respect wrigleyOn Thursday, the Landmarks Commission will take on the question of the proposed outfield signage at Wrigley Field, a question they punted two weeks ago when Alderman Tom Tunney expressed his disapproval of the Cubs’ plan for 6,000 square foot JumboTron in left field and 1,000 square foot see-through sign in right field. Tunney, of course, has known of the Cubs’ plans for outfield signage for months, as it was part of the framework agreement to which he agreed. That said, he’s always felt the Cubs’ desired sizes were too large, and he wanted a little more time to convince the Cubs of their folly.

We’ll see how the meeting goes. We’ve heard nothing on this issue since a suggestion out of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s camp that the Mayor is growing frustrated with Alderman Tunney, whose support of the renovation project in his ward is not strictly necessary, but would certainly be politically helpful.

In the meantime, the Chicago Tribune obtained a bit more information on the aspects of the renovation that the Landmarks Commission did approve last time around, and a new article offers details on the signage approvals the Cubs requested for the interior of Wrigley Field (other than the two outfield signs).

Given the breadth of the Cubs’ requests, I reckon the article is going to get some negative attention. Among the items requested by the Cubs: signs on top of The Old Scoreboard in center (including a sign on top of the clock), a “bush” sign manicured into the hedges in center, mesh ads along the basket on the outfield walls, and additional ads along the brick walls along the foul lines. That’s all in addition to the new LED board in left field, and the added ribbon LED board(s) along the grandstand.

If that sounds like a scorched earth approach to covering every bit of available space at Wrigley, it kind of is. But, before you freak out, understand that the Cubs were simply offering “everything [they] could think of” in terms of advertising they might want in the future, according to Cubs VP of Communications and Community Affairs Julian Green, because that’s what the Commission asked the Cubs to provide. What the Commission was putting together, and what it ultimately approved, was merely a “master sign program” that sets the outer perimeter of what the Cubs could eventually ask to install. There would still be additional steps before the Cubs could actually place the ads.

That is all to say, if you hear folks talking about the Cubs wanting to drape every square inch of Wrigley in ads, that isn’t quite what’s happening here, and you’re encouraged to read the Tribune report.

Although it’s possible that, in the future, the advertising at Wrigley could get out of control, for now, the Cubs are just looking to preserve their options. They understand that the historic character of Wrigley Field is not something to be destroyed with garish advertisements. But the Cubs also understand that, as times change and revenue needs increase, they have to explore the best possible approach to bringing in dollars – especially if they’re going to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to stay at Wrigley in the first place.

  • EQ76

    “signs, signs, everywhere the signs, blockin’ up the scenery, breaking my mind.”

  • cjdubbya

    If the Cubs (and we as fans) have learned anything (well, anything we didn’t already know), trying to get anything through the Chicago political machine is an overly arduous task, so it’s probably a hell of a lot easier to just push the boundaries as much as possible, just so you don’t have to go back through all these channels.

  • MichiganGoat

    Oh I can’t wait until the national media really tears into this… I’m sure this is what Tunney has always wanted. Uninformed fans getting the pitchforks out and torches ready to burn.

  • King Jeff

    I have a sinking feeling that this is not going to go well today, or that nothing is actually going to be accomplished.

    • Brett


      • King Jeff

        I guess that’s why I get the feeling that nothing is going to happen today.

  • North Side Irish

    Just got the email asking me to come to the meeting and support the team…

    “The Commission will review and help decide whether the team can move forward with the proposed outfield signage. Most every ballpark in baseball has signage in its outfield and these improvements are extremely important and will help generate revenue to fund this $500 million private investment.”

    • Brett

      I’m glad they’re doing that.

  • Jason

    If I owned the team I would be out of wrigley. Having to get everything passed first before you can do anything to your own ball park would piss me off.

  • cubchymyst

    I would be fine with the mesh signs along the baskets. I just hope the Cubs get what they need to ensure enough funding to get renovations started and improve the team.

