We haven’t heard a whole lot on the Cubs-rooftops impasse, as it relates to the Wrigley Field renovation and development project, since the late-January/early-February saber-rattling about the Cubs erecting their advertising sign in right field (currently delayed), and the rooftop owners readying for a lawsuit. That came after some comments by Tom Ricketts and Crane Kenney at the Cubs Convention, which reportedly ruffled the rooftops’ feathers as the sides were on the verge of an agreement. (I’m not actually sure how accurate that is, but those were the reports.)
By all accounts, the sides continued working behind the scenes on a deal, and “the hope” was that a deal would be ready to announce by Opening Day – presumably meant to be Wrigley’s Opening Day, which is this Friday. That remains possible, in the sense that no one has explicitly ruled it out, but I can’t help but wonder if we’re in for another round of sparring.
The Ricketts Family will be spotlighted on 60 Minutes Sports on Showtime tonight at 8pm CT, and you can catch a sneak peak here at CSN. It appears as though the ongoing rooftop dispute will take up a sizable chunk of the broadcast, and it doesn’t sound like things are going particularly well. Beth Murphy is also interviewed in the piece.
I highly doubt the Ricketts Family would say anything in the 60 Minutes piece that the rooftops haven’t already heard at the negotiating table – just like I’m sure there was nothing said at the Convention that actually surprised them – but it seems like every time the Cubs speak publicly about the dispute, the rooftops try to grab some leverage by expressing frustration about whatever was said. In other words, whatever comes out of this 60 Minutes thing, I’m tentatively expecting some more public spatting. Hopefully I’m just being overly pessimistic there, and hopefully we’ll find that, because the interviews were recorded a long time ago, things have gone swimmingly since, and a deal is on the horizon.
I really can’t wait until I can end one of these Wrigley update pieces without a “hopefully” sentence.
As I reported in last month’s financial piece, sources say the finalized Wrigley renovation project could generate as much as $40 million in incremental annual revenue for the Cubs (but only if they can actually proceed with the renovation in the way outlined for, and approved by, City Council). So, yeah, this remains an exceedingly important story.
An announcement that a deal was in place that would allow the Cubs to proceed in earnest with the renovation as they envision it, paired with an announcement of a long-term TV deal that contemplates the full slate of games post-2019 (and allows the Cubs to start cashing in next year), would pretty much make 2014 a great year – and it’s April, and the big league team probably won’t win many games.
All we’ve got is “hopefully” at this point, though.