Quantcast

respect wrigleyIt’s not as though we haven’t discussed the financial side of Cubdom plenty this week, but the news comes when it comes …

The renovation of Wrigley Field, the attendant costs thereof, and the subsequent revenues therefrom, are still one of the three biggest stories in the Cubs’ world right now (together with the impending TV deal discussion, and the revamping of the organization from the ground up). Unfortunately, after City Council approved the bulk of the renovation plan – and the developments around Wrigley – we’ve heard very little in the way of actual progress toward a renovation. We’ve heard a peep here and there about delays, and about an unlikely start after this season. Here’s another peep.

The most recent delay – the one that probably put the final nail in the Cubs’ ability to get the renovations started this offseason (sigh) – has come in the form of the longstanding, and apparently still ongoing, dispute between the Cubs and the owners of the buildings that outline the outfield at Wrigley. The two sides have a revenue-sharing agreement for the next 10-ish years, and they have to sort out the impact of the two outfield signs the Cubs want to erect as part of the renovation. The Cubs want an agreement that the rooftops won’t sue as soon as the Cubs begin work, and the rooftops want to know that the signs won’t block their views.

We’ve been over this dance again and again, with the Cubs testing out signage to see how much blockage there would be, and the Cubs agreeing to bump out the outfield walls to diminish the impact of the signage. Obviously that hasn’t been enough for the rooftops, who’ve since suggested a patio extending over Sheffield, which would allow the right field sign to be even closer to the lower-portion of the rooftop buildings, thus eliminating any sightline obstructions. The Cubs countered with a larger patio that would cover much of that block of Sheffield (as a way to make up for the bridge they’d wanted over Clark, but lost in the public approval process).

Although the Sheffield patio sounded like a nice solution for all sides, it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. The neighborhood feedback has been solidly opposed to the patio, and it would require political approval, since it was not part of the original renovation plan that was approved by City Council. And according to the Sun-Times, Alderman Tom Tunney will not be supporting the large patio deck, in large part because he’s not hearing the kind of community support he’d need to get on board (can’t really blame him if that’s the case – the patio would be essentially external to Wrigley, and would benefit only the Cubs and the rooftops).

So … what now? It’s hard to say.

Tom Ricketts acknowledged to Gordon Wittenmyer that, at this point, the renovation – specifically, the player facilities that were supposed to be in place for 2014 – is probably not going to start after this season. Cubs VP of Communication and Community Affairs Julian Green acknowledged to the Sun-Times that negotiations with the rooftops are not moving along right now. Indeed, for their part, the Cubs are holding open the possibility that they will simply erect the outfield signs without an agreement with the rooftops – something the Cubs say they have the right to do (there is some debate as to whether the Cubs/rooftops contract only limits the Cubs where the Landmarks Commission has not approved their changes … but the Landmarks Commission has approved these outfield signs). Green added that, with the offseason approaching, the time to start working with corporate partners is coming fast. I suppose that means there’s a possibility we’ll see a short-term sign going up in right field for 2014 (and probably an ensuing fight with the rooftops), even as the JumboTron in left field would not come for another year.

We continue to wait and see.

  • Chad

    Screw the roof top owners. They mooch off the cubs, but give very little back. Without the cubs they have nothing. Their buildings are worthless. I wish the cubs would just move and say “you see what happens when you screw with us”.

  • Napercal

    No new revenues until 2015 = more untalented players playing losing non-competitive losing baseball = lower attendance = less revenues = less money to spend on building a good team = more untalented players playing losing non-competitive losing baseball = lower attendance = less revenues = less money to spend on building a good team = etc.
    The dreaded business death spiral.

    • cubsfanforever

      agreed

  • jh03

    Oy. These renovation details never fail to piss me off. The fact that they can’t renew the players’ facilities this offseason just infuriates me.

  • Cubbie Blues

    This Blows.

  • CubFan Paul

    I get the feeling a rooftop lawsuit won’t stop the Jumbotron this offseason. The money is needed to badly and the only thing the Cubs will lose is some fan support and money (to settle the lawsuit) that they’ll get back in 2014/15.

    • jh03

      Wasn’t it established that the player facilities were coming before anything else, including the jumbotron?