  • DFost

    I love Wrigley I really do, but at this point, I think it would be easier, and probably better in terms of amenities and facilities, to take up Rosemont’s mayor on his offer and start again. I’m so frustrated with all of these people piggie-backing the Cubs for their revenue, then trying to stop them from running their business, with their money. It’s ridiculous.

  • caryatid62

    Having recently been to Nationals stadium in DC, I saw their 5,000 sq ft. jumbotron. Holy crap it’s huge. I can’t imagine the Cubs are going to stick to their 6,000 sq. ft. plan–it had to have been a “let’s ask for a lot more than we think is acceptable.”

    I’d imagine if the jumbotron ends up in the 3500-4000 sq. ft. range, everyone will be happy.

    • JB88

      “I’d imagine if the jumbotron ends up in the 3500-4000 sq. ft. range, everyone will be happy.”

      Except the Cubs, that is.

      • caryatid62

        No, I think the Cubs will be satisfied with that. I think even the Cubs think 6,000 sq. ft. is a reach and will be satisfied with a smaller jumbotron.

        • JB88

          You might end up being correct, but I sincerely doubt the Cubs will be “happy” with a jumbotron that is 2000 to 2500 sq. ft. less than what they propose. They may deal with it and move on, but they’d be happy with 6000. That’s their proposal and that’s what they want. That is what would make them happy.

          There has been no suggestions, leaks, or claims that 6000 was offered as a negotiating ploy and, if that were the case, you would have expected that to have been leaked within the past week since Tunney objected to the size.

          • caryatid62

            If it was a negotiating ploy, I doubt it would help the Cubs to leak that it’s a negotiating ploy to the media.

            If they proposed the exact specifications that they wanted, the entire process of negotiations would be impossible.

            I think 3500-4000 would make them happy. Anything more is gravy for them.

            • JB88

              I didn’t articulate my point well. I meant that if the 6000 was a negotiating ploy, that we would have heard leaks this week about the Cubs renegotiating the size of the sign. But we haven’t heard anything. Which leads me to believe that their proposal of a 6000 sq. ft. jumbotron was intended to be an opening volley, but what they want.

              I strongly suspect that the Cubs reached an agreement with the Mayor’s office, which included these signs, before anything was ever announced and, at this point, the Cubs believe negotiations are done. Tunney is trying to hold them up to see if he can get the sign size smaller, but I strongly suspect that, when the Cubs hold their ground, Tunney will have to acquiesce.

              • JB88

                EDIT: “Was NOT intended”.

              • caryatid62

                That’s cool. I disagree.

                Unfortunately, this is one of those topics that we’ll likely never learn the truth behind, so I’ll leave it at that.

                • JB88

                  We can agree to disagree, but I think we’ll find out come Thursday, for better or worse, the Cubs’ perspective on these things.

                  • caryatid62

                    …which will ultimately be spin that attempts to control the story (from both sides).

                    • JB88

                      Probably true. That said, Tunney doesn’t strike me as having a very strong poker face.

                    • caryatid62

                      My guess is that, no matter what is concluded, Tunney will come out one of two ways:

                      1. Publicly livid that the Cubs dared to “take so much from his constituents” and vowing to “keep fighting for the people of his district.”


                      2. Triumphant that he “helped defend his good constituents from overly intrusive changes to a wonderful piece of American History, this neighborhood, and it’s fine people and businesses.”

                      Or maybe both.

  • Frank

    I personally think that the Cubs should buy a couple of hundred acres of Lake Michigan off the coast and build an island. The next step would be to contact an alien world and contract a alien moving company to come to earth and beam Wrigley field from it’s current location to the island. Problem solved.
    Yes, I have nothing to do but think of stupid things. I got tired of looking at shiny pennies.

    • DarthHater

      Or the aliens could just beam the Cubs up to the mothership and take them back to their home galaxy, where they will be the greatest baseball team ever seen. Problem solved.

      • hansman1982


        My favorite one yet.

      • Frank

        The games would be on Intergalactic WGN.

