1_PROPOSED_MARQUEE_VIEWYou’ve been waiting for it, whether you wanted it or not. It comes up in every stadium financing, refinancing, or renovation story throughout the history of time.

It’s the threat to move.

For a variety of issues unique to the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field, we haven’t seen it yet with respect to the proposed renovation of Wrigley, and the Cubs’ methods for financing those renovations. Indeed, we haven’t seen the threat even as the Cubs struggle to find reasonable support from the Mayor’s Office, the City of Chicago, the Alderman of their neighborhood, and their neighbors, themselves.

Dave Kaplan today reports – an exclusive – that Mayor Brad Stephens of Rosemont, a suburb northwest of the City (by O’Hare International Airport), has offered 25 acres of land to the Ricketts Family to build a new ballpark for the Chicago Cubs.

“The Chicago Cubs are being held hostage by the neighborhood as they look to run their business,” Stephens told Kaplan in a piece that is well worth reading. “We are willing to offer them a tremendous opportunity if they are interested. Bring the bricks and the ivy and we can get a deal done.”

“Rosemont is very pro-development and we have a long history of experience dealing with big business,” Stephens added. “From my position, you have a wealthy family willing to pay all of the costs of a major renovation project, which will bring a tremendous number of jobs to the community. However, they are not getting cooperation from the neighborhood. Even if the Cubs get a deal done now what will happen when they need something else a year or two years down the road? This will not be the last time the community or the Alderman will be difficult to deal with. The Cubs will never have those kinds of problems if they move to Rosemont.”

It sounds to me like Stephens is a Cubs fan who just wants to see a deal done, but, hey, if you can get one of the preeminent sports franchises to drive economic activity to your doorstep, you take your shot. Good for him. If only Chicago felt the same way.

What’s today’s report really about? Maybe it’s just a matter of Kap getting a scoop (it happens with laudable regularity). But the timing of the story, the nature of the quotes, and the convenience that it affords the Cubs is too great a confluence to ignore. If Rosemont was really making a play for the Cubs, I’m not sure an interview with Dave Kaplan was going to be the way to launch a serious bid.

Tom Ricketts is a smart man. He’s known since day one that, when it comes to the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field is the golden goose. He’s also know that pulling out the old “threaten to move”? early in the process would never fly with the extremely, rabidly traditionalistic Cubs fan base.

But now that the City and the neighborhood have proved to be surprisingly intractable, wouldn’t it be convenient to be able to bust out the “threaten to move” card? Doing so yourself in a public statement would be transparent and probably useless – and might alienate a large portion of an already discontented fan base. Tom Ricketts knows this. But would the Cubs, through back-channels, work together with a member of the media and the mayor of a suburb to create the credible pretense of a move?

It certainly is convenient for the Cubs. They now get the “threaten to move” card out in the public sphere without having to anger anyone by actually making the threat. I’m not saying Kap is a mere pawn here (he’s reporting legitimate news) – or the Mayor of Rosemont for that matter. I’m simply saying that these conversations all happen among friends and acquaintances, and ideas are pitched. Guy A talks to Guy B, and an idea for a story with quotes from the Mayor starts to take shape. The Cubs provide some background information when requested, and it all evolves from there. Did the Cubs generate the story? No. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t, on some subterranean level, involved.

Do I think a move for the Cubs out of Wrigley Field is plausible or palatable? I really don’t. The cost savings associated with a move to the suburbs – even if that community foots the entire bill for the stadium (which they have not offered) – could easily be eaten up by the lost value in the old ballpark (Wrigley becomes largely worthless, instead of becoming a billion dollar asset), and reduced attendance. I’m not in a position to speak about the plausibility of regular attendance out in the ‘burbs, but it sure seems like it would take a hit.

Let’s face it: Wrigley Field is special. It’s valuable. It’s important. And a big part of the reason is because of the history and the location. I think the Ricketts Family knows and accepts this reality, even if it puts them in the unenviable position of negotiating without any leverage.

Maybe Kap’s report and Rosemont’s Mayor’s offer helps. I hope it does. But actually moving the Cubs? I don’t think that’s the route to be taken, because I’m not sure it actually helps the Cubs long-term.