      • CubFan Paul

        No. This offseason’s $60M project was the Jumbotron and the player facilities, not one or the other.

        • Eternal pessemist

          I suspect they will trial the right field signage this offseason. That way they can have their court fight over the rooftop contract language before investing in the much more expensive jumbotron.

          • Benjamin

            It’s not all that expensive really. With the size of the screen and viewing distance, they’d almost certainly be using a 20mm or higher pixel pitch screen product, which can be had for pretty cheap depending on the manufacturer. They could probably do the whole system for under 5 million, if not less. And if they invested in the product and the sign somehow got shot down, it could be reconfigured for use elsewhere in the stadium.

    • Jay

      So the rooftops don’t want their views blocked, but won’t allow any agreements on patio(s) that would solve the problem. WTF? You can’t take both the green and the blue pill.

      • caryatid62

        The rooftops are in favor of the patio idea–it’s the rest of the neighborhood who doesn’t like it. It would siphon off people walking to some of the local bars/restaurants/shops on gamedays, while simultaneously (in the opinion of those opposed) be an eyesore that goes unused 284 days per year.

  • Napercal

    The Ricketts and their advisors completely blew the politics on this project.

    • jayrig5

      I’m sort of starting to feel that way too. Betting on Crane Kenney to shepherd this sort of project doesn’t necessarily feel like the wisest decision. I mean, I guess I can believe that the Cubs ownership/business ops people have done absolutely everything as well as they possibly could have, and the problems have all been totally beyond their control, but that seems like a remote possibility.

      • Jay

        You mean since Kenney was the idiot that did this rooftop deal in the first place?? How that guy still has a job when they purged so many others when the new ownership came in is as big a mystery as the Loch Ness Monster.

      • Reality Check

        considering Kenny crane was the trib exec who negotiated the ill-fated rooftop agreement when NONE was needed as they had NO legal rights until the cubs ALLOWED them to have such, makes ya wonder why is he still employed by rickets?
        2nd, do the clubhouse renovations block the rooftops? NO; so what is rickets waiting for??……….sounds like more excuses from the re-incarnation of p.k.mcmcaskey. if everything is gonna wait till the rooptops say OK; then Rosemont or Schaumburg properties should of already been bought and plans drawn up. F*** the city and everyone ……….105 yrs later and cubs fans now are waiting on rooptops????

        I think uncle lou called that a “cubbie occurrence”.

        I’ve watched this team since 1974, i’m done with any excuse any owner has; the top priority of this ownership is not the renovation, the tv deal or the re-organization; its’ winning a fucking world series. period. none of the other stuff needs to happen 1st; none of it stopped the cubs in 2003 when they were 5 outs from the WS; just win a fucking world series. that should be the top priority, story, tweet, facebook posting, billboard, etc…………..now.

        • DarthHater

          Trying to catch lightning in a bottle and win one world series NOW is a long-shot crap shoot. The current FO appears to be of the opinion that the best chance of winning a world series is to multiply your long-shot chances by getting to the post-season on a regular basis and in order to do that you have to build an organizational and financial foundation for prolonged success. So that’s what they’re trying to do, even if it pisses off fans who justifiably think they have already waited way more than long enough for a world series win. I’m not psychic, so I cannot know if the FO’s approach will ultimately work, but the theory makes some sense and nothing else has worked for 104 years, so I’m willing to ignore my own suffering for a few years while they give their theory a shot.

    • caryatid62

      This.

      There are ways to handle things in Chicago. The Cubs’ ability to trip over their own feet in this negotiation is a great example of how not to handle things.

  • Rich

    The players facilities upgrades are so necessary. Those should begin regardless. Go do a tour of some other ballparks and realize that the Cubs facilities are a laughing stock. I can understand the roofies and signage and corporate sponsors need to work out. But if you are building a first class organization from the ground up, let’s make sure the professionals that obtain the rank of a MAJOR LEAGUER, that the players facilities reflect that.

    • Good Captain

      Not if moving is a real option.

      • Eternal pessemist

        Agreed. The Cubs have already given away too much leverage with the city and the alderman.

