Posted July 24, 2013

Wrigley Field gets final approval for $500M renovation

MLB
Wrigley Field's $500 million renovation proposal received the final vote Wednesday. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Wrigley Field’s $500 million renovation proposal received the final vote Wednesday. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

UPDATE: Chicago’s City Council approved a $500 million renovation of the Cubs’ Wrigley Field on Wednesday, according to a report from the Associated Press.

The upgrades will include a 5,700-square-foot electronic Jumbotron, improved facilities for the 99-year-old park and a hotel across the street. The Jumbotron, which will be located in left field above the ivy-covered walls, will be approximately three times the size of the manual scoreboard currently situated in center field.

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The team, which was bought by the Ricketts family in 2009, had initially sought funding for the project from the public but after that plan failed, the front office decided that the franchise would fund the entire renovation on its own. An additional large advertising sign to be placed in left field will help generate revenue to pay for the project, according to the report. On Tuesday, a day before the city council cast the final vote, Chicago’s zoning board had also approved the $500 million plan. The proposal has also had the support of Mayor Rahm Emanuel since he took office in 2011 after serving as White House Chief of Staff.

One point of contention that arose during proposal talks concerned the owners of nearby rooftops, who have a contract with the Cubs that pays them part of the team’s revenue. They are threatening to file a lawsuit against the team if the giant Jumbotron or advertising billboard, or anything else, obstructs their view. According to the AP report, public hearings about the proposed renovations and how to best attract a young fan base had become so heated at times that the team’s chairman, Tom Ricketts, had “floated the idea” of moving the Cubs to a different city if it meant being able to secure the kind of amenities he needs to compete with other clubs.

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29 comments
UnkRick
UnkRick

I am just so glad that the Ricketts are paying for the renovations!  I am disgusted by voters giving hundreds of millions to owners.  Any voter that wants to give welfare to a professional sports team is a damned fool that is stealing from their neighbors.

Rottie20
Rottie20

Yes....basically for stealing, the roof top owners need to fork over a certain percentage of money to the cubs.  Honestly, it is dumb for the roof top owners to argue about anything.  If the Cubs wanted to, and just up and left...what are they left with...NOTHING!  Nothing to steal, nothing to show.  

Roof top owners were are a bunch of thieves.  They profit on being able to see a game that they did not pay for, and worse yet, they charge people to watch a product they do not own!  I Actually hope that they would have put a damn Dome on top of the thing so the rood top owners could not see a thing! 

JoeyBagadoughnutz
JoeyBagadoughnutz

just dont interfere with trying to pick up chicks in the bleachers

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

"...owners of nearby rooftops, who have a contract with the Cubs that pays them part of the team’s revenue." I don't get how these guys have a contract that gets them part of the teams revenue. Can any Cub fans  explain that? Sounds very strange.

el_pollo
el_pollo

other than the scoreboard, are they widening the concourses or offering any fan amenities? It looks mostly like the Rickets family getting increased revenue streams through parking and a hotel, with minor improvements to the falling down old ballpark!

ngk11
ngk11

They will win as many WS in the old new dump as they did in the old dump

PhillyPenn
PhillyPenn

For $500M they could have had a brand new stadium.  I've been to Wrigley and just don't get the attraction.  It's old, I get that part.  But it's not like a lot of historic stuff happened there or the Cubs have flourished in its friendly confines.  They needed a fresh start in a new building.  Most people are there to party anyway.

riley8
riley8

@Rottie20 Perhaps you should learn to read.  The rooftop owner's have a contract with the Cubs.  

dukhobearl
dukhobearl

@Rottie20 The rooftop owners were never thieves. Freeloaders, yes, thieves no.  



dukhobearl
dukhobearl

@Rickapolis I think the article got it backward.  The rooftop owners have a deal where they are officially sanctioned by the club, and they give the club 17% of their gate. 

Brew-Crew-Beer-Mode...
Brew-Crew-Beer-Mode...

it's an attraction. cubs allow the the seats to go up there and in return they give the roof top owners a piece of the action, because it is their property . makes money for both sides. 

PhillyPenn
PhillyPenn

@Rickapolis Good question.  I thought it was the other way around.  The club gets revenue from the rooftops.

Brew-Crew-Beer-Mode...
Brew-Crew-Beer-Mode...

@el_pollo ...... it just said improved facilities and extra advertising for  extra revenue... don't know how you get minor improvement from improved facilities ? 

el_pollo
el_pollo

There have been so many Wrigley renovation proposals over the years, that when the final plan is a concept, and the neighborhood association and rooftop owners still fight any plan tooth and nail, it will be interesting if Wrigley gets the Lambeau field style renovation where the fan experience improves while adding new amenities and value to the ball park, or the Soldier Field treatment where all that remains are the historic columns and the entire stadium is completely redone.  The concourses, bathrooms and concessions need major improvements for Wrigley to add any fan value in a major renovation, otherwise why bother, as revenue generators such as the public plaza with farmers market and ice skating rink, fancy outfield club, hotel, and increased signage and a modern digital video-board still don't make up for the inefficiencies of the current stadium. So if its getting redone, do it up right at least!

chitownboxing
chitownboxing

@Brew-Crew-Beer-Mode... No you're incorrect, the rooftop owners pay the Cubs a percentage - roughly 17% - of the $ they make off those seats.  The article is wrong.

originaljohnny
originaljohnny

@AdrienDaniel @PhillyPennthis is as easy as science: anyone who disagrees with this guy's original comment is exactly as delusional as you have to be to be a cubs fan in the first place. there is NOTHING historic about that stadium, other than it's age and what goes along with it. the place is a gnat-haven, debris falls upon fans who are there to see the game (so much so that they have to install netting), and it absolutely is a party attraction for college kids who just moved to the city from naperville or the east coast WAY MORE than some hallowed place for "True and loyal" fans. you're not loyal to a team, you're loyal to a brand that has made HISTORIC futility an inherent part of its branding. the owner would be wise to move the team to a facility where the team could actually create an environment (systemically, financially) to win which happens to be the objective of playing baseball - not lamenting about storied to tradition which amounts to a bunch of jack disguised as cuteness and loyalty. 

AdrienDaniel
AdrienDaniel

@PhillyPenn @AdrienDaniel If you need a Cubs moment, and again we're not arguing the Cubs just Wrigley which seems to have slipped your mind, I'll give you the Homer in the Gloamin and Kerry Wood's 20 Strikeout game. 

AdrienDaniel
AdrienDaniel

@PhillyPenn @AdrienDaniel You said nothing about the Cubs, just Wrigley. That happened at Wrigley. DrewK, Go to a night game at Wrigley and you'll be convinced. 

PhillyPenn
PhillyPenn

@AdrienDaniel BWAHAHAHAHAHA.  You're giving me Babe Ruth's called shot??????  LOL, there are doubts about the truth of that story and even if it is true that's a YANKEES moment, not a Cubs moment!  ROFL!!!!

DrewK
DrewK

@AdrienDaniel @PhillyPenn @Commander (1) You provided no evidence that the majority of the park is filled with these loyal, non-partying fans. (2) To prove that a lot of historic stuff has happened at Wrigley, you pointed out a famous anecdote about a Yankees legend and nothing else.  If you rest your case on those facts, well then you just lost your case.

AdrienDaniel
AdrienDaniel

@PhillyPenn @Commander"Most people are there to party anyway." Not even close to true. The Cubs have an incredibly loyal and attentive fan base. We havent had a jumbo tron to tell us to cheer like a lot of teams need. "Its not like a lot of historic stuff happened there." Babe Ruth's Called Shot. I rest that case.