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respect wrigleyI really didn’t think it would be possible for the calls to leave Wrigley Field to return after the Cubs spent a year getting the political approvals necessary to implement the renovation – and, importantly, surrounding development – of Wrigley. The Cubs are going to spend the 2014 season celebrating the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field, for crying out loud.

… but we are. With the current Cubs/rooftops impasse blocking the renovation, and one lawsuit already filed, folks are once again raising the question: why not just move? The loudest voice among that group, at least raising the question, is Dave Kaplan, who yesterday wrote about the problems the Cubs face on the business side. From the sound of a couple of his comments on Twitter preceding the article, it seems like Kaplan got a look at the rooftop contract, determined it to be solidly in favor of the rooftops, and grew concerned about the viability of getting the renovation done the way the Cubs want it.* Couched in a piece about the various financial headwinds facing the Cubs (and not other major market teams), Kaplan concludes by rattling the “move” saber. At least start talking to the suburbs or the Mayor about an alternative Chicago location, Kaplan implies.

*(I don’t even want to think about what Kaplan lays out in his final paragraph: imagine that, a year from now, things stand exactly where they stand today. If that sounds crazy, remember that the renovation – after years of failed attempts at public financing – was announced over a year ago at the Convention in 2013. I shudder.)

The problem with the threat to move, of course, is unless the Cubs are actually going to consider moving, there is no threat. The stakeholders the Ricketts would be trying to sway (the rooftops, the neighborhood, the City) know how unlikely a move is, and may be more willing to risk that 0.01% chance that the Cubs would move (and the stakeholders lose catastrophically) than risk giving up leverage in the current talks.

The Ricketts Family has invested heavily – both figuratively and literally – in staying at Wrigley Field, and the Cubs have been working on corporate sponsors for the post-renovated Wrigley for a long time now.

Consider further that a renovated Wrigley Field costs $300 million for, what, a then-worth $800 million to $1 billion asset? The Ricketts are going to leave Wrigley – rendering it virtually worthless, save for the land upon which it sits (to use it for anything else going forward, there would still have to be significant investment) – and then spend $700 million to $1 billion building a new ballpark out in the suburbs or somewhere else in Chicago? Do you see the extreme financial disconnect there? The value of the latter park, on an annual basis, would have to substantially outstrip the value of Wrigley, as it sits now, for that to make any sense. For everyone who screams “but I’d totally go to the ballpark elsewhere!” there are 10 casual “fans” and corporate groups who would not.

At the Convention, Tom Ricketts said the Cubs never seriously considered playing games away from Wrigley to speed up the renovation because (paraphrase) it didn’t feel right to play Cubs games not at Wrigley. Does that sound like a permanent move is ever really going to be considered?

It isn’t, and it probably shouldn’t.

I’ve said before and I’ll say again: a huge, huge chunk of the Cubs’ gate receipts come from casual/party fans and corporate groups. Swinging up to a game from downtown (after work, for example, or while playing afternoon hooky) is easy, and the Cubs’ ticket market is centralized. Move the Cubs to the suburbs? Sure, it becomes very convenient for the smaller percentage of folks who live out that particular way (whichever way it is), but for the folks who live in the City, or, God forbid, the suburban or exurban areas on the other side of the City from the new location? That’s a serious freaking trek, bottlenecking constantly. The hardcore fans would come. They always will. But there are far more casual fans than you might think, and they will not come (unless the Cubs are very, very good … which … that’d be the chicken/egg problem of revenues and winning).

The Cubs need steady gate revenues now more than ever, especially if the mega TV deal can’t be locked in until after 2019. Actually moving, to me, presents as much or more risk of financial disruption than staying and fighting the good fight for the renovation. Make no mistake: I’m as frustrated as anyone that the renovation isn’t already long underway, and I think all sides involved deserve a hearty dose of blame (some more than others) for what amounts to crapping on Cubs fans for the past year-plus. And I’d love nothing more than if the Cubs could credibly threaten to move, get what they need, and then get started renovating Wrigley. I simply don’t think that’s realistic, and I think actually moving would be cutting off the Cubs’ nose to spite their face.