  • dash

    A big public controversy over the placement of the sign would be a dream for that corporate sponsor! Think of all the extra publicity…

  • MichiganGoat

    The longer this goes the more it hurts the Cubs on the field, I’m actually hoping that we start to hear rumors that the Cubs are exploring playing home games over on the South Side so the renovations can get done in one year, tell the rooftops that they can go ahead an sue if they want to but we won’t be playing at Wrigley for at least a year and maybe more if they bog down the renovation.

    Not that this is going to happen but I’d like to see the threat go out there.

    I’m also curious as to when Emperor Bud will feel pressure to step in and get this started- an improved Wrigley is good for baseball and this drama is bad for baseball.

    • CubFan Paul

      Emperor Bud thinks the Astro’s $20M payroll is good for baseball too…

      • ETS

        20m? Did they sign some people?

    • Rich

      I would love the Cubs to play elsewhere for a year..and just speed up the process…

    • dash

      I’d rather have them play at Miller Park so Chicago doesn’t benefit at all.

  • Jon

    Just build a new park in the Suburbs already. I’ve had it.

    • Eric

      For the sweet love of God they are NOT BUILDING A STADIUM IN THE SUBURBS!

      • Jon

        They should at least threaten to do so.

        • On The Farm

          Finally something Jon and I agree on.

          • frank

            Me too–with a credible threat to move out, a lot of this bs would never have happened.

            • Frank

              Cicero is still there with an offer to move. If I were Ricketts, I’d tell the rooftop owners that they need to renovate and upgrade their facilities and once they spent a crap load of money, I’d move. Then the rooftop owners can charge money to show people what it used to look like to watch a Cubs game.

              • Northside Neuman

                Frank, where have you been? The City of Chicago already required the roof tops to spend a ton of money to bring theie building up to fire code 3 or 4 years ago.

                Which has lead at least one roof top to fall into bankruptcy.

      • MichaelD

        Just because they won’t do it, doesn’t mean it is not a good idea.

  • Rich

    keep the bleachers, ivy and scoreboard..
    and blow up the rest..
    re-do!

    • chrisfchi

      Exactly what I said when Rosemont first came up

  • Rich

    Hey let me ask fellow Cub fans this:

    make a jumbotron in place of the old scoreboard.
    make a virtual scoreboard…that LOOKS like the old scoreboard..
    but can also have places for advertisements and such..during innings and beyond…

    then out the old scoreboard facing waveland and sheffield…for nostalgia..

    no blocking roof tops …..

    am I nuts ?

    • Cubbie Blues

      It’s a historical landmark and will not be touched.

    • On The Farm

      Who do you think you are with sensible ideas and the what nots?

      • Cubbie Blues

        Don’t get me wrong I like the idea, but it just isn’t going to happen.

        • On The Farm

          I agree. I was just pointing out that its too easy of a solution. Nothing about this is going to be easy. Everyone wants their piece of the pie.

    • DarthHater

      I proposed a solution to this problem a long time ago. Leave the old scoreboard untouched, but install a “projection jumbotron” in front of it – that is, a giant screen on which a projector would display all the images that otherwise would be displayed on a conventional jumbotron. The Cubs would then get their jumbotron without blocking the rooftop views and the historical landmark scoreboard would be perfectly preserved, albeit no longer visible to fans in the stadium. :-P

      • DarthHater

        And before anybody asks, the answer is no, Die hard did not contribute to this brilliant idea. :-D

  • Jed Jam Band

    The effects of previous poor management of the business operations…still biting us in the ass. Thanks, Tribune Company!

  • Jon

    I’m still amazed that Ricketts keeps Crain Kenney around. In addition to signing this horrible binding contract with the rooftop leaches, he also killed the draft budgets for Hendry and Wilken which resulted in gems like Josh Vitters and Hayden Simpson. So many problems facing the Cubs today are a direct result of this clown. It’s unreal.

    • http://It'searly Mike F

      You get a star big time. Instead of railing at the pol structure in Chicago, rail at Kenney. He reigns supreme as a huge mistake Ricketts made. Let’s quit kissing his ass all the time and burning Hendry in effigy. Here’s the guy ultimately responsible for the City negotiations. Don’t get me wrong, he’s very accomplished in Ivy League clubbing and ass kissing, but he has screwed up everything he has touched.