  • itzscott

    I think some sanity/rationality needs to be injected into this conversation by the Cubs instead of this turning into their advertising Manifest Destiny in regards to Wrigley.

    It would clearly show some thought and compassion toward Wrigley if the Cubs themselves stated that the scoreboard, clock, top of the outfield walls and ivy were off limits and would be preserved instead of this looking like an advertising land grab by them. Maybe they can make up the advertising “shortfall” by selling naming rights to Wrigley…. perhaps something like “Danley’s Garage World at Wrigley Field” or something like that.

    A 6,000 sq. ft jumbotron never did and still doesn’t make sense. This would be so out of scale that it would make Wrigley look like the Flavor Flav of stadiums much akin to that big assed alarm clock hanging around his neck.

    • JB88

      So to summarize your post, what qualifies as “sanity/rationality” for you is that the Cubs need to agree with your design asthetic?

      • itzscott


        Glad to see we have some intelligent people on this board.

  • Vin23

    Why are people down on a big jumbotron? I want the big tv to watch replays and see stats.

  • Kevin

    Go to Seattle and watch the 11,425 sq. ft. Jumbotron and come and say 6,000 is too big.

  • MJ

    I’m pretty sure the 6,000 square feet we keep hearing about includes the light fixtures and static signage on the top, left and right on the drawings we’ve seen. I’d bet the actual video board portion is probably less than 4,000 square feet, which is about the size of the large board at Fenway. That’s probably why they are so adamant on not changing their proposal.

    • Scotti

      Keep in mind, the board is also placed well outside of current Wrigley (to satisfy the rooftops/Tunney). If the board were IN Wrigley it could be considerably smaller.

  • clark addison

    It’s all politics, on both sides. Ask for the moon, then compromise. It’s true in congress, in the state legislature, and in Wrigley Field.

  • Carne Harris

    Ick. The value of the team is ticking up every moment, how about putting some of that equity into the team and keeping the park the way it is and the way it’s been for decades now. That’s the whole allure of Wrigley. No way a big market team needs this, especially in our mostly small market division, especially after the upcoming TV deal. I wish I’d see more Cubs fans fighting against on-field signage and not being suckered into thinking this is the only way to increase revenue and make us competitive.

    • Vin23

      Why do you care about signage? So you are saying non-ticket revenue doesn’t matter to teams? It’s a business, they aren’t going to lose money, nor should they. As a fan, you should want more revenue that doesn’t come from ticket costs.

      The Cubs are making tons of investments….PARK, area….even the new facility in DR….as well as Int’l signings. What you are seeing is a professional way to build a team for the long term…and revenue is needed.

      I just wish everyone would stay out of a private biz pocket.

      • caryatid62

        I agree with a lot of what you wrote, with the exception of the last line.

        This is a lot more complicated than government just “getting into a private business’ pocket.” There is an element of that, but let’s remember, that private business:

        1. Gets tax breaks from the state and local government
        2. Wants to expand into land that is publicly owned without paying for it

        Let’s not oversimplify this: the Cubs are doing a lot of this the right way, and guys like Tunney need to step back a little (a lot), but there’s a lot more to this than “big government trying to hurt the private business.”

        • Scotti

          The Cubs do not get tax breaks. Period. They get tax screwed. They pay $10-15 million (depending on gate) in amusement tax alone. That tax is supposed to cover cleanup, policing, etc. but the team pays for those out of its own pocket.

      • Carne Harris

        To help you along with how someone can not like signage in a wonderfully vintage ballpark – something that shouldn’t need an explanation even if you don’t agree – why not Spiderman movie ads on the bases and uniforms covered like NASCAR? Don’t fool yourself – you have an aesthetic line somewhere too even if it doesn’t line up with mine.

    • JB88

      Wow. Just wow. This is one of the most logical backward posts I’ve read on this topic.

      (1) The value of the team is directly proportional to the value of its assets; i.e., the value of Wrigley Field, its revenue stream, and its TV contracts.

      (2) TV contracts are evaluated, in part, based on the advertising revenue that the TV station can garner from the contract.

