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1_PROPOSED_MARQUEE_VIEWLast week, the Ricketts Family announced plans to include a state-of-the-art athletic facility, provided by the Chicago Athletic Club, in the hotel the family plans to build across the street from Wrigley Field once the renovation plans are approved. The announcement was viewed by many as something of a pressure tactic, designed to pressure the Mayor’s Office and Alderman Tom Tunney to get cracking on working with the Cubs on a comprehensive renovation and funding plan.

The announcement, however, was met by hostility from both the Mayor and the Alderman. The former simply didn’t like the Cubs trying to apply public pressure, and the latter continues to oppose any renovation plans until certain benefits are guaranteed to the neighborhood (which probably includes a definitive agreement with the rooftops not to block their views into Wrigley Field).

Fortunately, shortly after everyone made their public comments, Mayor Emanuel summoned both Tom Ricketts and Alderman Tunney to a meeting, probably designed to keep things moving along.

A source told the Tribune that “progress” was made at the meeting, but added that “the Mayor thinks this deal should have been finished a long time ago.”

The Sun-Times adds that the biggest holdup right now, per a Cubs source, is the fight between the Cubs and the rooftops/Tunney regarding signs in the ballpark, which have the potential to block rooftop views. You may recall that the rooftops have offered to host ad signage on their buildings, with all revenue going to the Cubs (in exchange for an extension of their deal with the Cubs, and an agreement not to block any of their views), but the Cubs have generally resisted that plan, saying publicly that ads inside the ballpark are much more valuable.

Interestingly, an earlier version of the Sun-Times piece had a great deal more detail on the meeting at the Mayor’s Office. A source described the meeting as “fine,” with “no fireworks,” and said that night games were also discussed. The Cubs would like to increase the number of night games allowed at Wrigley Field as one of the funding mechanisms for the renovation (together with increased ad signage, more concerts, and street fairs outside the park). The source said if the Cubs and rooftops can come to an agreement on ad signage, the Mayor “may be prepared to lift the 30-game-per-season ceiling on the number of night games to 44 or 45 games, with some of the dates reserved for concerts and six to ten 3:05pm starts could also be a part of the mix.”

Why was that removed from the story? Misquoted? One of the sides put in a frantic call to ask for that piece’s removal because it hurt negotiating position? Maybe Tunney didn’t want neighborhood folks to know that he was using night games as leverage to get a better deal for the rooftops? I’m just spit-ballin’, because I really have no idea. It’s curious, though.

I still believe there’s a compromise here that minimally satisfies all sides. The Cubs and the Ricketts Family have, in my opinion, already bent considerably, in large part by trying to fund the renovation – and the nice additions around the ballpark – all by themselves. Other folks need to do some bending.

[Note: BN has an advertising relationship with some of the rooftops, but that relationship has not impacted how I've been covering this ongoing story.]

  • Blublud

    I say Middle finger to the rooftop A-holes. Ricketts should bend no more. The rooftops should except the deal or lose out. If they choose not to move foward, Ricketts should go ahead and assure them the revenue they have already been contractually assured and block them out on purpose. this has got to be the first time I have seen someone rewarded legally for piracy.

  • MJ

    Ironically, with the whole “Committed” ad campaign, the only solution here is divorce. Tear up the deal with the roofies and go your separate ways. Let them take their chances. Since they are so “vital” to the Wrigley experience, they should do fine, right?

    I believe the Toyota sign brings in about as much that 17% from the rooftops does. A few more of those, the Cubs are doing way better.

  • CubFan Paul

    “the rooftops have offered to host ad signage on their buildings, with all revenue going to the Cubs…”

    wouldn’t like 70% of that proposal go to the City for Tunney’s demands leaving the Cubs barely a fraction of what inside the park ads would generate?

    • CubFan Paul

      Tunney got to Brett.

  • Kevin

    Tunney accepts bribes, isn’t that illegal and shouldn’t he be in prison with the rest of the politicians from Illinois? The rest of American must be laughing their asses off watching this drama unfold.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Easy now. Let’s not go accusing guys of illegal activity quite so directly. The BN official position is that Tunney does not accept bribes or engage in any illegal activity.