  • salesguy

    Disagree, with the move, you could build your Wrigleyville mecca however you would like, maybe starting off, there would be a hit, but it looks like our payroll is going to decrease with a bunch of cost controlled youth coming soon. After the development, all of the parking, food, and hotel revenues are yours. I just don’t see why people view moving as such a far fetched idea, less hands in your “revenue” cookie jar, more night games (blunting your thought about a drop in traffic and fans to the ballpark) and virtually no restrictions on development, plus there may even be some help from the surrounding community on building the facilities. I guess I’m not seeing the downside here, we are a major league team and we don’t even have a frickin batting cage for ML hitters to warm up for a pinch hit appearance. I say make one final pitch to the rooftops, as a take it or leave it proposal, and then tell them they can have their views, it just won’t be of your baseball team.

    • farmerjon

      ^^^^this

    • http://bleachernation Peoria cubman

      John over at Cubs Den proposed an interesting idea yesterday, he asked Cub fans to boycott all business owned by the rooftops. Not in a attempt to bankrupt rooftops
      , rather get them back to the table and come to terms with the team we all love, the Cubs.

    • Edwin

      As Brett pointed out, there are several financial hurdles to overcome that might make moving financially unviable. It’s also a 3-4 year project, so it’s like there’s a quick payoff to deciding to move.

      I think if it actually comes down to the cubs being forced to move then it means things are going to be pretty terrible either way.

      • BenRoethig

        It is pretty terrible. There is no other major market major league team is treated like this. How many other teams would be told they have to pay for the project themselves and can’t do any of the things necessary to actually fund the renovation? The As and Rays get more consideration than the Cubs and they are one of the top 5 franchises when it comes to brand value.

    • BenRoethig

      I agree completely.

  • http://becomehealthier.com drcub1908

    Brett says …For everyone who screams “but I’d totally go to the ballpark elsewhere!” there are 10 casual “fans” and corporate groups who would not…

    Where is that statistic? I would openly challenge you on that, despite my love for you and this site.

    I would also examine the possibility of a downtown stadium with views of the Chicago skyline that could actually draw MORE corporate partners and the casual business-man fan. Kaplan in the past talked about a location ( an old golf course nearby )…

    I dont think the Cubs would fair well in a billion dollar stadium in Arlington Heights, Probably could do better in Rosemont…being close to the airports and many business travelors. But this rooftop stopping construction on a clubhouse or facility upgrade is insane. Blocking their views if that is what the contract PREVENTS them from doing, then the Cubs MUST find other ways to ADVERTISE in and AROUND that ballpark..If it means, adding billboards ON the rooftops or calling it AMERICAN EXPRESS’S WRIGLEY FIELD…
    I DONT CARE.

    but a NEW state of the art Wrigley Field or ( RICKETTS FIELD for all I care ) somewhere in downtown, could be even better than what we have now. The landscape is dramatically changing and I hope that the Cubs get their TV, RADIO deals and it is a reflection of what the MLB team does.

    no way in a Chicago-minute ( if there is such a thing ) do I think the team will leave 1060 W. Addison – ever.

    • farmerjon

      ^^^^this

      • Patrick W.

        <<<<<< that

      • Patrick W.

        the other >>>>>

    • Jason P

      “Brett says …For everyone who screams “but I’d totally go to the ballpark elsewhere!” there are 10 casual “fans” and corporate groups who would not…

      Where is that statistic? I would openly challenge you on that, despite my love for you and this site.”

      It’s not 10-1, but it is still a significant chunk of their ticket sales. Even if it’s only 25-30%, that would still be a huge chunk of revenue to lose in the form of lost ticket sales.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Yeah, I wasn’t really offering a stat – just making a point.

        • farmerjon

          Not to pile on…but it’s a baseless point, I expect a little more out of you. It would be interesting to see an abstract of where the fans actually come from each game…how many casual fans just show up at Wrigley for a game. I suspect more fans are bussed in from Iowa and Indiana each game than casual fans from the neighborhood.

          • mr. mac

            And how many new fans would start going to make up that percentage of lost revenue? No offense, Brett, but I think you underestimate how tired of this most of us really are. And when I moved out of the city I still make the trip to see the Cubs a dozen or so times a year. Most fans just care about the team and winning. I dont know many people that are fans because of Wrigley or the neighborhood.

