Obligatory catch-you-up: the Ricketts Family is willing to fund the renovations to Wrigley Field themselves, provided they can generate additional revenue for the organization by way of increased night games, increased concerts, street fairs, and added advertising signage. The latter method necessarily will involve advertising in the outfield, which could mean signs above the bleachers, which block the views of the rooftops across the street. Fearing that possibility, the rooftops offered to put the advertising signage on their buildings, with 100% of the revenue going to the Cubs and the City.
The thinking, though, was that, in order to agree to such a deal, the rooftops were going to want an extension of their current revenue-sharing agreement with the Cubs, which allows them to continue selling tickets to watch Cubs games on their buildings in exchange for 17% of their gross revenues. That deal, struck in 2004, currently runs for 20 years – that means another 11 years.
Well, the rooftops indeed would like the Cubs to agree to an extension, according to the Tribune. Another nine years is what they want, effectively making another 20-year agreement.
For their part, a Ricketts Family spokesman has previously indicated that an extension at the same terms – i.e., a 17% revenue share – is a non-starter. The suggestion there is that, if the deal is to be continued or extended, the Cubs are going to want a bump.
The tricky part is going to be finding a compromise zone that makes sense for both sides. That is to say, it is possible that the Cubs’ internal calculations show the amount of revenue share they’ll need, together with rooftop advertising, to match what they could make with their own in-stadium advertising is more than the rooftops can give while staying in business. (And that is to say nothing of then the long-term possibility of buying the rooftop buildings on the relative cheap if those companies are put out of business. As ugly as that sounds, the Cubs likely have that possibility figured into their financial calculations, as well.)
Increasingly, it looks like the two sides are going to resolve this amicably together … or there’s going to be a huge fight, probably culminating in lawsuits. I’m not sure what any other outcome would look like.