      (3) Keeping Wrigley “ad”-less doesn’t improve the value of the team, Wrigley Field, or the upcoming TV contracts.

      (4) The Cubs are inline to renegotiate the WGN contract next year, but must wait until 2019 for the CSN contract to end.

      (5) What you propose is that the revenue of the team should remain flat until effectively 2019 so that you don’t have to look at signage.

      (6) The lack of signs in Wrigley is a fairly recent phenomenon. The park used to be littered with signs historically.

      • caryatid62

        I think you misrepresent his (5) point. His point (and I’m not saying I agree or disagree with it) is that revenues can be made through other means and a moratorium on signage in the park would not necessarily keep revenues flat.

        Not totally sure I agree with that point, but I also don’t think signage is the only (or even the best) way to keep revenue from remaining flat in the coming years.

        • JB88

          I don’t think it is a misrepresentation. Maybe I can be accused of not offering as fullsome of an answer as would be necessary to rebut his unstated points, so I’ll do that now.

          If you restrict in-house advertising and recognize that the significant TV contract renegotiation isn’t going to take place until 2019, then you are basically left with ticket prices and merchandising. [I’m intentionally discounting the national TV contract that MLB is signing because those revenues will be distributed evenly amongst all teams, negating any real positive impact it will have on the Cubs.]

          The Cubs are already heavily criticized for the cost of tickets, so it is hard to imagine ticket prices rising. And there is only so much money that you can realistically bank in merchandising. Which leaves one of two options in my opinion:

          (1) Maximize revenues by increasing ad signage in the park.
          (2) Not increase ad signage and effectively concede to flat revenues.

          Unless you add increased revenue streams, you are basically hamstringing the organization or condemning it to operate in the red until 2019 when the Comcast deal is up.

          • Carne Harris

            I get tired of people who assume the Ricketts family interest is synonymous with the Cubs interest, and therefore with Cubs fans interests. I always think of that kid from V who helped the aliens patrol his own neighborhood. It’s okay for Cubs fans to not try to play accountant to a team that hasn’t opened its books and instead just say, “I like Wrigley the way it is. I don’t think a championship hinges on that Acalpulco Chicken Taco ad in right center.” The Ricketts family are businessmen before Cubs fans, they’re businessmen before stewards of the ballpark. A ballpark, by the way, that draws a significant amount of revenue from tourists coming to see it, in no small part because of the pure baseball experience, which includes an absence of ads.

            • Eternal Pessimist

              You are so very, very wrong. Every dollar the Cubs earn through additional streams (advertising is huge money) will enhance the teams ability to put a better team on the field. While you can argue that there is no ‘guarantee’ that the Rickett’s will do that, it is quite illogical to believe the lost revenue won’t make the Rickett’s think twice about paying that next big contract.

              You sound like you are a political plant for Tunney.

              • Carne Harris

                You got me, I’m a political plant. By the by… might be time to take off the foil fez and go outside for a bit.

        • Carne Harris

          I have no problem with increasing revenue streams, just don’t do it with on-field ads. You lose something that way. Part of the quintessential experience of being a Cubs fan.

          • Rebuilding

            I’m not necessarily disagreeing with you about Wrigley, but all of the old time park’s walls were covered with advertisements. He’ll, usually the advertisement sign was the wall. The lack of signs on the walls is relatively new to MLB (the cookie cutter stadiums of the 70’s once video was established). Almost all minor league parks have signage everywhere and they are considered as pure as it gets.

            Here is the Polo Grounds:

            • Carne Harris

              The minors are crazy that way. I’m waiting for the day “Eat at Joe’s” shows up in the eye black. I’m not saying old fields didn’t have signage, I’m just saying Wrigley never did and that’s part of the experience that made it so special. I think fans are being made to feel the choice is on-field ads or no championship, and I don’t buy it, especially in the shadow of the upcoming TV contract.

              • Hansman1982

                Wrigley had signage until the ivy was planted.