            • hansman

              You’d get a couple year boost but after those first two years it’d be no different than any other stadium in America.

          • mjhurdle

            it isn’t a baseless point.
            It is a fact that the Cubs benefit from casual fans showing up for games because of Wrigley. I live down and STL and I know Cardinal fans that have gone to games in Chicago when the Cubs weren’t playing the Cardinals just because they want to watch games at Wrigley.

            So the point is valid. If the Cubs left Wrigley, they would lose those ticket sales. You can argue over how many tickets are sold that way, and how big the impact would be, but it is definitely something to consider when talking about leaving Wrigley.

  • CubSTH60625

    Thanks Brett! This is a wonderful summary of the potential problems facing any threat to move from Wrigley. Kaplan is a doofus. I listened to his show last night and he did classic Kaplan BS…he never quite allowed himself to be nailed down on an opinion. He was “just asking questions.” Plus, there’s no way Kaplan read…and then understood…the agreement because he never acknowledged the change to the landmark status of the bleachers.

    Also consider that the Ricketts own…what?!? $40 million in property around Wrigley (not including Wrigley Field). He pulls the Cubs he’s gotta have a plan to deal with 1. Wrigley 2. An old McDonald’s…with a very large parking lot. 3. Probably an old UHaul building. 3. The small parking lots around Wrigley. 4. At least 1 rooftop (maybe more?!?) 5. A large brick building that houses the Cub management on Clark (that they put considerable money to renovate).

    We may be frustrated, but the threat to move to a ridiculous threat. I have a better chance to being the #1 Prospect for the Cubs in Baseball Prospectus than the Cubs leaving Wrigley Field. Get over it.

    • brainiac

      yeah let’s be serious here. the people who want to move wrigley don’t want to move it to the suburbs. they want to move the cubs to st. louis. it’s like the people who say they love america, and then when something doesn’t go their way they threaten to move to canada.

    • salesguy

      This is not ridiculous threat, this is a whole cadre of people lining up, wanting things done their way, and not wanting to pay for it. Tom Ricketts is a business man, and unless you forget, the remaining Ricketts were not in favor of working with the city, or keeping the existing park. This discussion with, and legitimizing, a group of vultures, thugs, and crooked politicians who all want their way, but don’t want to pay for it, is getting old. I just love how people say “this could never happen” these are the same people who I hope get caught open mouthed, and flatfooted when a businessman decides to make a decision that is in the best interest of his business.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Playing high stakes poker requires discipline and ability to find and capitalize on tells- one owner putting bldg up for sale may be that tell that Rooftoppers are bluffing– For a $10000 retainer fee and $500 hr I would mediate a settlement if Rooftoppers signal willingness to forego seating for signage as rumored

    • baldtaxguy

      I would buy a ticket to that mediation meeting. No price would be too high.

      :)

  • sleepy

    I think if the Cubs built a state of the art facility which could maximize revenue streams, thereby fielding a competitive team, people would come to watch the games… in droves. I don’t get the whole Wrigley Field as a shrine sentiment. Wrigley has been a house of horrors for more than a century, time to move on.

    • baldtaxguy

      It is location, location, location in part. The neighborhood draws so much of the casual, to the not so casual fan. That adds to the draw and displacing it will likely bring the attendance down toward White Sox numbers (boom, eat that Sox fans!! (not really!!))

      • BenRoethig

        What will the draw be when more concrete comes falling down during games? Further more, do you think they will come when we have 100 loss team every years because they had to take on more debt? The Cubs have done every they can to save Wrigley. The neighborhood and city have fought them tooth and nail on it. There’s two options. They Rooftop owners get in line or the Cubs move. A isn’t going to happen, so its gotta be B.

        • baldtaxguy

          “What will the draw be when more concrete comes falling down during games?”

          Well, fixing concrete does not require rooftop owners approval, and concrete is not falling, so a bit of a strawman statement here. But, to answer your question, the draw will still be more than in Arlington Heights.

