Cubs plan party patio, ad board in right-field bleachers

Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts announced his latest planned change to Wrigley Field over the weekend, declaring that he’ll build a “Budweiser Patio” in the right-field bleachers by Opening Day that will feature a dining area and bar seating a la recent additions to Fenway Park. It will also feature, according to the crappy rendering, a giant Budweiser ad and an electronic LED strip board, which would be quite a change for a ballpark that still relies on a hand-operated scoreboard in center field.

This is almost certainly an attempt by Ricketts to generate more revenue while dodging landmarks questions; as Cubs VP Mike Lufrano told the Chicago Sun Times, “It doesn’t affect any of the historic features. It does not change the bleacher height or the outfield wall. It’s a way to continue to modernize the park, but keep within the historic tradition of Wrigley Field.” Still, they plan on going before the Landmarks Commission next month, just to be sure.

There’s plenty to like about this plan — it keeps the Cubs in Wrigley, with no public money — and equally plenty to be squeamish about, if you’re a fan of the pre-electronic brand of baseball that can be found now pretty much solely at Wrigley. (There’s currently a small electronic board in center field, but this new one seems more likely to be the kind of strip board that can flash advertisements between batters.) If you’re a fan of the renovated Fenway Park, though — recognizably the same, but with all the modern amenities like cupholders and electronic advertising signage — this is a sign that Ricketts is indeed headed in the same direction, though he presumably hasn’t given up hope of getting public subsidies to help pay for it.

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6 comments on “Cubs plan party patio, ad board in right-field bleachers

  1. As a Cub fan, I support nearly any attempts to modernize Wrigley in bringing amenities that modern stadiums already have (wider concourses, better food selection, seats, etc.).
    If the LED strip can provide advertising revenue, thereby hopefully alleviating requests for public financing, I’m all for it.
    Perhaps, just perhaps, the Cubs won’t come to the city & the state asking for a hand-out…LOL! Kidding!
    The die has been cast, precedent has been set long ago – in the city of Chicago the TIF program is the Mayor’s (1st Daley, now Rahm) slush fund, and he has no qualms about giving MILLIONS to corporations to get them to move their operations to Chicago…I can envision Rahm providing millions in TIF funds to the Cubs, and rationalizing it as a “great investment into the Lakeview neighborhood.”

  2. Sadly, I think you are spot on Dan. I’d wager that the Ricketts family wouldn’t have purchased the team if they hadn’t received an assurance that they’d get “whatever” they wanted.

    Neil: the new right field stand sure looks higher than the present one based on the (crappy) rendering, which looks like it was done by an art school reject (perspective, boys, perspective). Hard to make an educated guess based on a bad drawing, but it looks like it will be about 30% taller than the present structure.

    I could be wrong, but as I understand it that means they need approval.

  3. Yeah, the article is confusing, saying that they raised the seats but that the overall structure won’t be any taller, which sounds contradictory. I’d make a joke about “J-school rejects,” but the sad part is that this was probably written by a J-school grad who didn’t have time to check their own work because there’s nobody else left on staff.

  4. I had to look at the rendering to see what all the fuss was about. Great Scott; bring climbing gear, people! I hope that floor isn’t too slippery.

    If MC Escher ever designed a ball park…

  5. despite Rickettes’ attempts at an image make over on the show undercover boss deep down he’s sill an asshole. Love the rendering of right field. It’s like a 6th grader with a so-so handle on drawing drew it.

  6. As someone who sits in season seats looking DIRECTLY at the bleacher section being re-done for this (section 515), I can assure you, the height is going to be exactly the same – they are not raising it an inch. There have been shots taken of the inside of the stadium, and it is clear that they are not doing anything substantial to that section. If they were to raise is significantly, they would need council approval – which would take months if not longer – and they have said they will have it ready for this season.

    But yes, that is a pretty awful rendering.

    And Dan, I think you are completely incorrect in your assumption that they got some “assurance” – as the husband of a top-level former Mayor Daley official, I can assure you that anything he may have promised the Ricketts family was long gone once Rahm took over. Yes, he’s a Cubs fan, but he won’t agree to any controversial public funding any time soon.

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