Ricketts threatens to move Cubs without OK for Wrigley upgrades

By Ameet Sachdev Tribune reporter

Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts for the first time threatened to move the team out of Wrigley Field if the team doesn’t get approval for more signs in the outfield, including a giant video scoreboard.

He made the remark in answer to a question during an event at the City Club of Chicago Wednesday, after unveiling plans for $300 million in upgrades to the nearly 100-year-old baseball stadium.

The team’s renovation proposal calls for re-creating green terra-cotta canopies, along with the windows and wrought-iron fencing, that graced parts of Wrigley’s exterior in the 1930s, according to drawings released to the media Tuesday.

At the same time, Kenney insisted the team needs to make more money to compete, thus the proposed addition of more than 41,000 square feet of signs to the stadium’s interior and surrounding neighborhood.

The plans call for a 6,000-square-foot, three-panel video screen atop the left field wall that would be topped by lights illuminating the power alleys in right and left field. There also would be a 1,000-square-foot sign in right field and four new signs ringing the outfield. Those include two new LED signs akin to the one introduced in right field last year.

While all that, if approved, would change the interior look of the stadium, the area just beyond Wrigley also would take on a different, and far more commercial, appearance. Advertising would adorn a proposed seven-story hotel at the northwest corner of Clark and Addison streets and six-story retail-office building on the triangular parcel west of the stadium. They would be linked by a walkway over Clark with its own sign.

Nonvideo, or static, ads would top the 91-foot-tall hotel, as well as the clock tower on the office building. A three-panel video screen would be placed on the office building, inside the plaza, where seven obelisks would carry more static ads. Banners featuring team sponsors would hang from the hotel, facing Clark.

Change also would come to the southeast corner of the stadium, where the site of the Captain Morgan Club would be replaced with a two-story structure topped by signs and a deck.

Add in the updated concourses, expanded bathrooms, improved player areas and outdoor terraces, and the broader idea is to give the stadium modern amenities, create a town square for Wrigleyville and generate more revenue, both to cover the cost of the renovation and provide revenue for team development, Kenney said.

“We have to generate new revenue,” he said. “We have to catch up to our large-market competitors on ballpark revenues, so this project has to work from a financial perspective as well.”

Tribune reporters Hal Dardick and Bill Ruthhart contributed

Copyright © 2013 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC

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15 comments

  • Jay

    I say the the heck out of the city, let then see your backside on the way out. Build in Rosemont another more modern ballpark. That neighborhod will back to being a crime-ridden cesspool it once was in no time.

  • dora

    The neighborhood is tooooo small to hold a major league team. The people who live around there moved in knowing full well they are going to be majorly inconvenienced by traffic etc., yet they complain, complain, complain. I say move the team somewhere that would be more convenient for the REAL fans and stop worrying about the idiots who live around there.

  • Brian Millersmith

    I go to ball game to see a ball game. Not be bombarded by advertising and other crap that take away from a good old fashioned Cubs loss…

  • debbie s

    the cubs are now your business go make your money. wrigleyville will have no businesses your neighborhood wont have money no more. i say move to somewhere ,where you are welcome rosemont is a great city , so is bridgeview there are alot of cities that would gladly accept a major leage sports team. lets see how the rooftop owners will make money without baseball!!!!!

  • Jeff J.

    The New York Yankees are the winningest team in the history of baseball, and they have no problem tearing down stadiums and building new ones. Wrigley Field outlived its usefulness at least 50 years ago. If they are going to spend that much money, they might as well move to Rosemont, build a retractable roof stadium (so they can play in April, May and maybe even October). Why waste all that money on a stadium that will still be obsolete no matter what they do to it? Move on, build new so you can have everything you want (signage, luxury boxes, advertising, etc…). Stop putting lipstick on the pig and start new. No matter what The Ricketts do to Wrigley, it will sill be useless!!! Maybe they could call the Yankees and get some ideas.

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