          • hansman

            But the ownership doesn’t have to do anything for the concrete to fall down. We want something done now. Doesn’t matter if it is a bad idea.

  • Fenway Frank

    Unreasonable idea of the day, lower the field like in St Louis. Drop everything down, put signage on the newly exposed outfield. I don’t suppose this would be considered interrupting the view of the rooftops.

    • CubFan Paul

      Fenway Frank = Crane Kenney

      What about the ivy?

      • Fenway Frank

        from ground up, ivy, ad wall, fans. Fans at the same elevation they have always been.

    • hansman

      So what happens when it rains and the already high water table comes up to the field?

  • Spoda17

    I disagree Brett. I think it’s time to move. It will happen eventually. By the lake would be awesome.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Evanston would be interesting venue– but are Cubs barred from moving due to Rooftoppers contract? Or is there an opt out for Cubs like Tanaka?

    • snakdad

      There’s absolutely NOTHING in that contract saying anything about the Cubs moving, I’ll bet the house on that, because it’s never even been remotely considered before.
      The Cubs would still be offering excellent views of Wrigley Field…..just with no players on it.

      • Pat

        Actually, it was discussed back in the 80′s. That’s where the ridiculous Arlington Heights idea came from (before they re-built the racetrack).

  • Diamondrock

    It. Will. Never. Happen. It just won’t. Brett hits all the points, plus there’s massive pressure, historical inertia, and the greater reputation of the Cubs organization to deal with.

    You think some fans are pissed at the Ricketts now? Imagine they’re the ownership that demolishes 100 year-old Wrigley field, one of the great shrines of baseball and a historical monument. They’re never going to go down that route.

    That doesn’t even include the money things that Brett mentioned. The cost of moving would be enormous, both in terms of cash and logistically. I wouldn’t be surprise me if it would turn out to be cheaper (and more valuable in the long run) to wait out the rooftops, despite the damage it could do to the organization.

    The rooftops are flailing, wounded animals right now. They’re doing what they’re doing because they know that the current ownership has no intention of renewing *any* contract with them. They’ve got however many years before the walls go up, and they’re trying to squeeze every penny they can out like the parasites they are.

    The Cubs will never leave Wrigley field. Never. Going. To happen.

    • farmerjon

      I think those fans are also part of the problem…

    • BenRoethig

      They wouldn’t be demolishing it, they’d be moving from it. It’d probably be sold for nothing to the state or the city as a historic landmark.

  • addks

    I’m am not totally familiar with real-estate, but could the Cubs build new while staying in Chicago or are the suburbs the only option?

    • cubs2003

      I’m not in real estate either, but I’d expect it would be difficult. The city keeps a tight grip on zoning, planning, etc. If the city wants to keep Wrigleyville what it is, I’d expect it wouldn’t be worth the cost, or even possible, unless they could prove Wrigley to be in too bad of shape to use. Again, I’m not an expert.

  • Steve

    The Braves just got lured away from just outside of downtown Atlanta to the suburbs. New stadium paid for by mainly public funds.
    I’m not familiar with the possible locations up there, but dagnabit, enough is enough.
    With Ricketts money, a few private investors, and some public funds, I say it’s foolish not to at least get a proposal together.

  • farmerjon

    bert, I believe you consistently underestimate the love the fans have for the team…I happen to be one of the fans who believe Wrigley is part of the problem. I love baseball, I love the cubs, heck I even love Wrigley. Having been to the other stadiums within our division, Wrigley truly is a dump. Take a good hard look at it (without the rose colored glasses). I believe you undervalue the love the fans have for the TEAM. I would follow this TEAM anywhere in the Chicagoland area, I would be thankful for easy access off the interstate and train lines, and would welcome a “Wrigleyville” experience anywhere outside of Wrigleyville. Imagine a new state of the art facility that looks like Wrigley. Family oriented things to do, the Ricketts’ get to own the rooftops, lease the restaurants, pocket the parking dollars etc… In my mind I see a Cubsland type theme park atmosphere, built to replicate Wrigleyville with restaurants, hotel/motels, shops, street fairs…whatever they want. A local government and community that is happy and proud to have them (and accommodate them). A fresh start for the oncoming generations of sustained success where we leave behind the dilapidated museum of broken dreams at the corner of Clark and Addison.