I remain open to convincing, though, should this story prove to be more than a modestly clever, but hollow, “threat to move.”

  • scorecardpaul

    The neighborhood could enjoy the minor league games being played in Wrigley Field. They might be able to sell roof top seats at some of the concerts. Let the Chicago Cubs build a new stadium!!! attendance will be fine in a new money generating stadium. Lets move from Wrigley.

  • TSB

    I bet there are a lot of people in the northern suburbs that would love to see the Cubs in Rosemont. I bet there are a lot of people in the northwest suburbs that would love to see the Cubs in Schaumberg. I bet there are a lot of people in the western suburbs that would love to see the Cubs in Naperville. Why not compromise, and have the plays play in a location central to all the suburbs, say Clark and Addison in Chicago? Come on Cub fans, don’t be afraid of the big bad city…

    • aCubsFan

      You’re joking of course. Clark and Addison is far from any central location. Actually, Rosemont is quite centrally located when you consider how the highways merge and intersect at O’Hare.

      • Alex

        AND if the land is within walking distance to the Blue Line, that would be convenient.

  • King Jeff

    “I’m not sure it actually helps the Cubs long-term.”
    I disagree, I don’t really see how a move wouldn’t help the team.
    -Lower amusement tax by almost 10% either means a significant drop in ticket price, or more money going directly to the Cubs. Either way, it would help the Cubs. Ads can be placed wherever they want. They can sell concessions and have a street fair in the team owned parking lots that comes with the move. The revenue from parking would go to the team. I can’t even list all of the new revenue streams for this.

    -They are one of the highest drawing road teams, and their tv numbers are comparable to the other top teams, I don’t believe attendance will be a problem with increased revenues leading to a better team on the field. The area around the stadium is likely to be improved as well. A team as marketable as the Cubs announces that they are moving to an area, I think the surrounding area becomes much more desirable. There are issues no doubt, but I think staying in Wrigley, renovated or not, presents a lot more problematic issues than a move is going to.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      “Lower amusement tax by almost 10% either means a significant drop in ticket price, or more money going directly to the Cubs”

      Not if it’s paired with a drop in attendance.

      And I don’t think your road attendance stat saves you (though I totally get why you went there), since that incorporates fans who come see the Cubs in their own city because they *aren’t* going to Chicago to see them.

      • aCubsFan

        Brett…why do you think there would be a drop in attendance. There’s no evidence that moving to the team to the suburbs that has public transportation like Metra or the CTA or easy access to interstate highways would reduce game attendance.

        • bbmoney

          I have no evidence, but I suspect Wrigley field itself is a pretty big draw. Especially for people just in town on vacation who aren’t necessarily Cubs fans. But I can’t prove that.

          Of course there’s no evidence that it wouldn’t reduce attendance either. So it’s all just speculation.

          • SFToby

            Wrigley is a nice draw I agree, at least until boken concrete begins falling on ticketbuyers…

      • King Jeff

        Yeah, I could have worded it better, but it was more dramatic that way. I think even with moving to Rosemont, people are going to come see them. There are location issues, but there are also advantages, like being closer to the airport and interstate, and the Blue line runs there. I know it’s not ideal, but I think Cubs fans are going to be inclined to follow the team, especially if they get the new stadium and the surrounding area right.

        • Pat

          The Blue Line runs near there but stays in the Chicago limits I believe. So there would probably be a need for some sort of shuttle service, which would make getting to from the games a little more of a pain.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            Apparently the closest stop is about 1 mile from the available land.

            • jp3

              I live in atlanta and thats what we have is a Braves shuttle that runs from the marta (PT) to the stadium. In all fairness the shuttle isnt anymore of a hassle than the train is. I love going to Wrigley but if the city is trying to put the screws to them i think the Ricketts have to explore the other options, which im sure theyre already doing. Btw i go to about 5 braves games a year and 3 of them are the Cubs series for what thats worth about we travel to other ballparks well

              • BluBlud

                I go to the Cubs series every year and catching the bus back to MARTA is anything but a hassle. It takes no time as the buses are waiting after the game and you just load up and it drops you right off at Five Points to catch the train in whatever direction you need to. Something similar for the Cubs would work. I’m starting hope the Cubs stick it to that idiotic Rahm, Tunney, the bar owners, the neighborhood and stupid ass rooftop owners and move the team.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        The exception would be road stats in Milwaukee. Those game are close enough that we could gauge some level of non-Wrigley Cub fan interest by gauging the comparative rates of road attendance in Milwaukee for the Cubs versus other teams, particularly in years / games when both the Brewers and Cubs are hopelessly out of it.

        • Rich H

          I totally agree and the Cubs always draw big at Milwaukee. Wrigley North.

      • farmerjon

        Is there an abstract or some statistical data available that shows where the fans come from to attend the games each year. I’d be hard pressed to believe 50% of the fans in attendance are from Chicago proper. We travel from Iowa a few times a year and it’s a pain in the ass.

        • Lou

          It’s also very inaccessible for the disabled. If I going to see the Cubs, I’m headed to Milwaukee.

  • COW142

    I just sent an angry e-mail to the mayor to get this done! I think other should do the same.

    • miggy80

      What’s that email?

  • scorecardpaul

    I have spent the last 30 years of my life building a shrine to Wrigley Field in my basement. I Love the Chicago Cubs. But just move already. F the city and all of the polotics. I want a world series victory or 2 or 3 or4 before I die!!!!

  • OlderStyle

    As much as I love Wrigley and history and traditions… (my first ballgame was at Wrigley as a six year old. I still remember parts of it vividly.) I want to the Cubs to maximize revenue, be un-encumbered by real estate space and have as many night games as they want. I just want them to win.
    Move Wrigley to the burbs if necessary.

  • DONNIE621

    Wow… what’s the point of writing about it if there is no possibility of moving. Do you think the “Greedy” are going to get scared and change their tune. NFW…

    If the Cubs pull out the “I’m thinking about moving card” then they better go! If the “Greedy” get bested they will make the team pay. They (the Cubs) are already paying.Think about their position after sinking a half a billion dollars into a renovation… madone! No, I think the Cubs should look at all credible offers and get out of Dodge. There is nothing sacred about Wrigley… it’s old, its falling down, it’s inconvenient to get to and it’s unprofitable. In addition you have to deal with the shakedown artists. No turn off the lights, lock the door and turn the land into condo’s.

    I hope Rickett’s is at least looking into Plan B at little.

  • Patrick W.

    I love the way Rosemont consistently trolls Chicago. It was on my favorite things to see when I lived there.

  • fearbobafett

    I would actually goto more games if it was NOT in Wrigleyville. Then again I make my stance on blow the place up pretty regularly. If they are not going to be allowed to fix the place correctly for revenue, players and overall experience then go some place you can.

    Everyone outside of the Cubs is just being unreasonable.

  • muley

    I’ve been a Cub fan since 69’… Growing up a few hrs west of Chicago i have been to Wrigley numerous times the last time was in 08 to watch them clench the division against the Cards.. I have sworn not to go to Wrigley again until there are major upgrades and improvements.. I have gone to Cubs games at Miller Park, Koffman Stadium and Target Field, all great parks that provide good to great fan experience… You see the charm and the so called history of Wrigley has grown stale to this loyal fan…The rendentions of Wrigley and improvements proposed by the Ricketts look great.. But if the Ricketts decide that it’s time to end being held hostage by the neighborhood, uncooperative mayor’s office and Wrigley Field itself it’s more than fine with me…

  • Fakko

    Well, I was always pro Wrigley but with all the political power plays, I am now all for moving out of Wrigley. If they can tear down Yankee stadium, tear down Wrigley. I am in total disagreement with the neighborhood and wish they would just see how much the Cubs brought. I am so frustrated and disappointed.

  • DarthHater

    Move the AAA team to Wrigley and rename them the Cook County Coyotes.

    • miggy80

      Hey you leave the I-Cubs alone.

      • miggy80

        Des Moines helped remodel our park. We just had to change the from Sec Taylor to Principle Park.

        • DarthHater

          Okay, we’ll move the A- team from Kane county to Wrigley, instead. That’s all the neighborhood deserves, anyway. 😀

  • MichiganGoat

    I’m now at the point of just not caring anymore, I just want something done.

