Last week, the Chicago Landmarks Commission approved the Chicago Cubs’ plans to add a large video board to left field and an advertising sign to right field as part of the overall Wrigley Field renovation project. The question for the Cubs: assuming the subsequent approvals (Plan Commission, Zoning Committee, City Council) come reasonably soon, will we be seeing the new outfield signage next season?
Don’t count on it, according to Cubs VP of Communications and Community Affairs Julian Green.
“At the end of the baseball season and [until the] first day of baseball there’s roughly 22 weeks,” Green told the media this weekend, including Sahadev Sharma. “Even though we’ve gotten the approval from the Landmarks Commission, we still have to go through the Planning Commission, the Zoning Committee and full City Council approval. Once that’s all said and done, we might be looking at late August or September. We have not selected a video company. We’ll probably have to put a [request for information] and [request for proposal], that takes probably a few months. And then we go through the design process.”
In other words, it’s hard to imagine the Cubs having time to get through all of that and have the big ‘ole video board in place by April.
I wonder if bumping out the outfield walls – which serves the dual purpose of housing the JumboTron and advertising sign closer to the rooftops to reduce the impact on their views, as well as adding to Wrigley’s footprint so the Cubs can have more space for stuff on the interior – will happen before next season, or if that, too will wait.
For now, the priority, according to Green is getting the player facilities upgraded, which means the new clubhouses, the batting tunnels, the health facilities, etc. That will be the focus of the work immediately after the season, assuming approvals come in a timely fashion. From there, I suspect the revenue-generating aspects of the renovation will be next in line (as they should be).
Sharma’s piece is worth reading for additional quotes from Green, and his thoughts on the rooftops and the possibility of the Cubs’ moving (not bloody likely). But here’s one of the money quotes:
“At the end of the day, we’re making decisions in the interest of our business. That’s goal number one. Because at the end of the day, the fans are going to judge us, after we restore this beautiful ballpark, they’re going to want to know how this is going to translate onto the field. And that’s what we’re doing.”
Translation: we recognize that, if we get these revenue-generators in place, we will have to use that revenue to put a better product on the field.