      • CubFan Paul

        BUT if you donate to his “charity” he’ll be more receptive..he’s a bribe taker, even in that ‘legal’ sense.

      • DarthHater

        What is BN’s official position on the rumors that Tunney had an illegitimate child with a goat? :-P

        • notcubbiewubbie

          now that’s funny.

        • cjdubbya

          How can you prove that?

          • DarthHater

            You see? The public is now clamoring for DNA testing! This story’s got legs!! ;-)

        • MichiganGoat

          :) if that’s true I sure haven’t received any of the benefits of being a Wrigley child.

  • fromthemitten

    It’s good to see that Rahm is taking time away from his busy schedule destroying the public schools system and fucking over the teachers to address this issue

  • rbreeze

    All politicians in Chicago get a piece of the pie. We know that. You want to see Tunney scramble and change his tune, let someone float a rumor that the Cubs are considering building a new Wrigley Field somewhere else. Then Tunney will bend to save his ass!!! All of the businesses in that community need the Cubs more than the Cubs need them.

  • Curt

    sure alderman Tunney yr constituents may steal out product for chump change of course we’d like to put our own signs up and make money on our own product, yes mr. Tunney well make sure to support ur favorite charity ( wink wink ) enough of this bs already the whole thing is just rediculous the rooftop owners and Tunney should just get bent.

  • Rich

    On a lighter side…just got my new BN T-shirt…I passed on the thong at this time.

  • cubchymyst

    This seems like a fair compromise to me: Cubs get the extra night games, the rooftops put up advertisements which the Cubs get 100% profit from, and the Cubs get an increase percentage of the rooftop ticket sales (to get only 17% is idiotic) to make up some of the advertisement difference. The rooftops get to keep their views unblocked.

    One problem that might arise is the visibility of the advertisements during night games. The ads will need to be lite up so that they can been seen during night game broadcasts.

  • medler312

    I believe the bottom line is that this will happen.

    IMHO…Right now there’s a lot of political face saving going on for Tunney. Rahm is trying to help Tunney out because I’m speculating that everyone already knew about the athletic club, but its release made Rahm and…especially Tunney…look bad.

    The night game negotiation is also a part of this stuff. A leak? For sure. But this is all trying to save Tunney’s face right now. It’s some obvious political score keeping and face saving going on at City Hall.

    So…everyone will sit on the announcement until right around Opening Day.

  • Jim L.

    I wonder how many of the rooftop owners actually live in Wrigleyville? I think Murphy’s owns two buildings, George Soukas (who owns a few bars in Wrigleyville) also owns 2-3 buildings. So Tunney is really holding up the renovations for the benefit of about 10 people who own the 16 buildings.

  • itzscott

    Let’s be honest here…. There will only be so much ad space available within Wrigley and only so much ad space available on the rooftops, which will create a supply/demand market for the available ad space.

    If, as the Cubs claim, that they can charge more for ad space within Wrigley…..

    Wouldn’t the easy solution to this impasse be for the Cubs to charge for rooftop ad space what they would have charged for inside Wrigley ad space?

    If it was me I think I’d initially secure the rooftop ad space and then somewhere down the line revisit putting ads within Wrigley…. thus at some point drawing ad revenue from both.

    If the team does well…. which is the underlying reason for all this, then the Cubs will draw more “eyeballs” both at Wrigley and on TV to be able to up what they charge for either or both.

    The whole thing is being made more complicated than it needs to be.

  • True Blue

    In all reality, The Cubs have a contract with the roof top owners, Mayor Emanuel & Alderman Tunney should keep their fingers out if it and Just deal with the Cubs issues.
    The way this is dragging out, it is starting to smell like the roof top owners are filling both the Mayor’s and Alderman’s Pockets.

    The Roof Top Owners group is a separate Business that feeds off the Cubs, The Cubs have their own Business to handle.

    As I have said many times before, there are many suburbs that would welcome the Cubs with open arms and little if any strings attached.

    What Emanuel and Tunny should remember is the amount of tax money that just having a professional sports brings in, I seem to remember the White Sox and Reinsdorf holding the state hostage to get their sweetheart deal and a new stadium, Mr. Ricketts and Family just want to do their business like every other Pro Sports team in the city is doing.