    • DarthHater

      If they move, you lose all your goat swag. 😉

    • Spoda17

      I totally agree… I’m almost at the point to actually say screw ’em and move… It has to happen eventually. Won’t be at Wrigley forever…

  • InRizzoWeTrust

    It’s just time to move on in my opinion. If we are already spending a ton just spend a bit more.I’m completely OK with this. Its like the Cubs are renting and cant hang pictures or have parties because the landlord is awful.

    The Brewers and Yankees fan certainly aren’t complaining about their new stadiums, that they miss County Stadium or Old Yankee Stadium

  • bobo justis

    I don’t know why a younger fan would care about Wrigley. What makes it valuable is the history. I saw Don Zimmer play 3rd base the first time I was there, and sat under the scoreboard when I cut high school in the spring of 1969, and saw them clinch in a doubleheader the last Saturday of 2003. For me the only thing that has been consistent in my life as a fan has been Wrigley. That’s what being an old Cubs fan is. Nevertheless, I don’t care if they move to Rosemont. I don’t care if its a s-hole because I probably will never go there, but I am sure it will be more pleasant with a closeable roof and all. And they might be in a World Series someday. (I’ve already proved over the last 50 plus years that I can be a Cub fan without a World Series, and my friends who are White Sox fans are just as miserable as they were in 2004.) And it will make my life better because I can stop wasting time every day being a Cubs fan. I can just stop caring and be interested in baseball at an even more abstract level than I am now. I live near to Wrigley and walk over for ten games a year whether the team is good or bad. I am pleased to think that the drunken d-bags who pillage the neighborhood will have to go somewhere else. (We just got treated to St Patrick’s Day here, which is the greatest hillbilly holiday of the year. Don’t slip on that frozen vomit!) So if they stay, great, and if they go, great. I’m not 12 anymore so if I care that much either way, I’m not living my life right. If you are 12 Rosemont will do.

  • DarthHater

    It just wouldn’t seem like a Cubs game without: (a) trying to see around pillars; (b) dodging falling concrete; and (c) peeing in a smelly trough while rats runs across your feet.

  • Skip Bauer

    I can only hope this happens, will be better for the fans and the team

  • Richp

    Brett. I want to apologize for my earlier post on Cubs pre-game report. I can see you were on this issue,and I guess I just did a “spoiler alert” by mentioning this story before you had a chance to cover all the details. Sorry ’bout that

    • Richp

      That being said,I still think if you love the Cubs because of Wrigley,it shows an incredible lack of character,and spits in the face of the of the rich history of the team. Wrigley field is like the girlfriend that always does you wrong. No matter how much she always say’s she loves you she never does you right. The Cubs have never won anything in Wrigley field. The only Chicago Cubs teams to win a world series did NOT win those world series at Wrigley Field. The appears to me the only fans that feel that the Cubs will suffer by not playing in Wrigley either live in Chicago,or are not true Cubs fans. The Bears used to play at Wrigley,and they survived the move out to more fertile pastures. It appears to me that many of you pro-wrigley fans would be happy with any team that plays at Wrigley. Maybe you can court the Cardinals to come play at Wrigley field. Spend some time studying the history of the team as you do studying sabermetrics,and maybe your love will extend to the real stars of Wrigley field,The Cubs. I know I sound like a cranky old b#stard,which I’ll give you that,but I would love the Cubs if they played in a sandlot. Please,tell me why all of you Wrigley supporters love Wrigley so much. Once and for all I need to know.

  • gutshot5820

    If the Cubs move and Wrigley is a landmark, are they able to tear it down or not? If not, who is responsible for the taxes and the maintenance of the property?

    • DarthHater

      Don’t know what the Chicago landmark ordinance says, but typically you have to get a special permit to alter or demolish a landmark and there are specified factors that the governing body is supposed to consider in deciding whether to grant or deny the permit.

      Of course, as I understand it, only the scoreboard and the bricks & ivy have receive landmark designation. So the rest of Wrigley could be torn down without having to go through that special permit process. However, there would still be the normal approval process that anyone has to go through to get a permit to demolish any building.