                • Carne Harris

                  I know, Goat said it above. Give me another 75 years, I’ll take that.

                  • Eternal Pessimist

                    Interesting that you feel that since you like Wrigley that way, the Chicago political machine should be able to step in and enforce some “decor” code on the Cubs.

                    What B.S. for Tunney to suggest putting most (if not all) of the additional signage the Cubs requested would damage the historical nature of the ballpark (inside their own ballpark, not the city’s ballpark).

    • MichiganGoat

      Just remember that before the Ivy the walls were covered in signs, it was everywhere. So this historic Wrigley is really just the Wrigley we remember of the last 50+ years. 50+ years of losing. Time to grow with the market, it might not be the “right” thing to do but it is the only way to survive as a competitive team.

      • Eternal Pessimist

        And it IS the right thing to do!

      • caryatid62

        I think that’s where I’m at with it.

        I really, really, really, really like the fact that I can go to Wrigley and not be assaulted by a massive audio system blaring “Ev-Ry-Bo-DEE Clap Your Hands (Clapclapclapclap…)” every five minutes. I love the fact that I have to pay attention to the game, because it’s not going to be replayed in between the kiss cam and the “Fan-O-Meter”. When I go to games (I usually sit in the 400s or lower bowl, almost never in the bleachers), it’s only about the game. I can turn off my cell phone and just enjoy the game. That’s an invaluable experience.

        I also realize that the most important thing is that the Cubs win a World Series and the things that lead to my individual happiness and enjoyment is (a) not necessarily shared by all fans, and (b) utterly secondary to the happiness I will experience when they win the World Series. So, while it may not be my personal favorite thing, it’s best for the team. On with progress.

  • cubmig

    It’s no secret I am against the visual pollution under consideration for Wrigley Field——or for any public place for that matter. I don’t get it. Are we so in love with commercial messaging that we’ve become addicted to the need of being told when to cheer, what to wear, what to buy, (when we live or when we die?) every minute of our day and at every turn wherever we may be?

    Take a look at life. How many places do you occupy where some flyer, computer ad, label, “Stay Thirsty My Friend” or–“Oh what a relief it is.” jingle hasn’t nested in our subconscious? Who are we and WHAT have the sense manipulators made us become? Sure, we need to know what we need, and in that sense info provided that helps out our needs has personal worth. But beyond that, the sense manipulators know that: “When you got-’em by the balls, their hearts will follow.” And, sad to say…. the “balls” of those who have the final say is $$$$$$$$. It’s the prescription felt must be filled to survive.

    So…..we are the pawns moved around because that is what we’ve become. “$$$$$” is perceived as the answer to every human need. And ads have become the vehicle for raking it in. Understand: I am not saying money is not important. What I am saying is that–in the scheme of human existence–the individual is being rendered incapable of enjoying, or being comfortable with the pauses that allow for reflection in his or her life, as witnessed by the filling of every waking moment with some sort of message or noise.

    I have loved my times at Wrigley. I’ve cheered with the crowd started by the crowd. No prompts, just raw fan impulse erupting from somewhere. The eyes span a ballpark where one goes to see ballgame, the pure outdoors; not a mecca of distracting visual garbage promoting, urging, replacing one’s attention to what is front of you on the field of play in favor of the sound, color and glitz to “heighten” your experience. ???? What is it that we can’t enjoy? Are our senses flawed? What is it that is missing in that experience that the ad glitz fulfills? Are missed moments unacceptable to imperfect human beings?

    The measure of our joy is in the balance we seek to live our life by. For the baseball experience, that balance lies somewhere between the raw joy of the sandlot experience and today’s encroachments on the game.

    • TWC

      Wrigley Field isn’t a “public place”. It’s a private establishment.

      As for the rest — tl:dr

    • MichiganGoat

      That was a nice manifesto but the reality is that Wrigley can stay a museum, the Cubs can fall further behind because they are trying to win a race with Model T while the rest of baseball is in Porsche (or any car mad in the last 50 years including my 88 Ford Taurus). I like the purity of what you are saying but its just not reality of public sports right now.

