The Chicago Cubs are moving forward with the team’s plans to restore and renovate Wrigley Field. In a video message from Tom Ricketts released early Thursday morning, the Cubs’ chairman said, “It’s time to move forward.”
The team and the rooftop club owners have not reached an agreement to settle their contractual disputes. The rooftop club owners are expected to take the appropriate action to stop the team from pushing forward with a new, altered plan to restore and renovate Wrigley Field.
Under the Cubs new plan to restore Wrigley Field, there will be seven outfield signs, that includes a second video board, 300 new seats, new outfield lights and both the home and visiting bullpen mounds moved to underneath the expanded bleachers. The video board in left field would be downsized from 5700 square feet to 3990 square feet and the second video board would be 2400 square feet.
Tom Ricketts released a six-minute video explaining the team’s position and the importance of the Cubs moving forward with the restoration and renovation of Wrigley Field.
“We need to press ahead with the expansion. We cannot delay any longer. The time to build a winner is now. Our plan will provide more revenue for Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer to invest in building a championship ballclub. Our plan will provide more revenue for our business operation to expand and preserve the greatest ballpark in baseball. I know this plan is in the best interest of our fans and our players. We hoped to avoid heading to the court house. But the most important thing is we want to exercise our right to preserve and expand the ballpark we all know and love.”
Statement from Tom Ricketts:
As you know, we have been working tirelessly to win a World Series, preserve Wrigley Field and invest in our community. This is why our Wrigley Field restoration and expansion plan is so important.
We have to put the team and the fans first. So today we are asking the City of Chicago to approve a revised expansion plan that includes our original proposal to add several signs and a revised seating configuration in the outfield. If approved, we are prepared to get construction started.
The bleacher expansion, including the outfield signs, are an integral part of the overall Planned Development and will be a tremendous source of revenue to help fund other parts of the restoration. The revised expansion plan also includes additional seating and open spaces in the Budweiser Bleachers, new group terraces in right and left field, enclosed hospitality areas and new outfield lighting. The overall capacity of the ballpark will not increase from the number of fans we can accommodate today.
Our expansion plan will provide the revenue needed to preserve the greatest ballpark in baseball and invest in building a championship ballclub. We welcome your help in this process.
Nearly 30,000 of you have lent your support to us by signing up at WrigleyField.com. If you haven’t signed our petition, please visit our site to add your voice. We will continue to communicate regularly as the project moves forward.
To save Wrigley Field and give our players the advantages they need to compete, we must move forward with our master plan for Wrigley Field. We appreciate your support.
According to the Sun-Times, the Cubs will present the team’s new proposal to the Landmarks Commission on June 5. The new proposal includes:
- A second video scoreboard in right field, in addition to the approved jumbo screen in left field. The board in left field will be reduced to 3,990 square feet
- Four additional LED signs throughout the outfield, each LED sign would be up to 650 square feet
- 300 additional seats in the Budweiser Bleachers and 300 standing room positions to reclaim capacity lost to prior renovation plans.
- New light standards in the outfield that would be placed inside the ballpark, rising 92 feet, “so that fly balls will be lit from both the front and back; the intent is to reduce notorious shadows that have made fly balls an adventure for outfielders.”
- A 30,000-square-foot clubhouse beneath the new outdoor plaza, the original plan for the renovated clubhouse called for a 19,000-square-foot space
- Relocating both home and visiting bullpens from the foul lines to a protected area under the expanded bleachers.
The Cubs and the Ricketts family are expected to release the new renderings with the proposed changes on June 5, the same day as the meeting with Landmarks Commission.
Ryan McLaughlin, a spokesman for the rooftop club owners, released the following statement:
“The Ricketts family’s decision to unilaterally end negotiations with their contractual partners is another refusal to accept any of the proposed win-win solutions that could have funded the modernization of Wrigley Field and enhance the team’s competitiveness. In fact, it appears their zeal to block rooftop owners who pay them millions of dollars a year in royalties knows no bounds. Unfortunately, this decision by the Ricketts family will now result in this matter being resolved in a court of law.”
Ald. Tom Tunney told the Sun-Times that the Cubs and the rooftops have “to work out some kind of arrangement for the duration of their contract.” Ald. Tunney opposes “the additional ask” and the alderman pointed out, “I’ve been opposed to this additional signage from the beginning. It’s a violation of their agreement with the rooftops. I can’t postulate what their motives are. They want to have as little regulation as possible. I don’t agree with that. Government is there for a reason. We’ve been very generous. We have approved a lot of things and a lot of signs as part of the planned development. I believe signage is a critical part of the money needed for the renovation. They have a right to ask for as much as they can get. It doesn’t mean it’s gonna get approved or that it will solve the potential litigation with rooftop partners.”