      • Frank

        All that is designated as a landmark is the marquee and the scoreboard (maybe the ivy also). They can renovate any other part of the park as needed.

        • DarthHater

          Oops. I forgot about the marquee. It will be interesting when there’s nothing left there but a scoreboard, a floating marquee, and a brick wall.

          • Karen P

            Take ’em with… Duh. Or sell them. I’m sure there’s some billionaire with a downtown office who’s looking to update his building’s lobby…

    • Frank

      The Chicago Cubs National League Baseball Club is on the hook for taxes because they own the park and the property.

  • Craig

    I hope the city and Ricketts reads all these posts. Other than Brett and a few others, the overwhelming majority thinks the Cubs should build new park in the burbs. Why anyone thinks attendance will suffer is beyond me. A new state of the art stadium will sell out for years.

  • DarthHater

    If Rahm allows this discussion to go on for any period of time, he will be being even more idiotic than he has been so far, and that’s saying a lot. I predict increased pressure from hizzoner for a quick resolution.

  • Andy

    Fans will show up, even to a new park in the ‘burbs, if the team competes. And fans will not if the team doesn’t compete, even at Wrigley. Winning cures the attendence issue. I’m all for a move if renovations don’t work. If they can replace Yankee Stadium, they can replace Wrigley

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      “And fans will not if the team doesn’t compete, even at Wrigley.”

      Depends on how you define “fans will show up.” The Cubs were 10th in baseball in attendance last year while losing 101 games, and coming off back-to-back losing seasons. I think folks dramatically underestimate the impact that Wrigley Field had on that figure.

      • another JP

        At the same time, knowing the contempt for which the mayor and Wrigleyville residents have for the current ownership and the fans has turned me off completely. I’ll go to Colorado, Milwaukee, St. Louis, or anywhere else where they value my business before I go back to spend my money in Chicago. For as much grief as we get from Cardinal fans, the employees at Busch and the surrounding businesses have always treated me and my group with respect and class. I hate their team and a great deal of their fans are douchebags, but they understand how treat their guests… same goes with most other visiting ballparks. Even the panhandlers in Wrigleyville act like you owe them something.

      • Richp

        Oh really? Where was those impressive numbers in the 70’s? The fans are faithful now because of HOPE. Hope is a big word in the eyes of a Cub fan. No hope in the 70’s,bad teams,low attendance. Hope in the new millenium translates to high attendance. I guarantee you if the Cubs suck in 5 years,the attendance will also suck too. It is misleading to site last years attendance,and attribute that success to the wonders of Wrigley field. Hope my friend,plain and simple hope is all it is.

      • aCubsFan

        If Wrigley is such ‘draw’, than you could say that Target Field was the reason Twin’s attendance was 12th even though they had a terrible team.

        Is Citizens Bank Park the reason the Phillies had the #1 attendance even though they were a .500 team pretty much out of any thoughts of being in the pennant chase by the end of May?

        Target Field and Citizens Bank Park are new to relatively new stadiums. So new stadiums can be equally a draw even though a bad or .500 team is playing in it.

    • aCubsFan

      So true Andy, all you have to do is look at the Cubs when Brickhouse and Carey were broadcasting in the late 70s and 80s — and even last year — there were a lot of empty seats.

      Even the Chicago Blackhawks saw that if you don’t put a good team together that is constantly trying to win fans aren’t going to show up to watch.

  • DarthHater


  • Die hard

    Time for Donald Trump to step in

    • DarthHater

      News Flash: Donald Trump’s kicking the tires on building the Cubs a new stadium!

      • Die hard

        Isn’t great not to have skin in the game?!

    • Spencer

      He’s too busy feuding with Mark Cuban on twitter.

    • Kevin

      Sell Wrigley Field to Donald Trump and watch him turn It into a world class condemium complex while retaining the field. Each condo unit will have a balcony overlooking the field. The land directly west of Wrigley could be used for shopping and parking.

