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From the Cubs Business Side: Wrigley Field Updates, Hotel, TV Deal

Chicago Cubs News

Today, the Cubs’ President of Business Operations Crane Kenney met with a few of us to talk about a number of things, and also discussed more on the business side in his panel this afternoon.


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Among the bits dropped …

  • Before the huge amount of work that had been done at Wrigley Field before and during the 2016 season, the Cubs wouldn’t have been able to serve all the electrical needs of the media and the ballpark for the World Series. I can’t imagine what it would have been like for the Cubs to have to, like, turn certain things off during the World Series just to be able to operate.
  • To that end, a big project ongoing right now is putting in two massive ComEd electrical vaults at the park to really update the way power is distributed, which will provide more stable electrical support. These are the kinds of things you don’t necessarily think about when we talk about the renovation, but this kind of “guts” work is necessary to turn a 100-year-old ballpark into a modern facility.
  • Speaking of which, something that was desperately in need of work was the cellular service coverage at Wrigley Field, and that should be dramatically improved this year. WIFI is also being worked on throughout the season, but we might not see the real fruits of that until 2019.

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  • As for the audio systems, those too will be improved, but not until 2019. The speakers are generally on the second deck, and that’s not getting work until next offseason.
  • The dugouts are being moved roughly 28 feet up the line, which will align them better with the new batting tunnels that are being put in. The new protective netting will extend all the way to the far end of the new dugouts, so it’s going to be a really considerably expansion.
  • Some of the facilities for the visiting teams will be improved this season, but their terrible clubhouse will not be worked on until after this season. Sorry, bruh.

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  • There will be eight new concessions areas that open up during the season, and the luxury clubs will also continue to get work throughout the season. The first, the 1914 Club, will be open for this season.
  • The hotel across from Wrigley Field should be open this season, and its restaurants – Big Star, Smoke Daddy, and McDonald’s among them – should be opening up in April or May.
  • The Cubs are still working on their TV rights plans (recall, their existing agreements are up after the 2019 season), and although Kenney didn’t give details, he did say that the changes in the way sports content is being delivered (i.e., with large tech companies getting into the space) have brought more bidders at the auction, so to speak, and they have had great conversations with interesting potential partners.

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  • This was after the panel discussion:


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Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation.