Cubs Chairman Threaten to Move From Wrigley Field

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(from USA Today Sports, May 1, 2013)  How bad do the Chicago Cubs want a larger video board and additional signage at their ball field?  They want it enough for Chicago’s chairman, Tom Ricketts, to threaten to move the ball club out of Wrigley Field if it does not get approved.  The Cubs want approval for a new 6,000 square foot video board that would be placed at the top of the left field wall.  They also want four new signs to occupy the outfield.  Ricketts claims these additions have the potential to add tens of millions of dollars in annual revenue.  The Chicago Cubs’ president of business operations, Crane Kenney, also stated that the changes would be necessary for the organization to remain competitive.  The Cubs have long been one of baseball’s leaders in revenue.  Kenney told members of a rooftop residences’ group, “We have to generate new revenue.  We have to catch up to our large market competitors on ball park revenue, so this project has to work from a financial perspective as well.”  Rooftop owners’ main concern is that the board would block views of the game, and have threatened legal action if that happens.  These owners make money for their businesses by charging a cover for fans to have access to watch the game.

After his intense public remarks, Ricketts softened his tone a bit by saying that the club “wants to win at Wrigley Field,” but he would still consider moving the club.  If generating more revenue is the club’s main concern, moving out of Wrigley Field would make that much harder.  The experience at Wrigley Field is an essential part of the Cubs brand.  Nevertheless, Ricketts says the team will file its proposal with the city on Wednesday afternoon.