Landmarks commission to consider jumbotron, ribbon board, other ads for Wrigley

More details of what Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts is seeking permission to do to Wrigley Field, courtesy of the Chicago Sun-Times’ report on the Commission on Chicago Landmarks, which will meet this Thursday to discuss the plans:

In addition to the jumbotron in left and the see-through sign in right, the Cubs want: an LED “ribbon board” along the upper-deck grandstand; a new fan deck in left field with signs; new signs on the right field wall and behind home plate and a two-story Captain Morgan Club with even more signs.

Despite the landmark designation that covers Wrigley’s “historic elements,” the Cubs plan would also give the team “discretion on all signage inside the ballpark not impacting rooftops” and authorization to take out a lane of parking on Waveland and a sidewalk on Sheffield to extend the right- and left-field walls outward to minimize the impact of outfield signs on rooftop views.

The Cubs also want the go-ahead to restore Wrigley’s 1930’s terra cotta roof line and replace concrete slabs and chain-link fences with brick and ornamental iron.

That’s mostly stuff we’ve heard already, though if the ribbon board along the front of the upper deck was mentioned previously, I missed it. It’s also one heck of a lot of advertising, which depending on your perspective, either would bring the Cubs up to the level of many of their competitors, or would allow the Cubs to drastically modify a landmark building just so they could increase their profits beyond where they are already.

It’s not actually clear what the landmarks commission will be voting on this Thursday: “Is it the attached property or just everything inside?” asked Lake View Citizens Council president Will DeMille. “We know what’s in the planned development. But, we also understand they can amend that.” If nothing else, it’ll give an early indication of whether the commission is going to be mostly interested in rubber-stamping the plans of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who appoints the commission members, or whether it will be asking hard questions about how Ricketts’ plans fit with the building’s landmark designation, which is … what was it again? Oh, right, their job.

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2 comments on “Landmarks commission to consider jumbotron, ribbon board, other ads for Wrigley

  1. I was born and raised in RI/MA, so I have been to Fenway a number of times in my life. While it is still a beautiful, historic ballpark, the place has lost lots of its charm over the years after they added those huge video boards in the outfield. The new seating, especially the monster seats are genius, but the electronics keep pulling me back to modern times when I want to pretend I’m watching a game just like people did 100 years ago.

    On that note, I went to Wrigley for the first time last week. Two words: STADIUM PORN. GORGEOUS. Please don’t change it. I don’t need lots of electronic stuff to ‘enhace’ my game experience — all that does is distract me from the game that I paid to watch. I realize I am not 18 any more (I’m 38) so I have an attention span of longer than six seconds (Squirrel!) and shiny things don’t excite me like they used to, but if people need a massive TV at the stadium to enjoy a sporting event, why aren’t they at home watching the event on their massive living room TV’s that they are already paying for instead of paying blackmail prices for ballpark tickets? (Got mine for less than half price on stubhub.)

    Also, I don’t understand how the owners of sports clubs think they can cultivate future fans of their sports and teams when their main objective seems to be to distract customers from enjoying the product on the field in every way possible. Went to an indoor lacrosse game a couple of years ago and they were yelling promos and playing loud music and doing t-shirt tosses into the crowd during the match, even though there are plenty of stoppages in which this could have been done. All that does is excite the kids for 30 seconds, then they are bored until you do it all over again. Do they even know there is a sporting event going on? How can they become fans of the team or the sport if they haven’t watched any of it?

  2. We went to a Brooklyn Cyclones game on Saturday, and missed a large chunk of an exciting rally (well, exciting by single-A standards – I think there were some wild pitches or dropped third strikes involved) because there was a guy working for the team who was trying to get the Wave started.

    I can’t believe that teams actually do this stuff in front of impressionable children.

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