In response, presumably, to requests for the same, Dave Kaplan has produced more provisions of the Cubs/rooftop agreement over at CSN. Give them a read, because it’s interesting background info, if nothing else.
Now having a little more context (though still not the entire agreement or the dealings of the parties, so, caveats aplenty), I feel a touch more strongly about my conclusions yesterday. The short version was: I can see rooftop arguments, based on the contract, against the Cubs’ ability to erect outfield signage as part of the Wrigley renovation. But those argument strike me as unlikely to prevail, based on what we currently know. “Expansions” of Wrigley Field that have been approved by a governmental authority do not breach the contract with respect to the rooftops’ views into Wrigley.
I was particularly interested to see more context for Section 6, which generally entertains the possibility of “expansion,” both in the form of “bleacher seating” and some kind of other expansion that is not necessarily limited to additional seating. I still see nothing to suggest that Section 6.6 – the apparently key provision – should be read as limited to seating expansions, as opposed to any and all expansions of Wrigley Field (which the renovation and addition of outfield signage almost certainly is, under any standard). Further, the parties clearly contemplated that things might play out precisely as they have:
6.5 – Nothing in this Agreement limits the Cubs’ rights to seek approval of the right to expand Wrigley Field or the Rooftops’ right to oppose any request for expansion of Wrigley Field.
In other words, each of the Cubs and rooftops can, under the agreement, jockey for public support when it comes to expanding Wrigley Field in the way City Council approved. Each side did, and the Cubs received approval. The contract contemplates such a situation. Read together with Section 6.6 (discussed at length yesterday), it’s reasonable to conclude that the contract is designed for the governmental authorities in charge of expansion approvals to be the gatekeeper. Those governmental authorities have spoken, and the Cubs appear to be on strong footing in their application for a permit to erect the right field sign, as previously approved both by the Landmarks Commission and City Council, as a whole.
We’ll see how the rooftops respond if and when the sign actually goes up. I suspect that negotiations are still ongoing, and I suspect that nothing I’ve written here – or anyone has written anywhere on this subject – is unknown to both of the parties already.
What we still don’t know is precisely what arguments the rooftops* could make to scuttle the overall renovation, if it came to that. Is the contract their only lever? Is there a statutory or administrative law argument that the government’s actions were inappropriate? As much confidence as any of us might have about the Cubs’ contractual rights here, litigation is always uncertain. An agreement of some kind remains the most desirable outcome. Hopefully this is all still just posturing. Lots and lots of posturing.
*Hell, we still don’t yet know, for sure, whether the rooftops would all join together in an action against the Cubs, or if only the affected rooftops would be forced to go at it alone, possibly for reasons of legal standing.