    • farmerjon

      I’m not familiar enough with Chicago to know the ideal spot to put all this, the old horse track at Arlington Heights maybe? I’m certain there would be tax dollars to aid construction and some long term tax breaks for incentive. I assume when the get good and stay good the city will be first in line to up the entertainment tax. Don’t forget the value of the property they are leaving behind too, I’m certain there would be development opportunities there as well. I just feel you look at this “the Cubs couldn’t move, could they?” idea VERY one dimensionally Brett. Bottom line, put a winning product on the field and the fans (and corporate sponsors) will follow.

  • cubs2003

    I think the Cubs should stay at Wrigley. The coolest ballpark that exists(OK, maybe Fenway, too). I’m a little frustrated that ownership didn’t have this stuff figured out when they bought the club. Every time I’ve taken anyone there, hardcore baseball fan, sort of baseball fan, or just someone who thought it would be fun to see a ballgame, they could feel the energy, the history, and everything else that makes the place so special. Hey Ricketts, hey Crane, hey City of Chicago, hey rooftops – find a way to get it done, please.

    • Diehardthefirst

      Wrigley Field is falling apart- would be interested in seeing an unbiased structural engineer report

      • cubs2003

        If the place is beyond repair, then go ahead and move. I’d like to think the Ricketts family did their homework before they purchased it, though.

        • Diehardthefirst

          He was too starry eyed to see or think straight which is why he’s in this mess- if he was working for someone else he’d be fired by now

        • snakdad

          I think it’s become pretty clear not nearly enough homework was done.

    • brainiac

      thank you – we had this argument a while back and i don’t want to revisit it. but how about playing at a great ballpark with great tradition that goes back to our great grandparents that’s world famous and, at least to this point, has been without a giant cellphone screen in the middle of the park to distract from the game?

      but people love parking lots, and ordering chipotle at the game, and watching the game on their cellphones instead of on the field, and taking selfies… times have changed in this way. baseball is a “lifestyle advertisement”, not a competitive sport. it explains in part at least why the emphasis on winning has depleted. it’s an event like six flags, not a competitive team-based mentality.

      • cubs2003

        I don’t think people love parking lots and ordering Chipotle at the game. They like them. There’s a difference. They love Wrigley. Just one fan’s opinion.

  • TulaneCubs

    I don’t think it’s time for them to move, but I think it was foolish not to explore other areas to move into before this process even began. It doesn’t cost anything to listen and it puts more pressure on the mayor and the rooftops.

    Who knows? Maybe they can get land donated and some more concessions from a suburb that could actually make the threat of them moving more feasible. If a suburb throws in land, waives taxes for the Cubs and maybe provides some form of funding for the Cubs (no matter how small) and let’s them do whatever they want with advertising, the additional revenue (not to mention the cost savings) could add up quick.

    I’m not saying the Cubs should move. But they have little to no leverage in this negotiation with the rooftop owners. They need to at least explore other opportunities with these suburbs in order to put some sort of pressure on the rooftop owners.

    • farmerjon

      ^^^^this

  • mosconml

    Anyone know anything about billboard revenues? At this point I’m almost for just putting the ads on the rooftops for ten years and then giving them a giant middle finger once the contract is up.

  • mosconml

    Brett, I’d counter on three points:

    1. Tax breaks. No reason to think a suburb wouldn’t offer massive dollars to lure the Cubs.
    2. Chicago politics. Getting out of this ridiculous system can’t be overlooked.
    3. Changing revenue streams. Tickets are becoming a smaller share of overall revenues, so even if attendance were to drop (and frankly, so long as the Cubs remain competitive that’s a maybe), there’s a good chance that the new media and advertising contracts could compensate for those drops.

    • farmerjon

      ^^^^this

    • snakdad

      Very intelligent post.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    I read somewhere that Rosemont has a nice tract of land to give the Cubs should they decide to go there. If we would put a viable product on the field then maybe we could return to a team that draws three million plus fans each year. I was shocked awhile back when I saw the attendance stats for the last five years. Let’s face it the Tribune company never cared about anything but profits and they took young Tom Ricketts with the terms of the sale. All of this losing and the small market budget are to the benefit of Mr. Zell to keep from paying taxes. I think if you could get a candid response from Theo he would think twice about coming to Chicago if he knew then wht he knows now. But is is too proffesional to speak ill of anyone. And I truelly think Ricketts is a good guy and wants to win. But right now he is like a one legged man in an ass kicking contest. The rooftops and his creditors have him by the cajones.

    • snakdad

      Tribune Co. was out of the picture by the time Ricketts arrived. Zell owned it then.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    Does MLB have the power to make a team move home games if the home stadium is not up to certain standards?

    Suppose MLB inspects Wrigley and find it lacking.
    Selig orders the Cubs to play their home games elsewhere until it is brought up to code… in Montreal, perhaps, since they are looking for a team again.
    Once the Cubs have Wrigley improved to the point that Selig or his heir is happy, the Cubs come back home. But the Cubs are sent out on a per season basis. All home games in every season would be elsewhere until the stadium is improved.

    The biggest bad guy in that scenario would be Selig, but it would have the potential to force the rooftops to settle now, something that short of such pressure it may not be in their interest to do.

    Does MLB have that kind of authority?

    • Kyle

      MLB has the authority to do just about anything it wants to do, right up to revoking the franchise.

      However, it will never, ever take any action that threatens franchise valuations. And I imagine condemning a stadium that was a big part of the Cubs’ sale price would qualify under that category.

  • http://BN Sacko

    Step 1 Admitted that I am powerless over the Cubs and that my life is unmanageable.

    Step 2 Came to believe that Bleacher Nation could restore me to sanity.

  • ruby2626

    Sorry off topic. Rozner just had an entertaining interview with Jeff Samardjia on the SCORE. Jeff says all the right things about knowing where he has to improve, he mentioned giving up leads and having over 70 walks. He mentioned that he wants to be the guy, the ace who gets the ball when you need that big win, and of course he wants to stay with the Cubs. All that is great but the phrase not accountable for your actions comes to mind. Dude, you had an ERA of 5.50 after the All Star break, I’d like to be paid like my company CEO but until I’m actually in the position earning the money it’s not gonna happen.

    • 70′s Cub

      ruby2626 keep the cold blanket off Shark…Theo’s trying to move the merchandise for a reason.

    • Brocktoon

      Samardzija’s 2nd half ERA was 4.72. Should Samardzija not be allowed to negotiate a contract because he had a bad 2nd half last year?

      • Diehardthefirst

        You answered your own question. He became sushi

  • hcs

    Just my 2 cents… I wouldn’t go to games at a new park. I won’t go to games at The Cell, even for free. It’s a soulless corporate pit. Yes, it’s more modern, but it’s just an awful place. As an avid concertgoer, I also won’t go to House of Blues either, for the same reason. It’s the corporate world’s version of what a rock club should be, but it’s just missing that, for lack of a better term, life. It’s dead inside.

    • snakdad

      Then I guess you don’t see much baseball. All parks are like this now. You can bet any attempt to build a new Wrigley would duplicate all the important parts.

      • ClevelandCubsFan

        Not all. The Cell is uniquely bad. It was the last of the so-called “modern” period of ballparks, and they ruined it. Modern done right: Kauffman. Modern done wrong: The Cell. Since the Cell opened, most parks have been retro and pretty nice.

  • Ballgame17

    If the Ricketts’ were gonna use the “we’ll consider moving angle”, it’s long past. I can’t believe some of you actually think the Cubs would attract capacity crowds in Rosemont. We’re talking about all of this better central location for Rosemont, but I just don’t see casual fans banging down the door to get into Wrigley in Rosemont. The whole allure is seeing the CUbs in Wrigley FIeld. Sure, some additional families would go to the game in the burbs, but most current fans at Wrigley are not the family dynamic. Could you imagine the Cubs eventually winning the World Series NOT at Wrigley. I know, I’d take a win anywhere but we should stop this conversation casue there’s literally no chance of them moving. You think Rahm would allow the Cubs to leave on his watch? Zero chance again….the chance for a “poker face” has come and gone for Ricketts, pay the scumbags off for a big amount and let them rot somewhere else. Yes, rooftop owners are donkeys!

    • D.G.Lang

      Rahm really has little choice in the matter. He may try to impose greater taxes or use some other threats but IF the Cubs move he is powerless to affect them.

      He may try to impose taxes because they are the “Chicago” Cubs or they have an office in Chicago but all the Cubs have to do is move their offices to the new Complex and rename the team the “Chicagoland” Cubs.

      Even the official name of “The National League club of Chicago” whatever it is could be modified.

      The ONLY question is if or when the Cubs get fed up enough to move. If they reach that point there is little he could do to stop them other than to force the rooftops out of business due to some fabricated violations or by imposing such severe restrictions on they that they can’t afford to remain in business. Rahm can’t stop the Cubs from moving, he can only do whatever he can to remove the cause of them wanting to move.

      The only option Chicago would have against the Cubs would be to try to force the state into imposing taxes on the Cubs to “compensate” Chicago for their “loss”.

    • Geech

      The Cubs don’t necessarily need to draw capacity crowds at a new stadium to benefit. More advertising, parking revenues, more concessions, easier maintenance and more luxury boxes could make up some of the difference lost in raw attendance. Not mention, the club would be free to modify their park as necessary without having to deal with Chicago’s rotten politics.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    Am I mistaken or is it only one rooftop owner in particular that is blocking the big sign in left field?

    • D.G.Lang

      It appears that there is ONE owner without a rooftop operation but only a Miller sign on his building which is the major objector to the new sign in right field.

      The advertiser who the Cubs have lined up for the “see thru” sign doesn’t want the Miller sign to be visible through or alongside the see thru sign because it is from a competitor brewer. The Miller advertiser doesn’t want a competitor (a new sign) blocking his sign either.

      As long as the Miller sign exists the Cubs can’t get the most value from a right field sign. They would very much like to have a larger solid sign which would gather more income but the see thru sigh was most likely an effort to accommodate the owner of the building with the Miller sign in an effort to get any sign erected.

      I suppose that if there is a lawsuit and the Cubs win then the right field sign will be made larger and solid to enable a greater revenue draw. There is probably an agreement already with the potential see thru sign advertiser to allow for a larger sign at a better rate when it becomes possible.

      I really do believe that if there is a lawsuit and the Cubs win then we WILL see larger signs/video screens on both sides of the park and eventually the rooftops will either be diminished in number or completely forced out of business unless they convert to indoors sports clubs with large screen TVs.

      If the Cubs are allowed to erect the larger screens and totally block the rooftops there will no longer be a need for the rooftop seats so they will most likely be removed and sold as salvage or scrap.

      It appears that the building owner joined the other rooftop owners simply to protect his income from that sign. He most likely has a long term lease out for that sign and is obligated to fight to keep it up and unobstructed. He most certainly doesn’t want to lose the income from that sign either.

      I would think that if he is doing nothing other than allowing the sign to be on his building he isn’t worth the respect of someone who is actually working by operating a rooftop club.

      • http://bleachernation.com woody

        That was a very informative post. Thanks for the info.

  • Hebner The Gravedigger

    Here is my crazy idea: Put up the jumbo-tron and new signage on the other side of the roof-top buildings. They would have to be bigger and taller, but they would not be blocking anything. Of course getting access to the land to erect this stuff could be interesting…

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      If you put them that high they won’t appear on TV much either, and that takes big bites out of the revenue potential from what we can tell.

  • brainiac

    We should clarify the subtext here too – the ultimatum that if the Ricketts don’t make more money that they won’t invest in the team.

    One way to make more money is to “improve” a ballpark so it’s more profitable. But in the end the real problem is the ownership’s dereliction of duty, not Chicago tradition. Do we need new bathrooms and beam support? Yes. Do we need new food concession stands and to block the rooftops? Not really.

  • waffle

    idiot question

    is the primary rooftop issue over sight lines? Blockage? So the renovation is being held up for a jumbotron and some billboards?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      More over the revenue the Cubs don’t have but their competitors do as a result of the lack of the assets.

