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1_PROPOSED_MARQUEE_VIEWToday, the Ricketts Family and the Chicago Cubs announced that they’ve aligned with the Chicago Athletic Club on a deal that would see the CAC open a 40,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility in the hotel across from Wrigley Field, which the Ricketts Family plans to build. That hotel, a very attractive addition to the area, will be built on the McDonald’s property, and will be a Sheraton hotel.

Of course, it will be built only if the Cubs are able to proceed with their Wrigley Field renovation plans, which will, themselves, proceed only if the Cubs are able to secure the funding mechanisms necessary to pay for the $300 million renovation.

“My family is prepared to invest $500 million into Wrigley Field and the Wrigleyville neighborhood – one of the top tourist destinations in the state. All of this can happen if we can reach a common sense solution that allows us to run our business,” Cubs Chairman and Owner Tom Ricketts said in a statement. “This would be the one of the biggest investments in the city today and a vote of confidence in the City of Chicago.

“Just as important, reinvesting in Wrigley Field is a major investment in building a championship organization by providing better facilities for our players and new resources for our baseball operation,” Ricketts added. “Further, by developing a new hotel and a terrific health club that the community can enjoy, we’ll create nearly 2000 jobs and create $19 million in new tax revenues to the city, county and state.

“Renovating Wrigley Field, creating a plaza for fans and neighbors, developing a boutique hotel including a Chicago Athletic Club will deliver an additional $94 million annual economic impact on top of the nearly $640 million Wrigley field and the Cubs produce today for our city and state,” Ricketts said.

Announcing the CAC partnership today is a clever way to keep the renovation in the news, and reiterate just how good the total plan is for the City of Chicago.

It is interesting that the Cubs and Ricketts continue to announce elements of the renovation and plans for the surrounding area, even though no agreement with the City has yet been reached. These announcements are undoubtedly at least partially about leverage. But I also tend to think they suggest a certain level of confidence on the part of the Ricketts Family that things will get done. Otherwise, you risk creating so many expectations that could ultimately fall flat.

You also risk negotiating deals with a bunch of corporate partners – consider all of the time, effort, money, and information that goes into such negotiations (as a former lawyer, I can tell you it is considerable) – for nothing.

I take this announcement as a small, but good, sign of progress.

  • JB88

    Gyms and jobs are usually a good way to pitch yourself to the younger community that makes up Wrigleyville. I could see this being as much about leverage as anything.

    Try being Tunney and explaining to the residents of Wrigleyville why they aren’t getting a new gym and still have to schlep over to LVAC or XSport or the Y …

  • Rycott

    “My family is prepared to invest $500 million into Wrigley Field and the Wrigleyville neighborhood – one of the top tourist destinations in the state. All of this can happen if we can reach a common sense solution that allows us to run our business,”

    I may be reading too much into this, but to me, this statement is leaving them a pretty big out. If we don’t get what we want, none of this will happen. I’m in full agreement with that. I’ve read everything on here about how they should move and how they can’t move. I would HATE to see them move from Wrigley Field, but if it means a WS title…

    Also, I don’t think they’d take a financial hit at all if they moved to the burbs. If somehow attendance did go down because of that (which I don’t think it will because I believe they’re going to build a long term contender and that will fill the seats no matter where they are), they can more than make up the difference with the old Wrigley. These are big money business people who won’t just let Wrigley wither and die. I don’t know what all the restrictions are during non-baseball season, but they could put in a great Cubs museum and continue the tours, have more college and even HS sporting events, rent it out for corporate events, more concerts (since they get 30 some night games a season, could they replace that with 30 plus nighttime concerts throughout the calendar year?), more fantasy camps, weddings, etc… There are a veritable plethora of possibilities. And, like one person suggested awhile back, they could possibly move one of their minor league teams there and then it would still be a baseball stadium.

    Anyway, I think they gave themselves and out and since baseball is a business and these are highly intelligent business people, they certainly have contingency plans that involve moving.

    • caryatid62

      The Cubs make nearly $141,000,000 per season on ticket sales alone. You’re not going to make that up with a few bar mitzvahs. If the Cubs go, Wrigley gets torn down. You might be able to sell the real estate, but that will probably get you the equivalent of 1-2 seasons of ticket revenue.

      And don’t kid yourself–if they moved to the suburbs, the entirety of their income would depend upon their on-the-field success. And as we all know, that’s impossible to predict, as even great organizations have bad years. Wrigley field is “bad team” proof.

      They’re not moving.

