Ricketts will delay most Wrigley work until after 2014, fearing rooftop lawsuits

If you’ve been worried that you missed your last chance to see Wrigley Field without a humongous video board in left field, looks like you may be getting a one-year reprieve:

The team had hoped to complete the ballpark renovation project over five offseasons, but that was based on being able to begin working aggressively shortly after the 2013 season ended. That will not be the case. The Cubs have yet to apply for any of the city permits that would be required for the ballpark renovation work, team spokesman Julian Green said Friday…

[Cubs owner Tom] Ricketts remains leery about building the left field video scoreboard and large right field advertising sign that are key sources of ad money because owners of rooftop buildings overlooking the park haven’t guaranteed they won’t sue if the boards block their views…

If the impasse with the rooftop owners gets cleared up, the team could move quickly before next season to put up a planned 650-square-foot Budweiser ad in right field. The 5,700-square-foot Jumbotron-like video board slated for left field will require considerably more time to design and build, according to a source with knowledge of the construction timeline.

Ricketts has raised this issue before about wanting a promise from rooftop owners that they won’t sue, but it’s the first time he’s indicated that the video board won’t be built by next season, so far as I’ve noticed. It’s not exactly clear what he hopes to accomplish with this — the rooftop owners aren’t likely to care when he starts the renovations, so this isn’t much a of a threat to them — but maybe he’s hoping to get someone in city government who actually does care to strongarm them into cutting a deal? It’s Chicago politics, so really, who knows?

In other Wrigley renovation news, the Chicago Tribune article goes on to report that there’s been “little serious discussion” of an earlier proposal to deck over Sheffield Avenue in order to move ad signage in right field far enough back from the field to keep the rooftop views clear. Hey, here’s an idea: Why not just tell the rooftop owners that they can have their views, in exchange for letting Ricketts mount a video board and ad signage on the fronts of their buildings? That way everyone can see everything — except maybe the people who live in the buildings across the street (there are people there, right) seeing out their windows, and the new electronic signs would be a bit harder to see from inside Wrigley. Though the latter should probably be thought of as a feature, not a bug.

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4 comments on “Ricketts will delay most Wrigley work until after 2014, fearing rooftop lawsuits

  1. Yes, people live in those units, but it is usually on the lower levels as the higher levels are for entertainment purposes. At least, that’s based on my experience with the buildings in the right field and left field corners.

  2. But what hasn’t been explained (and was referenced in the Tribune article this weekend) is why the Cubs organization isn’t moving ahead with the other renovations that they referenced (batting cages under the concourse, updated clubhouse for home team, et al.) that have no bearing on possible lawsuits from the rooftop clubs.

  3. “…this isn’t much a of a threat…”

    It’s downright amusing. “I’m not going to build this thing that you may not like (and will be of no benefit to you) until you agree that you’ll like it.”

    “why the Cubs organization isn’t moving ahead with the other renovations that they referenced…”

    They’re unwilling to do the things that will cost money until they’re sure they’ll be able to implement the money-making changes? Just guessing. Still holding onto the possibility of moving to Peoria if they don’t get everything they want.

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