      If people want something to worry about, this is the right place to start. He is a disaster.

  • Cheryl

    MOVE!!!!

  • ETS

    Alderman Tom Tunney will not be supporting the large patio deck, in large part because he’s not directly profiting from it.

    Tunney’s a tool.

    • DarthHater

      The Cubs/Ann Sather Patio Deck, serving beer and cinnamon rolls. Mmmmmmmm.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Oh man, I don’t care about the politics or whatever … that sounds amazing.

  • mjhurdle

    At this point, i could really care less who is right and who is wrong.
    I feel like this is two of my kids fighting over a toy, and at some point you just have to step in and take it away, because the fighting will never stop.
    I tend to side with the Cubs seeing as they own Wrigley and should be allowed to do with it what they want. But i understand there is more to this and maybe the rooftops have some legal claims that have to be honored.
    Regardless, the longer this happens the more on board i am with the idea of taking the Ivy, bleachers, and Scoreboard and moving somewhere else.
    It would suck to leave Wrigley, but if every time something needs to be changed, we have to go through a 2 year song and dance, then maybe it is time to start fresh somewhere else.

    • jh03

      Personal debate here: Shouldn’t it be “couldn’t care less” rather than “could care less?”

      If you could care less it implies that you care to some extent. If you couldn’t care less it shows that there is no way for you to care less than you already do.

      • Jono

        EXACTLY! I’ve been asking this for years now, everyone thinks it’s “could” simply b/c that’s what they’ve always said and heard. But it makes NO SENSE. It should be “couldn’t”.

        • jh03

          I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels this way.

        • On The Farm

          Is it a regional thing? I feel like most of the people I know say couldn’t.

          • Jono

            maybe. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone else say “couldn’t”. That’s why I was so excited to see jh03 bring it up

      • mjhurdle

        bad habit of mine. I say it and read it in my mind as ‘couldn’t’, yet always type ‘could’ for some reason.

        • jh03

          I’m not picking on you for saying it. I understand that most of the population does it that way. I just was asking because I thought that maybe I was actually wrong and there was a reason for saying ‘could.’

          • Cubbie Blues

            Well, to be fair, half of the people you know are below average.

            • jh03

              This is true.

        • On The Farm

          I never use the contraction when I say that phrase so I always say “I could not care less”, so I guess I have always chalked it up to someone was typing to fast and left out the ‘not’ part.

          • jh03

            Typically I catch it in verbal conversation though. But, yeah, I make sure to always use the ‘not’ form… The ‘could’ form just bugs the hell out of me.

          • wvcubsfan

            But if you have cared enough about it to make a comment then you actually could care less if you never cared to make the comment to begin with.

            Personally I think the phrase with or without the not is factually impossible but it doesn’t bother me near as much as the “mute point”.

    • Good Captain

      If something approaching a finalization of the controversy doesn’t come about by year’s end, I think finalizing the process to move should be he next order of business. It’d be a shame and a significant piece of baseball history would be substantially lost, but the bulk of fans would move on given time.

      • On The Farm

        2015: New Team. New Manager. New Ballpark. New World Series streak.

        • willis

          New manager??? (clicks heels, wishes for spring of 2015 to get here). :)

          • On The Farm

            I figured everyone should be able to find something positive out of that post.

    • Jono

      I agree completely (other than your use of “could care less”). I love Wrigley and the pre/post game activities that Wrigleyville has to offer. But I love the team even more. I’d rather have the team move and be free to bring in the revenues that would support a full payroll than have them handcuffed in the fun Wrigley environment.

      • willis

        Wrigley is a huge part of mine and a bagillion other people’s life. It’s been a special place since childhood. BUT, I give a crap much more about a winning team and revenues than sticking around there just for history’s sake. If this can be worked out, great. If it can’t, get the hell out and go elsewhere. It’s a lot easier said than done but I agree, the song and dance with the Chicago bullshit is just too much to deal with when you are trying to rebuild a franchise.

        Many other fans around the league have had old ballparks left and they end up just fine. If this is what is necessary for the cubs to win, do it.