  • Curt

    hey Brett maybe you could refresh my memory for me but when did wrigley field aquire the landmark status and why it did, I mean was it designed to keep the cubs from modernizing the ballpark. thanks

  • Jeff R

    Tunney needs to remember that the Cubs are part of his constituents too. It’s kinda lame that he doesn’t realize the Cubs are a business he needs to protect and it’s probably the most important business in his ward.

  • Ed Wiese

    I see the part on the 3:05 or 3;20 starts as the blocking point. We need the later start times on Fridays if we are coming back from a West Coast Trip and dont get back to O’Hare until 11:30 or later!

  • Barroof

    Hey Blublud, it’s not piracy when the Cubs signed a contract with the rooftop owners. Get your facts straight. On a side note that Toyota sign should have left with Fukudome.

    • Blublud

      Hey Baroof, its clear you are in this with the rooftops, and if you are, screw you and them too. I wish the rooftop owners as far their business goes a slow and painful death. They were originally stealing, unfortunately, a less educated group owned the Cubs at the time and allowed it to happen. I feel Ricketts would never have allowed this mess and will never sign an extension, which is why the rooftops are acting this way. They know the current contract they have, will be the last contract they have. They are trying to use non-existing leverage to get an extension and it will never happen. I could careless if those buildings collapsed right now, as long as no one was hurt. I say block them out. Block them out on purpose. The Ricketts own the Cubs and so they should control who can and can’t profit from it.

      • MichiganGoat

        So your legal advice is screw them and anyone else that disagrees with you? You sure you’re not an alderman?

        • Blublud

          Nah, not my legal advice, just my personal opinion. I think these people are making a profit without any of the risk of running the business, and yet they wanna tell the man who owns the busines, who is financing the whole thing out of his pockets, who has all the risk what he can and can’t do. I’m not a lawyer and I have no legal advice whatsoever, I only have my personal opinion and that opinion is I hope the rooftop owners get royally screwed in the end.

          • Pat

            I’m not sure if you’re familiar with how the rooftops got started. At one point the city came up to the building owners and said they could not longer have anyone (themselves, tenants, etc.) on the roof with the same structural upgrades needed to support hundreds of people. To the tune of millions per building. So as a result, they became business so that they would have any chance of ever making that money back. To say they have no risk is simply wrong.

            • Pat

              Without the same upgrades

              • BluBlud

                So. My house need some new strutual support. You think I can sell tickets of the view out of my laundry room window of my neighbors having sex with their blinds in the bedroom open so I can cover those expenses.

  • Pat

    They never stole anything. The Cubs chose to play in view of their buildings.

    • caryatid62

      Given that almost none of those buildings predate Wrigley Field, I believe you have it the wrong-way-round.

      • Pat

        It is a public performance. It would be like saying someone who lives close enough to Ravinia to hear the shows in their backyard is stealing the product.

        To your other point, people were watching the games from the rooftops back when the Cubs couldn’t even draw 10,000 half the time. And the Cubs promoted via WGN as part of the experience.

        • MJ

          But, if you record a concert at the Ravinia and sell it, the artists and their lawyers aren’t going to have a sense of humor about it.

          It was cute when it was Harry, Arne & a few people with a grill and a cooler, but they chose to raise the stakes by turning it into a multi-million dollar business. Sure, the rooftoppers have a right to run a business and keep it healthy and thriving. So do those mean ol’ Cubs, who happen to be the basis of their business.

          • Pat

            So, the rooftops pay the Cubs – per the contract the Cubs signed willingly – to sell their product, and yet they are somehow stealing the product? I must have an old dictionary from back when people understood the Engligh language.

            • MJ

              Revisionist History can be a wonderful thing.

              The Tribune signed that deal. The Tribune sold the team to the Ricketts Family. The Ricketts family are not the Tribune. The Ricketts family have a mess to clean up.

              Comprende? No habla Espanol?

              • Pat

                Part of the deal was existing contracts. Like thenTV deals. Contracts do not void when a business is sold.

                • MJ

                  Yes. Existing bad contracts. Which the new owners are trying to work around and soon get better deals for their business.