      • Bigg J

        Wrigley can’t be torn down as is national landmark

        • caryatid62

          The four exterior walls and some of the interior has been designated a historic landmark for the city, which means the city commission on landmarks has to approve any major overhauls. If it was unoccupied, that might hasten a decision on demolition.

        • TWC

          Well, no, it’s not. Portions of the façade, the ivy-covered walls, and the scoreboard are local, Chicago landmarks. Not national landmarks.

        • DarthHater

          National landmark status qualifies you for tax breaks as long as you follow the landmark guidelines, but I don’t think there’s any federal law that prohibits tearing down a national landmark. I don’t know what Illinois state law is on the subject, but typically, any actual prohibition on demolishing a designated landmarks is imposed at the local level.

      • Kevin

        Attendance should be directly tied to thier on field performance. Is the “Wrigley experience”, something other than pure baseball, really worth it if they can’t generate enough revenue to field a contender on a consistent basis?

    • Hee Seop Chode

      The whole move to te burbs thing is over. Pro sports teams have been moving into the city proper since the early 1990s. It’s not at all feasible to 30 miles away from sponsors and the clients they entertain.

  • Kevin

    The planned renovations to Wrigley Field and Wrigleyville are a Win/Win for the Cubs organization, Wrigleyville, Chicago, Cook County and the State. The owners of the rooftops are the only one’s to possibly lose out. Considering the Rooftop owners continue to line Tunney’s pockets, where the Cubs have stopped, appears to be what’s stopping the approval from happening. I just love Chicago politics.

  • MJ

    I suspect there will be a “Major Announcement on the Future of the Chicago Cubs & Wrigley Field” on opening day, and not before. Timing is everything.

  • http://www.sportsdanny.com Dan

    If the Cubs left Wrigley, the fans would follow to their new state of the art stadium in the Suburbs and “WrigleyVille” would become what it was in the 70′s – A GHETTO…The City NEEDS the Cubs more than the Cubs need the city. Rahm knows that and will not allow alderman Tunney and his group of stupid rooftop owners to control the situation. the deal will get done by opening day and the Ricketts family will get what they want. TR hasn’t threatened to leave the city YET but as a business owner, you damn well better believe he will leave if they don’t start pressing for a deal (they being City Hall).

  • Kevin

    The city has already proven that they have complete control, something the Ricketts should not have to deal with. Right out of the gate, no extra night games this year, no additional signage this year so basically the city has waved to the Cubs, they just didn’t use all their fingers.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    This is quite a significant statement by Ricketts if you read closely. Before the Cubs message was we will fund renovations to the stadium, but it would be great if we could get more signage, night games and a street festival.
    Today, the message is, “My family is prepared to invest 500 million dollars in Wrigley Field and the Wrigleyville neighborhood, IF we can reach a common sense solution that allows us to run our business.”
    Which can be certainly be taken as we are not going to invest a dime IF we don’t reach a solution to run our business. And playing in Wrigley Field without the needed renovations and upgrades is not a long term feasable. He basically said if we don’t get the freedom to run our club and stadium in the most business efficient manner, we are not throwing any money at the problem and we will have to look at other scenarios.

  • Die hard

    Ricketts buyer remorse showing – maybe the city should buy the team to avoid having an owner having to deal with the city

  • AlbDAkidComeSEEme

    Sounds like Ricketts keeps putting out his plans and showing how shiny the renovations would make the city look, so to speak. As if to say, “Look how much good this will do for the city economically and visually…So, go ahead and turn us down So I can threaten you all with moving the team! bwuahahahahahahaa!!!!!” The rooftop owners and the city are being very arrogant and acting as if they have all the leverage when in reality the Ricketts have the ultimate leverage, the CLUB itself! Im sure he wants to stay in Wrigleyville but I cant imagine he and his team have not done studies and market research on moving the club elsewhere and creating a new MECCA. IMO, Wrigely is great but has no tradition other than being home to losers!! Maybe a move would be a good thing…atleast from a revenue standpoint anyways!!

  • Crazyhorse

    Ever get the the feeling the Cubs do not how to negotiate with the City or Chicago and sign elite free agents. or vice versa.

  • Barroof

    The Cubs would be crazy to leave Wrigleyville. A move to the burbs would cost them 1/3 of the fans that come from out of town and also the locals that go just to enjoy the “Wrigley Experience” if you want the mall go to a Sox game. Always tickets available

    • deej34

      As someone who lives in Wrigleyville and is getting sick of the city’s hard line after paying for the southside’s stadium.. the cubs would NOT lose significant fans moving to the burbs. The whole point behind this battle is that the majority of people living in Wrigleyville don’t care about the Cubs.