      • Pat

        There’s probably a middle ground between museum and the 45,000 sq ft of interior and exterior advertising they are seeking. Although I believe the Thursday meeting is only regarding the jumbotron and left field LCD board.

        • JB88

          Jumbotron and rightfield see-through sign.

          The LF LCD board has already been approved.

    • King Jeff

      Fenway is even older than Wrigley and that place is now littered with advertising, and Fenway has a national landmark distinction, not a local one.

      • 70’scub

        National Landmark Distinction “my ass” MLB teams have been bulldozing old outdated parks for years. The House that Ruth built is a parking lot were Hammering Hank hit 715 is in a tailgating parking lot.

        • King Jeff

          That was my point. If Fenway can get the overdose of ads and jumbotron treatment and not affect the way people enjoy games there, then why is it different for Wrigley? Would we rather see a pile of rubble and new ballpark, or put up with some advertising and a jumbotron like every other ballpark in baseball has?

          • Eternal Pessimist

            I for one would sure enjoy Wrigley more (and go more often) if they were putting a winning team on the field. I might even buy a product from one or two of the advertisers who are helping to fund the improved team.

    • Vin23

      Then I suggest 1 of 2 things…or both:

      1. Don’t watch…listen to cubs on the radio
      2. Watch little league.

      If you can’t filter your own mind not to focus on signs, then really we can’t help you. I just find it extremely strange that so-called cub fans want always the team have to compete uphill.

      If you don’t want to look at an iPhone or TV or ad then don’t. (But how are you reading this site…..pssss—–> there are ads)

    • Brandon

      Advertise what you want where you want, I’m a free person that can make up my own mind…and it wants a WS champion!!!

    • Carne Harris

      Well said last line.

  • Die hard

    Don’t they know that less is more.. 24/7 ad saturation .. Would be nice to be able to come to the shrine and relax while praying to the victory gods

  • Mike

    I also feel like these alternate signs are an “if we don’t get our way with the right field sign and the jumbotron we’re going to turn Wrigley into a NASCAR vehicle

  • jmc

    aw geez,let the cubs do whatever it takes to put a winning team on the field

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  • Die hard

    They should put ads on the seats cause when empty they will be seen by all on TV

    • wvcubsfan

      I actually like that idea. Sell the seat to a company that maybe can’t afford a huge sign on the wall. This seat brought to you by Die Hard’s Winery.

    • Jed Jam Band

      Oh, Die hard. Nice to hear from you again, as always.

  • Die hard

    Today’s Trib had Cubs asking for fireworks too? Call me crazy but wouldn’t the chances of them landing on rooftops solve the problem of the opposition?

    • Rebuilding

      ^ LOL. You’ve got something there

  • Rebuilding

    One thing I would like to know is how much Derek Johnson is involved with evaluating some of the pitchers we are looking to or have picked up. By all accounts he is a pitching guru. I wonder if the FO sent him tape of a guy like Arrieta and asked if there was something mechanical that could be fixed. And the same with Bauer

  • JB88

    Just saw this pop up in a Facebook friend’s timeline and thought I’d share. To all those who think that the citizens of Lakeview and Boystown have a love affair of Tom Tunney …

    • Brett

      That’s just one person.

      (Meta joke.)

      • JB88

        (Meta laugh.)

        I’d add that even from my time living in that neighborhood, Tunney is not tremendously interested in the concerns/issues of his constituents. In front of my house, for the better part of a year, was a massive sink hole in Roscoe. Rather than fix it, they placed a metal plate in the road. It took them nearly another year to actually fix the road, despite weekly calls from our condo association and others in the neighborhood to fix it.

        Citizens in my neighborhood also petitioned to have a speed bump inserted into the street (since cab drivers were doing 40+ down the street to cut over from Inner Lakeshore to get to Broadway and beyond) and were effectively told to pound sand by Tunney’s office. The streets and sanitation in that neighborhood is horrible and Tunney’s office doesn’t help.