            • BluBlud

              Legally, I think every knows the rooftop owners are not stealing the product. However, Ricketts was not the owner who agreed to that contract. I feel if Ricketts was the owner at the time, the contract would have never neen signed. However, he purchased the Cubs and the contract came with the purchase. My suggestion. Cut the rooftop owners a check each year to replace profit only for the remaining years left on the contract, and tell them to kiss his ass. The revenue from the added signs will more then make up the difference. I would not even consider any negotions that start with or involve contract extension. When this current contract runs out, there would not be another contract. The rooftop owners get full revenue from the current contracts and Cubs don’t have to worry about blocking view from outside their own ballpark or their own product.

              • Pat

                That’s certainly an option to put on the table. But I don’t seem them making that offer unless the changes pass zoning. And they won’t pass zoning until they are defined.

                • hansman1982

                  You are operating under an assumption that the Ricketts don’t have plans drawn up. This is based on the fact they haven’t shown the public the plans.

                  When was the last time anyone building anything showed the public the detailed blueprints of their plans? This is why the architects draw up nice looking pictures of what is to be done. So they can sell the purchaser and the public.

                  • Pat

                    Any business looking for variances needs to publicly present the plans before the city, neighborhood, etc. The Cubs have not done this. If they have the plans yet have not done this, then they are the ones causing the delay, as that will need to happen prior to any approvals.

                    • Cubbie Blues

                      The plans would first be shown the the officials privately before any public hearing. Public hearings are for show anyway.

                      All decisions have already been made before any votes are cast. In fact, all parties already know the outcome of the votes before the first is cast.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      You really think that’s what the delay is about? The Cubs’ unwillingness to unveil the plans or to create them in the first place? You think the Mayor and the Alderman are in these meetings with Tom Ricketts saying, “hey dude, you got those plans to show us yet? That’s all we’re waiting for, you know” ?

                    • Pat

                      Tunney, yes. The neighborhood has been burned by the team before and I believe they want specifics before they sign off on any deals again. They still don’t have the Triangle development they were promised almost a decade ago. Which was supposed to include parking in the rough plan they actually agreed to, but was later, after the team gt their part of the deal, changed to eliminate the parking in favor of things the team wanted more.

        • BluBlud

          So, the residents in those building have a right to look out thier windows and stand on their roofs. However, they do not have a right to profit from the product that is seen when looking out their windows and standing on their rooftops if they do not provide that product. And even if they do have a right to make a profit, they do not have a right to keep the provider of that product from blocking the view of that product so that the owner of that product can maximize his earnings from his own product. Either way you look at it, the rooftop owners are wrong.

          • Pat

            What exactly is it the team wants to do? Apparently they forgot to include that part in the renderings. Why should the city, neighborhood, or rooftops blindly agree to some vauge plan? After the team screwed the neighborhood on the bleacher expansion (how’s that parking on the triangle parcel coming along?), I don’t blame them in the least for wanting actual details of the changes before approving them.

            • BluBlud

              It’s pretty clear you either own or work for the rooftops. I hope you get screwed. The Ricketts shouldn’t need permission to anything from the city that any other business that wants to expand needs. I’m thinking several building permits and a safety agree with OSHA. Who in the Hell do you think you are to tell a private business owner what the hell he can do with his business. Who in the hell does Rahm Emanuel and Tunney and any other politician think they are to tell this man what he can do with his private business and private own buildings and land. As long as he is following building codes, OSHA safety code, and anything other codes, and take awah that stupid landmark crap, he should have a right to do what ever he pleases. He doesn’t need your permission to do shit. I’m starting to join the crowd of people who think Ricketts should just pack up and leave Chicago. I can’t think of any other place where he would have to deal with this crap.

              • Pat

                I have no affiliation at all with any rooftop. I was on one once and thought it was a terrible deal. I’m all for removing the landmark restrictions, but that doesn’t remove zoning laws. Every business has to deal with those, and if you want approval for variances, you actually have to provide the city with plans. Not drawings, but actual plans.