        • On The Farm

          I agree, when I was younger like in high school I had an attachment to Wrigley field and held it in such nostalgia. It is something I still love because I know that as I go to watch the games there, I could be sitting in the same seat that my grandfather was when he was a young man. On the flip side having Wrigley field is not as important to me as having a team that I look forward to watching 162 (hopefully even more than that) times a year.

          • willis

            Well said. Like with anything, to move forward sometimes letting go of certain things in the past is necessary. While this renovation twists in the wind, the cubs are being handcuffed. If it can be resolved in a timely manner with the work starting, great. If it can’t…it just can’t go on forever. It’s only hurting the franchise.

            • Jono

              It’s like the old saying, “help me help you”. We all love that place and want to stay there. We want to keep boosting their economy. We want to keep all those bars full and profitable. But the local community is just making it too difficult. Help us help you, Wrigleyville / Lakeview

  • cubs2003

    The deal they made with the rooftops was a mistake. Honestly, I don’t have a ton of sympathy for the local residents either. You chose to live right by Wrigley, you must have known what you were getting into. The only exception I have is long term residents. I can understand their frustration.

    • Chef Brian

      The Cubs have been there for over a 100 yrs. There isn’t a resident alive who didn’t know they were moving next to a ballpark. I’m so tired of these rooftop owners squabbling over a stolen product.

      • Jono

        or the local residents who want peace and quite while living next to Wrigley

        • scorecardpaul

          Jono, if they wanted peace and quiet they shouldn’t have moved into the neighborhood. It is a very big building, if they didn’t know it was in their neighborhood they should fire their realtor!

          • Jono

            Exactly

            • Napercal

              You really shouldn’t equate the neighborhood with the rooftop owners. The majority of the people in the neighborhood understand the value the Cubs bring to the area – namely increased property values and thriving commercial areas. The opponents really are the rooftop owners.

              • Jono

                Good point. The loudest people tend to get the most attention

    • scorecardpaul

      Cubs2003 please tell me what you are implying when you say long term residents. I would bet a years paycheck that there isn’t a single person within 5 miles of the stadium that moved there before the stadium construction took place. They would have to be over 100 years old.

      • On The Farm

        No, but I bet the night life wasn’t the same 50 years ago, as it is now…

      • cubs2003

        I’m talking people who have been there 30-40 years. It was a MUCH different neighborhood in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. I’m not talking about someone who moved there 10 years ago.

        • Napercal

          In the 60’s and 70’s the area was a dump.

          • cubs2003

            Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the renovation. If it was it a dump or not, I don’t take kindly to the people milking the Cubs dictating terms on what the Cubs can or can’t do. I was just saying the people who lived by Wrigley before is was Wrigleyville have the only legitimate gripe.

      • Northside Neuman

        No individual owners prior to the park being built are aline, but I know for a fact that some of the building across the street on Sheffield and Waveland have been owned by the same familes prior to the stadium being built.

  • SenorCub

    This obviously cannot go on forever at some point hard decisions will need to be made and that needs to happen sooner than later. Relocating this may be a real possibility. Rickets are business people and they can just as much money without any restrictions as soon as they decide that Wrigleyville really isn’t that much without the Cubs in the middle of it. This can be re-invented elsewhere. Look at the Cowboys, they moved out or Irving and build it bigger elsewhere. I was there when it happened.

  • aCubsFan

    I’ve long said there wouldn’t be any construction this offseason even if the city council passed the ordinance because there just wasn’t enough time to order the steel and other building materials needed for the clubhouse renovation.

    I’ve noticed that the Cubs have already started putting up more signage around the park. There are 2 Citibank signs on the brick walls near the dugouts and an OfficeDepot/Max sign along the top of the TV camera shack above the camera opening. I hadn’t seen those before the ordinance approval.

  • HateDemp

    Time to pack up and move. Build a nice park that is easier to get to and field a good team and they’ll be just as popular. Plus fun to see the property values plummet in the former wrigleyville; lack of tourism and entertainment tax for the city – move somewhere with less governmental restrictions. Just need to find something to do with the park….

    • caryatid62

      They’re not going to move.

      If they did, property values would not plummet. Not in the slightest.