  • Rebuilding

    The readership of Bleacher Nation is not representative of the Cubs fan base at all. People who read this blog are generally far more into advanced metrics, prospects and the game of baseball itself and therefore are far more likely to be ok with a move. The average person who shows up at a Cubs game would be lucky to know who Javier Baez is. Part of the reason there are so many Cubs fans (in addition to WGN in the 80s/90s) is Wrigley Field and the neighborhood around it are a destination. It is experience unlike any other in sports – the only thing I can think of comparable is English soccer stadiums on match day. The Cubs moving to a suburb would truly be killing the golden goose – never going to happen as the value of the franchise would dive a couple hundred million bucks that day.

    • Die hard

      Or not…. Many do not like the inner city hassle

    • DarthHater

      “the value of the franchise would dive a couple hundred million bucks that day.”

      And I’m sure you based this assertion on a professional economic analysis to which you’d be happy to give us a citation. What? You didn’t??

      • Rebuilding

        Yes smartass, i commissioned a study. I based it on common sense. But if moving adds value I’m sure we’ll see the Mayflower trucks outside Wrigley soon enough. I don’t believe it will ever happen

        • DarthHater

          Sure, why admit that you don’t really have the facts to know the answer when it’s so much more fun to pull a speculative assertion out of your ass and call it common sense?

          • Pat

            To be fair, they would go into more debt to build a new stadium than remodel an existing one. Debt absolutely does diminish the value of a business. If its 300 million to renovate, and 500 to build new, then I could see this happening. Assuming, of course, that the majority of the costs are financed.

            • Rebuilding

              Please don’t talk sense to Darth. He just likes to flame and ask people to produce economic impact studies. It should be common sense that abandoning a $120 million dollar property to go to a new stadium paid for by debt might hurt a franchise’s value.

              • Die hard

                Yea- hopeless and helpless is a bad combo

            • aCubsFan

              Who said building a new stadium would cost $500 million? The beautiful new Target Field cost about $390 million to build. AT&T Park in SanFran cost $357 million.

              The $500 million cost that was sited in Kaplan’s article was the Rosemont Mayor’s inclusion of the hotel complex that Ricketts announced as part of the Wrigley renovation. You wouldn’t need a hotel to be built because there are at least 12 in the area. Additionally, there would be no land acquisition costs because Rosemont said they would give the Cubs the land.

              Economically you really have to weigh the external governmental influences as well. Do I constantly have to play tug of war and battle the politicians and neighborhood groups in Chicago every time I want to make a change, or do I move my team to a business friendly area like Rosemont?

          • Rebuilding

            Lets see… Forbes values Wrigley Field at $120 million which would immediately become virtually worthless http://www.forbes.com/2008/03/13/zell-wrigley-cubs-biz-billies-cx_af_0313zell.html . So I guess I was right even though it was a guess. That doesn’t include what I guess, in my opinion, would be a loss of SOME fan support given that Wrigley is such a destination given its uniqueness. I have not yet commissioned a firm to study this so I will not attempt to put a dollar figure on it.

            Also, a new stadium would either come directly out of Ricketts pocket or be done through a bond issue. Marlins park reportedly cost $630 million. No way the Ricketts pay all of that so there would be more debt that would presumably suppress payroll in the future

            • aCubsFan

              Worthless how so? Wrigley Field whether it has a baseball team playing it or not will always have a value in it.

              Furthermore, the empty piece of property could be of more value without a team in it. You could keep the landmarked brick shell put stores in it and build a huge skyscraper apartments in the center of it and be far ahead of the game in value.

              • Rebuilding

                The zoning in that area is primarily residential, but maybe you could do Cubs condos. I would guess you could maybe sell that land for $10-20 million, but before anyone goes crazy that’s just a guess

                • Coal

                  Land value would be far more than $10-$20 million. Average lot in that neighborhood is 3,000 sq. ft. (25×125). My guesss is that you could fit between 75 and 100 “lots” in there – each well more than $500,000 each. And that’s assuming no high-rises, commercial or other use.

                  The best 2 comparables would probably be:

                  1) The McDonald’s parking lot (not the Rickett’s sale, but the one before it, perhaps).
                  2) Children’s Memorial Hospital – that is also a huge chunck of land in the center of Lincoln Park that is going to be developed.

