Late last season, we heard that the Chicago Cubs had inked a long-term deal with Anheuser-Busch that would increase Budweiser’s availability in, and visibility around, Wrigley Field. That deal includes the right field sign.
Intermittently since then, there have been reports about the value of that deal, but we’ve reached a critical mass on at least one part: it’s worth $140 million. Jon Greenberg reported that figure back in late September, and Tom Loxas heard it in January. Yesterday, both Bruce Levine and Paul Sullivan reported the deal as worth $140 million, as well.
The rub is that Greenberg and Loxas reported the deal as being spread over 10 years – $14 million per year – while Levine and Sullivan say it’s over 14 years – $10 million per year. That’s not a huge difference, but it’s four million bucks per year – a reliever! – and the ability to renegotiate four years earlier. Incidentally, a 10-year deal would line up with the expiration of the rooftop contract, which may or may not be a coincidence.
For now, I’m going to assume it’s a 14-year deal, given that those are the more recent reports (and they came on the same day). Either way, the deal – which will include additional signage for Budweiser outside the ballpark on the plaza and/or hotel, and which includes beer sponsorship exclusivity – is a significant upgrade over what the Cubs were previously able to bring in for the same space/sponsorship.
We know that the Cubs have indicated that every dollar that comes in the door is put back into the organization in some way, so the deal represents an additional $10 million per year – before revenue-sharing – that the Cubs can use on things and stuff to make the team better.
When it comes to the renovation of Wrigley Field, this is just the tip of the increased-revenue iceberg. And the you throw in the new TV deal(s) when they happen? It remains reasonable to believe that, long-term, money isn’t going to be an issue for the Cubs, even if it is right now.