      Tourism would likely take a small, but meaningful hit.

      Some other town would likely get fleeced, and Illinois taxpayers would foot the bill.

      • Northside Neuman

        Three million visitors to one neighborhood in the city is a small percentage of tourism to you?

    • wilbur

      “Just need to find something to do with the park….”
      Well, i have a few ideas: The Tom Tunney Memorial Dog park, Lakeview wedding chapel, that’s probably enough.

  • On The Farm

    I have a question about Wrigley maybe some of you could help me with. I am going to my first game on a personal level (so not with a large group or for a bachelor party) and for once I have the ability to show up when they open the gates. So this Saturday they have a 3:05 game, what time would we be able to get in?

    Thanks in advance.

    • pj

      gates open 2 hours prior to game time.

      • On The Farm

        Appreciate that pj.

  • Curt

    good freaking grief, will it never end everyone from the mayor, Tunney ,the neighborhood,to the rooftop thieves wouldn’t hvd an issue with any of this if their piece of the pie were big enough just 1 big damn grab bag , still saying screwem all start seriously entertaining bids to move even when parts are approved their not really approved there’s always more catches . Enough already.

  • SenorCub

    I am glad it’s Football Season – I’ve always felt the MLB schedule is just way too long and since my beloved Cubs are not in the postseason again, I will spend most of my time watching my beloved Bears! I will obsess over that until next spring.

    • Funn Dave

      Funny–I love how long the baseball season is. It’s probably just because it’s my favorite sport; but I really appreciate the length of the season and the fact that I don’t have to wait super long once it’s over for the next one to begin.

      Also, you spelled Packers wrong. Go, Pack, Go!

  • Drew

    I have always been on the side of leaving Wrigley and letting it be a tourist site/football game/ concert venue going forward. After months of dragging feet and politcal antics by all parties involved, I truly wish the Cubs would leave Chicago. I know this reality is not going to happen, but just as a pure fan wanting the Cubs to succeed, I wish this would happen now. It is apparent that the city will bend, not break and the neighborhood will fight to the death over Wrigley and quite frankly, for the Cubs, it’s not worth it. Enough with the drawn out fights and he said she said crap. Come to the burbs’ where open arms await!

  • Die hard

    Solution is so simple– Cubs agree to make up any actual loss of net revenues based on annual avg over past 7 years to be set by arbitration– since damages are adequate no injunction would be issued– since the Cubs plans violate the essence of the contract the rooftops would win suit– just make a business decision Ricketts and move on— yeesh!!!

    • DarthHater

      “since the Cubs plans violate the essence of the contract that I have never seen but nonetheless have expert knowledge about, the rooftops would win suit”

      FTFY

    • TWC

      [img]http://watermarked.cutcaster.com/cutcaster-photo-100092142-Grumpy-Senior-Man-with-a-Laptop-Computer.jpg[/img]

      • TWC

        You’d think those sunflowers would cheer Die hard up, but noooooo.

        • DarthHater

          That can’t be Die hard. No rubber walls.

  • Dylan Mondi

    Why can’t the Cubs put a sample up in the offseason and have the rooftop owners see if it would block their view?

  • Funn Dave

    I notice a lot of people griping about the city of Chicago’s role here and pining over a move to a place that might, in their eyes, be more accomodating to the team. I’d just like to point out that controversy and battling with the city over building a new stadium, etc. is in no way unique to Chicago. In fact, it happens everywhere. Any time a team wants to build a new stadium or significantly add on to an existing one, that team has to go through this shit. Just look at the Vikings and their new stadium issues. And yes, the Cubs do have a fairly unique situation with the rooftop owners and the fact that the stadium is right there in the middle of the city, with traffic flowing around it, etc. But that can’t be helped–it’s been that way for decades, and it’s part of what makes Wrigley so unique and awesome. So just remember, while the grass may seem greener in another city or suburb, major stadium renovations are going to have sociopolitical repercussions and controversies no matter where they happen.

    • cubs2003

      Good post. Agreed 100%. Especially with a stadium that’s tucked into a neighborhood in a big city. I think they’ll work it out. It could be the best baseball stadium that exists. If you have to go 15 rounds first, so be it. I just want the finished product to be amazing.