                  I don’t have access to either offhand, but I’m thinking the land is more than $100 million. (Note, Tunney/Rahm aren’t likely to be real flexible on zoning, but presumably that could be “worked out.”)

                  • Pat

                    But you won’t get 500,000 just for the lot anymore. For a completed building you might get 800,000. But before you can sell the building you need to demolish the existing structure, put in streets, sewers, etc., and then build a structure on it. You might clear 200,000 per building if you’re lucky, taking you to maybe 20 million in actual value. And you won’t sell all of the buildings the first year, especially if Wrigley is no longer there.

                    • Coal

                      I don’t think the property’s highest and best use is single family dwellings or 2/3 – flats. It’s probably commercial and/or medium/high rise. I was just making the point that $20 million for that land was way low – and specifically that the Children’s Memorial Hospital parcel probably offered a decent comparable. I think that was in the hundreds of millions.

                    • Pat

                      For Children’s, I believe the figure you are thinking of is land plus construction.

                      You are right that the best situation would commercial/ semi high rise. But the neighborhood is zoned at three stories or less, and commercial real estate is in the crapper. You can easily lease space far cheaper than building right now.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        Even if the value of the Cubs would dive a couple hundred million just from leaving Wrigley (something I sincerely doubt, by the way), the new TV contract rights would more than make up that difference.

        The Cubs in 2016 will be more valuable than the Cubs of 2012 no matter where they play.

        • Rebuilding

          The TV contract is a separate issue I think, unless the value would change based on where they play

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

            It would change based on the number of night games they can televise, and that in turn is dependent on where they play.

            Advertising in the stadium falls in here too. In Wrigley they will get little to no additional advertising (unless the Mayor final decides to do something). A new stadium won’t have that problem.

            Wrigley itself has value, but staying in Wrigley without serious changes in the way they are allowed to use the building will cost the Cubs a small fortune. Those changes haven’t come out of the City yet. Maybe they will tomorrow; who knows?

            In the meantime, I think it is quite defensible to say that the Cubs, on the net, will be more valuable in a new location than they are in Wrigley.

            • Pat

              The TV numbers change only if the Cubs draw better ratings for night games as opposed to day. Do we know that is the case? I know more people are home at night, but there are less quality alternatives in the day.

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                If afternoon games out drew evening games on TV, I strongly suspect that every team in baseball would play more afternoon games.

                But seeing the actual margin would be interesting.

                • Pat

                  Remember that many of the day games are on WGN with a wider audience then the night games. They don’t want the night games since costs them money vs the CW programming.

        • aCubsFan

          I don’t believe moving from a $120 million stadium to a $300-$400 million stadium is going to decrease the value of the Cubs. Actually it would go up.

          • Rebuilding

            Not if the new stadium is paid for with debt

            • aCubsFan

              Is it any different than paying the renovation and building a hotel with debt? Absolutely not.

              • Pat

                Except they weren’t ever paying for all of the hotel. That’s what “partnering” with Sheraton and the health club meant. Sheraton especially would be contributing a good chunk of the money to put their hotel there. They aren’t exactly a management service for boutique hotels. If they are involved, they are helping build the hotel for a cut of the action. If the Ricketts were to going to have to pay all of the construction costs, it would make more sense to have their own management team.

          • Pat

            Not if the new stadium is financed.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

              The renovations to Wrigley would be financed anyway. Not all the cost of the financing could fairly be subtracted out of the value of the franchise. Only the cost in excess of the price tag on the renovations.

              • Pat

                It depends on what they could do with Wrigley if they do move. If they can sell it all as commercial (current zoning) then the overall negative might be less that the cost difference between rebuilding/building new. If they can rezone it mixed commercial/residential they will make less overall, but are likely to move it more quickly.

  • Rebuilding

    Off Topic – I didn’t know the shooting in The Natural was based on the actual shooting of Cub Eddie Waitkus (who then played for the Phils). The girl who did it was from Chicago and became obsessed with home when he played for the Cubs. In the news because she recently died: http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/03/18/the-woman-who-shot-eddie-waitkus-and-inspired-the-natuaral-dies-at-83/

  • Craig

    I only go to Cubs games at Miller Park now because it is a much better place to watch a game and easier to park. It is 2013, the allure of Wrigley is wearing off. People like nice new places to watch baseball.

