Obsessive Wrigley Renovation Watch: Rooftop Owners Want Nine-Year Extension of Deal With Cubs

1_PROPOSED_MARQUEE_VIEWObligatory 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.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

44 responses to “Obsessive Wrigley Renovation Watch: Rooftop Owners Want Nine-Year Extension of Deal With Cubs”

  1. MichiganGoat

    Oh this is another reason I really need baseball to start playing, but great job keeping us informed and up to date… Wait where is your disclaimer?

    1. hansman1982

      Good catch…

      This clearly means that Brett has joined the Dark Side and is now working for the rooftops and we can expect nothing but flowery videos about how they just weren’t loved enough as children. Yesterday’s video was just the start!

  2. Die hard

    Solution-Cubs can do whatever they want provided Rooftoppers get free ad space on new scoreboard and on outside walls in right and left Cubs install jumbo trims so Rooftoppers can watch game without obstruction on tv

  3. Section 31........ SHHH

    Now, it seems like the Cubs are upset that rooftop are slowly sending their message to the public according to dnainfo.com Chicago under neighborhood/Lakeview & Wrigleyville Now that seems a bit hypocritical from The Cubs Since they used Cubs Convention to promote their plans and intention on how they want to renovate Wrigley Field thru thier fan base and media outlets. without any contact with the rooftops.

  4. Die hard


    1. MichiganGoat

      Um you misspelled steroids

      1. Jacob


  5. itzscott

    I wasn’t a fan of the rooftops when they first appeared and now I don’t care one way or the other about them.

    I’d just like this whole issue settled already so the rest can move forward.

  6. itzscott

    Just wondering if anyone did an analysis of how signage above the bleachers would effect the wind blowing in or create some sort of vortex when the wind blows out and how that could effect pitchers, batters and outfielders?

    1. Cubbie Blues

      With rotational signage we could use it to our advantage just like when Parcells used to open the endzone in NY for fieldgoals.

  7. North Side Irish

    Chicago Cubs Rumors ‏@cubs1611
    According to DR newspaper @listindiario #cubs RHP Carlos Marmol is accused of Domestic Violence in DR #MLB.

    This should REALLY help his trade value…

  8. ETS

    Do the rooftop owners need the rooftops to stay in business? I always assumed they owned the buildings and that the buildings were apartments and the roof top money was just a perk. I realize the properties are probably astronomically expensive, but I imagine the rent is as well. What am I missing here?

    1. Cubbie Blues

      They used to be apartments but not any longer.

      1. hansman1982

        and I am sure they have the debt to go along with the $17M in revenue.

        1. ETS

          Again, a property in that location, be it apartments or whatever, I imagine you could charge what you want for rent to make up your debt obligations.

          1. Cubbie Blues

            Again, they aren’t apartments any longer.

            1. ETS

              well what are they?

              1. hansman1982

                undoubtedly, buildings capable of supporting the bleachers on top.

                1. hansman1982

                  wow, reply fail…

                  with nothing else inside them.

              2. Cubbie Blues

                Most have multi-level “viewing”. They have bars inside where you can watch on TV.

        2. Cubbie Blues

          where did the $17M in revenue come from? I have seen it a couple of times now and don’t think it is right. I thought the Cubs got 17% of the revenue and they received $3-3.5M a year from the rooftops. That would be more around $19M. I’m not trying to split hairs, just curious. Also, does anyone know if they are the same owners who owned the apartments before being turned into baseballs version of Napster?

          1. DarthHater

            Baseball’s version of Napster. I like that.

            1. Mick

              Not really, more like iTunes. The rooftops are paying the Cubs 17% of their revenue (is it total revenue or just ticket sales?). I wonder what percent iTunes gets to keep per transaction.

          2. hansman1982

            If the Cubs receive a max of $3.5M that means the rooftops bring in around $20.5M, which means they have an effective gross revenue of $17M before operating expenses.

            1. Cubbie Blues

              Ah, thanks. I kept on looking at the $20.5M and not taking into account that the $3.5 went to the Cubs to bring it down to the $17M. Thanks. My first boner of the day. My second was using the term boner and not rewording it.

              1. hansman1982

                Well then I got my first boner of the day by misreading your usage of the word boner.

                I was quite concerned for a minute.

                1. Cubbie Blues

                  At least it didn’t last for four hours.

  9. Garrett

    Kaplan just tweeted that Marmol is being accused for domestic violence….. Doesn’t exactly upmhismtrade value

  10. Twin31s

    Could one of the solutions to the outfield signage issues (above the bleachers) be installing them on glass (a clear medium), using material like the window decals you see which have a message or a design on the outside, are completely clear from the inside? That way, the Cubs could get the advertising revenue, the rooftops don’t get hurt, plus the Cubs negotiate a bump from the 17% in exchange for the multi-year extension. Sounds like a win-win-win.

    1. Cubbie Blues

      How exactly would these “glass signs” be supported? The support structure required to withstand the weight, wind sheer plus safety factors would be quite enough to block enjoyable viewing.

  11. Gcheezpuff

    I hope something gets worked out. I dig the rooftop experience. My company sometimes uses them for sales events which basically means I get to go watch a cubs game on company coin. It isn’t the same as being in Wrigley, but it is a cool experience of it’s own right. Also a good way to start a bachelor or birthday party night out in Chicago.

  12. Fastball

    My offer to move the Cubs to Tennessee still stands. I don’t think this is going to be solved without a fight. I think the Mayor should step in and state how it’s going to be and put an end to it.
    Who is more important to the city of Chicago. The Cubs or people in a neighborhood and some bar owners? Anywhere else in the US the city would annex the land they all reside on and call it a sportsplex. Bulldoze the buildings they annex and turn it into parking lots. Parking Lots make a ton of money. If they were city owned that makes the Mayor look good. $10 x 15K fans per game. $150K a home game $12.75M a year. We get our signs and the city gets the parking revenue. We can play as many night games as we want because there won’t be anyone close enough to the stadium to bitch about it.

    1. DarthHater

      More room for the coyotes to roam, too!

    2. Kevin

      Eminent domain

  13. Die hard

    Put holograms above wall-transparent and would entertain fans and rooftoppers

  14. RichP

    I think it would be great for the Cubs to push the rooftop owners out. Drive down the value of the buildings and the Cubs could buy them. The possibilities for expansion would be fantastic. I’ve been harping for the last year on this site that the Cubs should buy the buildings,tear them down and close off Waveland and Sheffield. Then they could expand the park into the street making room for larger concession areas and better locker room facilities.

    1. Pat

      Owning real estate on both sides of a street does not give you the right to close off a public street and use it for your own purposes.

  15. Kevin

    Please don’t extend contract with the rooftop owners, the Cubs already have a long contract with Comcast which limits its revenue potential.