    • Eternal Pessimist

      …but the flip side to this is that many teams have been given financial help to keep them in town (I’m not a fan of needing to bribe the team to stay), and the Cubs fans need to pay a premium (entertainment tax) which doesn’t exist in many if not most of the other cities (you would think that the simple taxes on the goods and services generated from the Cubs would be enough, but the city found a way to give the Cubs a special tax burden to steal their profitability and ability to sign players more easily).

      The Vikings relied on public funding help. Not a good comparison IMO.

      • Eternal Pessimist

        Also, someone in city council decide it would be fair to allow the rooftops to build bleachers on their rooftops (I would imagine that sort of construction approval needed to pass through city council) to siphon revenue off the Cubs product. There was no agreement with the Cubs prior to the construction, and the Cubs needed to take it in the pants and let there product be taken for a 17% discount price. Those rooftop patrons might otherwise be sitting inside wrigley buying Old Style and hot dogs, driving the revenue that would help the team.

      • caryatid62

        While the Cubs aren’t getting direct public funding for the project, they are taking advantage of $8.1 million in tax breaks from the Landmarks Commission and another $42 million in historic preservation tax credits, so while they’re not getting direct funding, they are getting some (relatively minor, in terms of stadia) benefit that comes at the expense of the public.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          … benefits that are available to other non-sports entities that preserve historic buildings like Wrigley Field.

          • DarthHater

            Characterizing historic preservation tax credits as public funding for the renovation project is completely wrong. When the government designates a structure for historic preservation, it thereby imposes costs on the owner of the structure and it does so because of the belief that the entire public derives a benefit from preserving that structure. In other words, a public benefit is achieved by imposing a cost on a private property owner. Under principles of equity, however, public benefits should be paid for by the public, not by an individual property owner. Accordingly, tax credits are provided to the property owner, to compensate for some of the costs of preserving the historic structure for the benefit of the public. All this has nothing to do with funding the stadium renovation project.

            • Eternal Pessimist

              Thanks Darth…I wasn’t even in that frame of mind when I responded to the tax benefits thing.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              “All this has nothing to do with funding the stadium renovation project.”

              Seriously: I almost ended my comment with this same basic sentence.

              • Cubbie Blues

                lawyers … smh

              • caryatid62

                I could argue with the idea that The costs imposed on the Cubs for maintaining the building is similar to other historical buildings, as the maintenance costs of retaining a facility such as that are not the same as, say, a building requiring specific building materials whose cost have risen dramatically since a building was constructed, but that’s not really the point I was making.

                It’s simply that the renovation (which is meant to benefit the organization) will (if approved) get a benefit that comes at the cost of SOME tax dollars. That’s all.

          • Eternal Pessimist

            Exactly…same as everyone, preserving something historic, tax credit…and then a kick in the pants entertainment tax to “punish the success right out of you”.

            Still can’t understand that the areas top economic engine that pays taxes on everything else it earns has to pay extra for police, etc…when other businesses that certainly require a police presence doesn’t require the same.

            • DarthHater

              I’m not sure that characterizing a baseball team as an economic engine is really accurate. A lot of studies have shown that many of the claims for the economic benefits that a ball team brings to a community are overblown. Sure, once a team is in your community it’s the biggest business in the neighborhood, so of course it looks like a local economic engine. But if the team left the neighborhood, all those dollars would not necessarily depart with it. One or more other business would move in to replace the business that left and new economic engines would fill the void. It’s too complex an economic question for me to claim to know the answer, but I think it’s too simplistic to just say that a baseball team is obviously an irreplaceable economic benefit to its community.

              • TWC

                “It’s too complex an economic question for me to claim to know the answer…”

                Have you learned NOTHING from Die hard?!

              • Eternal Pessimist

                Just wonder if those studies involved teams receiving big dollar support to build their stadiums. Not sure of the answer, so I won’t speculate…Oh what the hell, I think I will. Teams in all sports throughout the country receive big dollars to stay put/build and the Cubs didn’t even reach for that (I don’t think the team should be subsidized at all, by the way), but just spitballing, based on the tax dollars thrown at professional sports teams, that they provide a net economic benefit, thought to be better than the alternative. Yes, the neighborhood would “thrive” in some sort of way, but I SUSPECT it would be less than what it is, and generate less for the city/community.