  • Rich

    I think many of you are way off…The Cubs are a national drawing team. I think they are one of the best drawing road teams. I do not think Wrigley Field helps them on the road with their fan base.
    If the Cubs did move, they would still draw huge. Wrigley is not the only attraction to the Cubs. A huge large loyal fan base. A state of the art facility would have bleachers and ivy..
    the rooftops can watch monster truck rallies or concerts…or one way football, but the Cubs would draw in Schaumburg as they would in Wrigley….

    • deej34

      agreed…

    • Scotti

      Agree with Rich. The Cubs were only 9th in average Home attendance last year but 4th in average Road attendance. 2011 saw 5th and 3rd in home/road respectively. 2010 was 4th and 4th. 2009 was 3rd and 4th. 2008 was 2nd and 2nd.

      The Cubs place better as road draws (than home draws) because they are the Cubs. Wrigley is by no means the only draw to Cubdom.

      • Hee Seop Chode

        Say I live in Cleveland, oh and grew up watching the cubs on WGN. All of my friends loved the Reds, but not me. Whenever the cubs are in town, I’m there 1 or 2 of the games that series. Before the economic downturn, I made it to Wrigley almost every year with the kids. On Saturday we’d go to the museum and visit millennium park, and hen take the red line up.

        Would I ever visit Schaumburg? Oak brook?

        It doesn’t make any sense. Do you guys understand how much of the brand is in that neighborhood? That building?

        If they built miller park in Gurnee they’d be the pirates; a bad franchise with a long history and a spacious park. That no one cares about.

        • Kevin

          Are you serious? The Pirates have one of the most beautiful parks in the league.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    I travel a lot on my job. Whether in Sarasota, Fla. or Phoenix, AZ or San Diego, when I go to a
    Buffalo Wild Wings to watch the Cubs on satellite, there are usually at least 10 or more Cub fans there for the same reason.
    I don’t think the average fan who lives in the city quite understands the world wide following of Cub fans. Go to a Reds game on a Saturday in Cincy vs. the Cubs, there will be 15-20 thousand Cub faithful there. Even more in Milwaukee.
    Another factor to me, Wrigley is really kind of a pain in the ass as a destination. If you live in the city no problem. But it is not family friendly, hard to get to, lots of traffic, and a joke for parking. And the hotels are very expensive.
    I have been saying for 3 months, this is not going to end well. It took the mayors office an hour to respond to the announcement today. It was basically, stick it Cubs, you won’t pressure us. It is frankly obscene what the Cubs are dealing with here. Tremendous amount of bad blood. The Ricketts should just get on with it.

    • Scotti

      Exactly.

    • Hee Seop Chode

      If you think the Cubs care about family friendly you’re wrong. A family of 4 has 1.25 beer drinkers and no corporate cards.

      • Internet Random

        Every beer drinker and corporate-card holder was once an impressionable child.

        Read up on advertising, branding, demographics, and product loyalty, and you’ll likely change that opinion.

  • Kevin

    All Cub fans should boycott the rooftops.

    • Silly rabbit

      Seems like Chicago is boycotting Rickets buisness meetings, Ricketts is a joke in the baseball world like his little pet Theo.

      • Greenroom

        Very thorough and well thought out comment.

        • Greenroom

          That comment was for Trix

      • B Robs

        That you, Cobra Commander?

      • DarthHater

        Silly rabbit, being a prick is for kids! ;-)

  • Frank Baron

    I take this as a sign that the Cubs are no longer playing pity-pat with the ‘Greedy”. This impresses me as political. If the deal fall through it won’t be because of Tom Ricketts. It might also be setting the stage for a reason to leave for a more favorable venue if the Greedy dig in their heels. I like it

  • Frank Baron

    Hey Silly Rabbit… You’re a dope and for sure not a Cub Fan. I’d say White Sox for you!

  • notcubbiewubbie

    please mr. ricketts play the reinsdorf ace in the hole and tell these douchebags in wrigleyville you mean business.

  • Kevin

    How about if MLB bought Wrigley Field and had every team in the league play one series there a year for a total of 45 regular games per year? It sounds far fetched but it could really work. Local businesses including the rooftop owners could still make out in this deal. Wrigley Field is sacred and MLB could use Wrigley to keep us reminded of the past without losing it completely. Adding a museum and a possible “Hall of Fame West” could also attract fans from all over.

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