  • Edward

    Wrigley Field is really the only reason to even be a Cubs fan. What else is there to root for?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Architects root for buildings. Baseball fans root for teams.

    • DarthHater


  • Die hard

    Lets be fair to the Mayor ….. With schools in such desperate condition how could he do anything but demand that the team abide by conditions

    • aCubsFan

      In today’s economy, I understand the Mayor’s and Governor’s reluctance of providing the Cubs public financing, but what does the condition of Chicago public schools have anything to do with how many night games can be played, advertising signage in the park or any of the other changes that the Cubs have been asking for?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Clearly the Mayor is thinking of the children when he blocks the Wrigley renovations and deprives Chicago of the additional tax revenue.

      Clearly he thinking of the children when he blocks a private property owner from using private funds to renovate private property in a way that would produce significant financial benefits for neighborhood and the city as a whole.

      Clearly the children and the schools must be protected from all the additional tax dollars that the City would realize by allowing the Rickets plan to be implemented.

      Clearly I have no idea how you are claiming that City blocking the Ricketts plan is somehow a good thing for the City’s finances.

      • aCubsFan


      • Pat

        “Clearly he thinking of the children when he blocks a private property owner from using private funds to renovate private property in a way that would produce significant financial benefits for neighborhood and the city as a whole.”

        In what specific way has he done this? What did the Cubs ask for, renovation wise, that has been denied? It always cracks me up when people get outraged when they have no details of the deal.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          Advertising in Wrigley is the big one, but the entire project will require permits from the City. Those permits have not arrived, thus the Cubs cannot do anything, thus the project is blocked.

          I’m not outraged. Puzzled by die hard’s allegation, but not outraged. But the very simple fact is that the Cubs need the permission of the City of Chicago to perform the renovations, and that the City has yet to grant that permission despite a couple months of talking about it.

          And according to die hard, this all somehow is supposed to benefit the school system. I still can’t figure that one out.

          • Pat

            But you realize you can’t just apply for “advertising”. If you are going to put up a billboard or other, you have to let the city know how big it is going to be and where you are planning on placing it. Same with the other permits. You don’t get a permit to renovate, you get a permit to renovate in accordance with designs submitted with the permit application.

            • aCubsFan

              But if that billboard is inside a private business, what reason does the City of Chicago have to approve or deny it? It’s one thing if it is signage exposed to the general public like a store sign, but I believe if the signage inside a building not exposed to the general public they shouldn’t have any say.

            • Pat

              I should clarify this only applies on new structures, like the Toyota sign. If you want to slap advertising on a existing surface it only would need clearance if it is visible outside the field.

  • gutshot5820

    Time to choose, are you a Wrigley fan or a Cubs fan? What’s so great and traditional about Wrigley anyways besides the brick, ivy and beaten up scoreboard. You can build those elements into any new stadium. I have a feeling most of the people that are “attached” to Wrigley for sentimental reasons are from older, older generations that fear change. Times change, people change, business models change.

    I went on a cross-country drive to visit the Grand Canyon when I was in my twenties and when we arrived at the peak, we stopped to take in the view. It was glorious, majestic, breath-taking in a sort of stop to think about life and all its meaning kind of way. Fifteen minutes later, we were like….what now? So we drove on to Las Vegas and had an awesome time there.

    I get the same feeling with Wrigley. When you first arrive, you can feel the charm of the brick and ivy. I’m here at the most historic ballpark in all of baseball. Then after fifteen minutes of stinky bathrooms, uncomfortable seats, expensive beer, shitty food, etc… Oh well, I came to see the ballgame anyways, I try to focus more on the game because I usually have money on the line when I go to Wrigley. Go Cubs!! Give me better restrooms, seating, food and views over a decrepit, old ballpark any day. To me that’s the fan experience I want. An awesome state-of-the-art ballpark to me would have as much attraction as historic Wrigley.

    • Craig

      Not to mention making a more kid friendly experience like they do at other parks. Kids are not impressed with Wrigley. If we want future generations to be Cub fans, build a new park