Chicago Cubs owner and chairman Tom Ricketts is getting ready to meet with the media about the deal he, the Chicago Cubs, the City of Chicago, and Alderman Tom Tunney have struck regarding the renovation of Wrigley Field. CSN is streaming the press conference, and I’ll throw up a link as soon as it is available.
For those who can’t watch, I’ll be updating this post live with the important bits and (paraphrased) quotes from the press conference.
Things are scheduled to kick off in about five minutes.
And away we go (all “we’s” and “I’s” are paraphrased statements from Tom Ricketts) …
- CSN’s streaming link is here.
- I love watching the last few pre-conference minutes as the media gets settled and chats each other up.
- Tom Ricketts begins with a joke about the facilities in which the press conference is taking place (the concourse). Better next time, he says.
- Ricketts reminds everyone that the plan still has to pass through various approvals.
- Ricketts thanks Mayor Emanuel and Alderman Tunney. He says Tunney will help shepherd this through the Planned Development process.
- The deal will generate $500 million in private investment, and 1300 permanent jobs.
- The deal will generate the resources needed to put top level talent on the field on a consistent basis.
- The players need better facilities.
- The fans will get bigger concourses, better food, better retail, and more interactive fan experience … but while preserving the best of Wrigley Field.
- The plan will enhance the qualify of life in the Wrigleyville community.
- Yowsa: if the plan is approved, Ricketts says the Cubs WILL win the World Series at Wrigley Field.
- Question about the outfield signs blocking rooftops, and the possibility of lawsuit. Tom: Haven’t spoken with rooftops lately, and we’ll just have to take that issue as it comes.
- The Cubs’ proposal includes all of the details they want, but Ricketts was a bit cagey about whether the City/Alderman have approved every single particular in the proposal.
- We’re looking to preserve Wrigley, but we also want to make it more economically efficient so we can put those dollars back to work on the field. It’s a significant amount of dollars, and hopefully they’ll start to roll in within the next couple years, but I’m not sure when which dollars will come in. It absolutely improves Theo’s ability to put dollars on the field in the long-term, and substantially. Some of that will come before the five-year Wrigley plan is finished.
- A JumboTron is both a financial move and a fan-experience move.
- The renovations will be done in the offseason, and it’s possible without inconveniencing fans (which I take to be “we’re not playing games elsewhere”).
- Getting through the Planned Development process is the next few weeks, maybe months.
- Ricketts asked if a rooftop lawsuit could block the whole project. He doesn’t seem too worried. “We know we have the right to put up signs.”
- Video boards have grown over the years, and we’ve got the space for a large one. That’s what people want.
- We’re going to be thoughtful of how the signs are placed, and respective of the people it impacts. We have to get what we need, but we also want to minimize the impact on the rooftop businesses.
- I assume there will be lots of community meetings and discussions, but the plan we’ve come up with is what I expect to happen.
- The Planned Development process is already underway.
- We – the City, the Alderman, and the Cubs – are all together on this plan.
- Wrigley Field is a special place with a special role in baseball history. Given that, and how important it is to Chicago, it always made the most sense to stay.
- The key for this offseason is how quickly the process moves forward. To make such a huge financial commitment for this offseason, we need a certain level of certainty.
- Any signage outside of the stadium – at the hotel, on the open-air plaza – will be tasteful.
- Q: How close did this come to not happening? (Great question.) Ricketts: I was always optimistic there would be a solution.
- It’s absolutely untrue that there is any tension between the baseball and business side. The baseball side knows the projections.
- No discussion with MLB about a special schedule just yet, and we don’t anticipate having to do that. It’s likely to take five sequential offseasons to get things the way the Cubs want.
- The end. Would have liked to hear more questions about night games (the only one was obscured and kind of blown off) as well as the plans for the plaza outside of Wrigley. But, hey, beggars can’t be choosers. I’ll now start writing a full, lengthy take on where things stand.