They received partial control of a company and product they don’t own but make millions off of selling the other companies product. At this point the rooftop owners have all but ensured that there will be no second deal with the Chicago Cubs. After the 20 year contract is up they will be at the mercy of the Cubs and the City of Chicago. They can either sue for the short term gains or they can negotiate with the Cubs to try to make the partnership work.

      Either way the loser is us fans. As long as the Cubs are tied up in litigation or the threat of litigation they are going to be hesitant to invest their dollars into infrastructure. I have contended that the Cubs have no plans to field a competitive team until the renovations are complete. That goal post keeps moving further away.

      I hope the Cubs prove me wrong because I think there are 5 or 6 moves the Cubs could make this off season that would make us competitive, put butts in the seats, and not derail our long term goal of building a sustainable system.

      • bpot92

        Isnt the plan a five year renovation plan? I hope they dont wait until its complete! I really think once they get the legal issues out of the way and get it started then they can generate revenue that year and the next year after that once our prospects arrive maybe they will supplement with additional payroll either via trade, FA, or locking up a key player. Until then, its going to be more bargain players and waiting for prospects to arrive.

    • jtrain23

      If the Cubs win, the rooftop seats will sell, blocked view or not. That’s more than I can say for them now.

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  • CubbyDenCritic

    Options are –
    1 – Give into the Roof Top Owners Demands
    2 – Go to court and fight the Roof Top Owners
    3 – Boycott the Roof Top Owners Businesses
    4 – Build a new stadium outside of the city limits
    5 – Call Lugi, Tony & Sal and tell them to bring the “Greek” with them to enlighten the Roof Top Owners of why Obamacare would not help them in their recovery.

  • Denver Mike

    Building a new stadium in the suburbs is not the answer. I would love to see the Cubs stick it to the rooftop owners as much as anyone, but I can honestly say if the Cubs built some giant modern “shopping mall” type stadium in the ‘burbs I would likely not go to another game.

    I was raised a White Sox fan, mostly due to the fact that Carlton Fisk was a friend of my family, but once I reached my teenage years I became a Cubs fan BECAUSE of Wrigley (it sure wasn’t because they were any good). The location near the lakefront, the ambiance of being in a historical neighborhood, and yes even the cracking paint of the aging ballpark.

    Would moving to Rosemont or Schaumburg solve the problems with the rooftops? Sure it would. But that is the easy way out, and in no way in the best interest of preserving the history of the Cubs. It may be a pretty pathetic history of losing, but it is still worth holding on to in my mind.

    • CubbyDenCritic

      Raised as a White Sox fan…..and enjoying stadium cracking paint chips …….that explains everything!

      • Denver Mike

        Initially I was intrigued to know what insight you’ve gleaned about me from my occasional posts here that would be “explained” by my thoughts on Wrigley field, but really I’d rather you just…

        • jtrain23

          I’m Ron Burgundy? LOL. December 20th cannot get here fast enough.

        • CubbyDenCritic

          Will Ferrell fan……it just gets worse for Denver Mike.

        • TheWrongGuy

          100% agree’d!

        • Tony_Hall

          I think most of us agree with you.

    • bpot92

      I agree, the Cubs get 2.6 million fans in a bad year and part of that is tourism for seeing wrigley or the city. Moving to a suburb makes it harder for some to get there and loses the historic effect that attracts fans. Although I’d rather field a good team and and attract real fans than tourists anyway.

  • Denver Mike

    A spokesperson from the Cubs has said they still plan to move forward with the new signage in spite of the threats from rooftop owners. Good for them.

  • bpot92

    Can anyone explain why the city doesnt want this deal to go through besides the roof tops? Seems to me like this would be great for a city from an economic standpoint. Unless Im missing something, it would generate a ton of revenue through new advertisements and create jobs. A 500 million dollar renovation that is payed for by the Team, not the city like Miami did, a new hotel, bridge, ect. I fail to see how this hurts the city in any way besides some view of rooftops. Is there something I’m missing? While I love going to wWrigley when I can afford to, Wrigley is a tourist destination that needs to be fixed for both the on field product and safety…

    • CubbyDenCritic

      “Missing”?……yeah……GREED……that is what you fail to understand about Chicago City Politics…..,,,,Politicians, Roof Top Owners, Lawyers……even the Ricketts…….the need for making more money………everyone wants to make a buck off the other guy…..getting their hands in the pocket that lays the Golden Egg……..if the Roof Top Owners will make it miserable for the Cubs, maybe Cubs fans need to BOYCOTT these establishments.
      More money going to litigation, less for free agents.
      Lets build a new ball park outside the city limits.

    • SuzyS

      The City is pushing for the Cubs to get going…it’s strictly the rooftops and neighborhood threat of legal action that’s holding it up now.

      • bpot92

        But why dont the rooftop owners realize this is good for business? Didnt the Alderson make it really hard for the Cubs?

        • Dorasaga

          It was in the news that many owners want to sell their properties, but the Ricketts would not offer the price they want. It’s really down to money NOW. Nobody care about the future. Development? Better neighborhood? New jobs? pssshhh.

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    how about just don’t charge the rooftop owners anything, and focus on the stadium. Who cares what the idiots outside the park are doing.

    Or…buy the damn buildings.
    Or…buyout the cost of the contracts with the rooftop owners.

    It is all just excuses…go improve that crappy park. The nostalgia was lost on me long ago, once I started traveling and was able to visit modern parks that have all the amenities you expect, why not smelling and looking like a urinal.

  • Eugene Debs

    Does anyone know if there are “out clauses” in the 20 year deal? If not, isn’t the team bound by the agreement?

    • SuzyS

      If there were an out clause, we wouldn’t be talking about this right now.

      • Eugene Debs

        Sounds like we shouldn’t be talking about it is more like it. Honor the deal, right?

        • jtrain23

          I believe this is the correct answer, unfortunately. The team and current ownership are being held hostage by a stupid deal that the last regime created. But as they say..a deal is a deal

          Hopefully they work something out so some changes can be made to help the community, the ball park, and the product in the field.

          Many retractors on here are saying move. I just can’t imagine myself watching a home game anywhere but the friendly confines. Plus, if they ever do win, it will be cheapened a bit for me if they aren’t playing in Wrigley.

          • Eugene Debs

            I agree, don’t move. Hopefully, like you said, something can be worked out. It will take money of course.

          • jtrain23

            It always does….right?

  • George Hamilton

    Listened to Jack, when they did Cubs and Sox. Jack ALWAYS told the story of Clemente using a heavier bat as the season went on. Love that guy…Mr. Brickhouse. Actually saw Clemente play at Wrigley. Willy too, as a GIANT. Saw Koufax and Drysdale pitch a doubleheader, at Wrigley. Santo hit a homer. I think off Drysdale. Ken Holtzman on leave from The Guard. Santo clicking his heels in 69. Heard Jack call Ernie’s 500th live. I was at the game, sober in the bleachers, that caused “the basket”. Remember seeing the ushers kick the living sh#* out of a guy that jumped on the field. Jack, Lou, Harry, Steve and Ron.
    Cubs Fans could go on-and-on.
    For me it ended with forcing-out Stoney and died with Santo.
    Bartman was going for a foul ball, like 99% would have and had to be safely escorted out…SHAMEFUL!
    They want to put a Jumbotron next to Wrigley Field’s, Center Field, Iconic, Scoreboard?
    I hope it all works out. Things change but it will never be the same. Different and a new winning era can be good.
    I think a new park is the way to go. Either way, good luck.
    I can’t remember all the names I’ve posted under, but I’m sure the know-it-all coward and azzwhole can look it up.

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