                On the other hand, politicians are driven by many things, and properly representing the people is not always number one on the priority list.

                • caryatid62

                  The book “Field of Schemes” is a solid place to start on this–his website also contains myriad studies on the economic impact of sports teams on local business.

                  His conclusion (and the conclusion of most, if not all, economists) is that publicly financed ballparks are never a net economic benefit to the community surrounding them.

          • caryatid62

            It doesn’t matter that it’s available to others–it’s still a credit that comes at the cost of tax dollars. That’s my only point.

            Yikes.

            • Eternal Pessimist

              You may have missed the point of the loss of autonomy and the additional cost of the preservation applied to the owners of said facility. That probably cancels out your tax savings claims.

              • caryatid62

                No, I got that point. My counter is that the cost of preservation to the Cubs is relatively minimal, as the key elements of preservation does not involve materials that exist at a higher cost today. Additionally, the team only receives the tax benefit when they begin the renovations, which, due to the landmark commission’s decision, are more lenient on regulation than typical renovation costs.

            • Cubbie Blues

              It’s not money that the tax payers are paying, it’s money that the Cubs don’t have to pay to offset some of the costs the the classification costs them.

              • caryatid62

                The absence of that tax money comes as a cost to other taxpayers in the form of reduced services.

                • Cubbie Blues

                  Which, is something the City wanted. It wasn’t the Cubs that wanted the Landmark status, it was the City in the first place. It was a stipulation when we renovated the bleachers in 2001 (I think that is when it happened).

                  • caryatid62

                    That’s true.

                    I’m not blaming the Cubs for anything here. In fact, I think it’s awesome that they’re offering to fund the renovation privately–that should be the norm in sports. My only point is that, even though they’re doing more from a private funding standpoint than any team since the Cowboys, there’s still a (relatively minor) cost to the public.

                    • Cubbie Blues

                      That so called cost to the public is something they wanted in the first place though.

                    • caryatid62

                      I wouldn’t equate a decision made by appointees of the Chicago Machine with “the public.”

                      Most of “the public” didn’t care about landmark status for Wrigley.

      • Pat

        The amusement tax is not unique to the Cubs. All other city teams pay it as well, along with concert venues, movie theaters, bowling alleys, etc. if you don’t want massive taxes, you’re in the wrong city.

        • ClevelandCubsFan

          Think the Cubs were there before the amusement tax…. (but in terms of policy, taxing amusement probably is less regressive than taxing toilet paper and bread [does ILL still tax 1% on food?])

          • Eternal Pessimist

            They already have an amusement tax. Maybe they can have a “happiness tax” next. I will just need to scowl more than usual.

        • caryatid62

          Oddly, enough, the taxes in Chicago are mostly problematic due to the multiple sales taxes, rather than real estate taxes.

          For low income workers (people making $25,000 or so), Chicago has the 4th highest tax rate in the country. But for higher income folks ($150,000 and over), it drops all the way down to 14.

          In other words, it’s good to be rich in Chicago, and it extra sucks to be poor.

  • Aaron

    “No matter how good you are, you’re going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you’re going to win one-third of your games. It’s the other third that makes the difference.”
    ― Tommy Lasorda

    • Tim

      The Astros may have something to say about that

      • cjdubbya

        They’re basically winning a third of their games. Current winning percentage – .336. Winning a third of your games – .333. They’re squandering Lasorda’s “other third that (make) the difference”, only the difference is they’re being rewarded with higher draft picks AND more money to spend in said draft. Yay new CBA?

  • Aaron

    It’s the difference between winning 2 out of 3 games in a series versus winning just 1 of those games. The Cubs know this well after the Miami Marlins series.

Bleacher Nation Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Bleacher Nation is a private media site, and it is not affiliated in any way with Major League Baseball or the Chicago Cubs. Neither MLB nor the Chicago Cubs have endorsed, supported, directed, or participated in the creation of the content at this site, or in the creation of the site itself. It's just a media site that happens to cover the Chicago Cubs.

Bleacher Nation is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Google+