                • King Jeff

                  This is where things start to confuse me a bit. What exactly are the limits due to zoning laws? Is the concern that the surrounding area is in a residential zone, and not a commercial one? If that’s true, then the rooftops should no longer be considered residential because they are for-profit businessesn, correct? Is the problem of zoning because it will limit where the Cubs can put signs? I honestly don’t see any hold-up to this getting done besides the rooftop owners crying foul on the advertisement and the usage of a street that’s already closed off for games. Am I missing something? A few things? Someone help me out because this issue is both frustrating and infuriating to me.

  • Billy Garbowokitz

    Considering the rooftops are the biggest hurdle in our Cubs getting money to win a World Series or so we hope; BN should not be accepting monies from the devil.

    • Dale’s Ear

      I’m sure Brett values providing for his kids at least slightly more than a Cubs world series, but I bet he might consider dropping them if you offered to reimburse him.

  • Kevin

    Appears the majority of all posts are against the rooftop owners, the few who are in favor are most likely the rooftop owners themselves. Hopefully Brett will take a hard stand against the RT owners and he’ll get more revenue from other advertisers.

  • ruby2626

    Why does the alderman care so much about protecting the rooftop owners? Oh yeah, if I’m not mistaken they have given him millions of dollars over the years. Gee that’s not a major conflict of interest. Maybe if the Cubs donate more than the rooftop owners he’ll work for them. This whole mess stinks, like someone on the SCORE said the other day it’s the tail wagging the dog. I’m with a lot of callers to this show, screw the city and move to the burbs. Let’s see how the rooftop owners like seeing their property values drop by 2/3rds.

  • Coal

    Any renegotiated deal with the Rooftop owners should include a minimum price at which they can sell their packages. If the Rooftop owners hadn’t increased their capacity by 5x (or more) while slashing prices I’m sure Ricketts would (more or less) leave them alone. It’s bad enough that they are stealing the product, but they are essentially giving away the stolen product because they overbuilt during the 2003-2008 boom years. That, more than anything else, it what hurts the Cubs. And it leaves the Rooftop owners in a position that is very hard to sympathize with. No way those places are safe, either, by any legitimate fire or building code rules. But, of course, they have “negotiated” lax enforcement.

    • BluBlud

      Any renegotiations with the rooftops should include no deal. The addition revenue is minute and provide the Cubs virtually nothing.

  • Coal

    There are definitely two camps here: 1) pack up and leave town, and 2) try to work on a solution that allows every party (Cubs, city, neighborhood, rooftops) to be at least a little better off. Brett seems to think that’s possible, and I tend to agree. I think there are creative solutions here. Unfortunately, some of the politics are getting in the way of creative solutions, due to greed, need for control, and the desire to paint the solution as a “win” for your constituents (Rahm = city; Tunney = neighborhood/rooftops; Ricketts = Cubs fans/season ticket holders).

    • CubFan Paul

      option 3) No extension of the current deal with the rooftops.

      The Cubs aren’t obligated to extend that relationship, especially if the Mayor gets tired of Tunney’s act. Meaning the City/Mayor can relax landmark restrictions, let the Cubs start renovating, and we’ll watch the rooftops & Tunney twist, knowing that the current rooftop deal allows the Cubs to block their views if a renovation happens.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I think that just about nails it from my perspective, Coal.

    • BluBlud

      I’m not interested in any outcome where the rooftop owners benefit at all past the current contract that they have.

  • CubFan Paul

    My Favorite (and most overlooked) Ricketts quote:

    “I have a lot of other dollars that can be invested in Wrigleyville, or not…”

  • Phil

    Obviously everyone is posing and a deal will get done. As a Cubs Fan, it’s kind of frustrating that the Govt. bent over backwards for the Sox when they built their ballpark. With the Cubs, Tunney and the City believe they won’t go anywhere.

    It might be possible that ads on the buildings across the street are worth less than ads in the ballpark, but this must be because of TV broadcasts. When I am in the ballpark, I notice the signs on the rooftops and hardly notice the signs on the inside. Budweiser in Left Center. Miller in Right. Am I right?

    Okay, so if signs in the ballpark are good for broadcast revenue, why not employ the system they do for many soccer games internationally? The ads on the sides of the field are not actually there. The ads are projected on to the field by the broadcaster. Some of this crap sounds like kids fighting.

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