      Effectively the Cubs are handing every team in baseball a huge revenue head start. Some fans think the owners should just make up that loss out of pocket, even if it means the Cubs are not profitable, but I’m not in that camp.

    • BenRoethig

      Problem is that the jumbotron and those billboards pay for the renovation. Otherwise it’d come out of the baseball budget.

  • kj1

    If the Cubs fielded a competitive team the casual fan would find it difficult to find a ticket to buy. Don’t underestimate just how many DIEHARD Cubs fans exist. A winning team will fill the seats regardless where the stadium is located.

  • cubs2003

    I agree, but that’s a hard use of resources to sell to fans. Just like when a city builds a park everyone’s “Yeah!” and when the city needs 20x the amount of money to repair a bridge over a highway people are pissed and cities wait until something horrible happens to actually do it. It’s a tough line. I would hope renovations to Wrigley were build into the cost of sale, but I’m becoming a little skeptical.

  • jtizzle

    I am a season ticket holder who sells about 75-85% of my tickets via craigslist. Of those tickets sold, about 50% of them go to people from out of town. I bet there is a lot of people in the stands during the summer months from out of town that use Wrigley as a tourist stop. Does anyone think that people would come from out of town to see the Cubs in Rosemount or some other suburb. I think this is why the stands are packed in the summer along with the business folk there. Also, there is a 0% chance I would keep my season tickets if they moved from Wrigley. I live in the city and there is no way I am dealing with traffic or 2 cta transfers to go see them. It would also most likely impact my ability to sell the tickets I don’t use.

    How may other season ticket holders would jump ship that the Cubs rely on?

    • jeff1969

      Somehow, I just think moving would damage the Cubs like you think it would. In any area except maybe nostalgia. There are always millions ready to take your place if you vacate, people who don’t care what you might care about, and after a little while, people who wouldn’t know any different. There’s not one abandoned ballpark still being cried about.

      • jeff1969

        Ooops, “don’t think”.

    • dandcbleedblue

      I am a season ticket holder. I would not jump ship, would be almost dishonorable to my father who started buying them over 30 years ago. However I would not enjoy the continued downward demand for resale during non premium parts of the season and I’d get really bummed when it looks more like US Cellular or the state of the art Miller Park during down seasons or the freezing cold periods of the season.

      Remembering again the Braves move comment, anyone go to Turner while the Braves were GOOD? Wrigley has more people in it during a worthless cold April or September game than they would have during meaningful September games. Atlanta is not Chicago, and move the Cubs out of Wrigley and there are plenty of “Die Hard” fans who won’t be anymore.

  • dandcbleedblue

    Brett, been visiting here a long time, first comment. Think I saw you at the Convention by the way up in front of the Rookie Development Session maybe, or at least someone in a BN tee. Anyway…

    Lol, some of the funniest comments I’ve ever read in this thread. More people bussed in from IA or IN for games than locals? April, May and September it’s hard to bus large groups of kids in for weekday games. June through Aug when all the local season tickets holders full the stadium, not a chance.

    Comparing the Atlanta situation? Just go read the circumstances of the move and were you ever at Turner?

    There are VERY few scenarios where a stadium of any sort is located in an urban neighborhood, and those don’t move. Fenway and, well Wrigley basically.

    Brett’s comments are SPOT on. Boycott the rooftops if you want, that’s about the best anyone can do. The contract signed by the prior regime not withstanding, eventually they will get this whole thing done and the rooftop owners won’t be sitting on top, no pun intended. The cost in already is way too significant and Tom Ricketts and his team are good business people and very good negotiators. They’re not gonna move period, no matter how much the drum gets beaten.

    I do actually have some statistics on where the fans come from to Wrigley, if I can find it I’ll post some abstracts.

    • snakdad

      If they were good negotiators they wouldn’t be getting pushed around like a grocery cart by the rooftops, the douchebag Alderman, and to some extent, the mayor.

      • dandcbleedblue

        I’m not saying it from a casual standpoint but from experience.

        Also as a comparison, try to get a planned development done in the City of Chicago right now in just about any Ward and let me know when you get your permits to build. The process is arduous, incredibly time consuming and lengthy. Hell go get a liquor license and see how long it takes.

        It will all get done.

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