Thursday night, the Chicago Cubs won a significant legal victory in their federal lawsuit with two rooftops who accused the Cubs of breaching their revenue-sharing agreement and violating antitrust laws.
You can read more about that decision and its implications here, but the short version is: the court said no to the rooftops’ request to block the right field signage pending the resolution of the case, and, furthermore, the court said the rooftops’ arguments were not likely to prevail. It was as good of an outcome as the Cubs could have realistically hoped for on that particular piece.
In response to that decision, the man who is now the primary owner of/investor in the two rooftops involved in the suit released this statement:
Statement from rooftop owner Ed McCarthy re: yesterday's Wrigley v. Rooftops ruling. He appears to be moving on. pic.twitter.com/ltosxPI7DJ
— Danny Ecker (@DannyEcker) April 3, 2015
All things considered, it’s a classy response, but also probably a necessary one (especially after the recent negative press one of the rooftops received thanks to an indictment). With the signage due to go up this season, these two rooftops – whose views will be impacted – need to start preparing their patrons and staff for a year with obstructed views. Maybe they eventually win the right to have those signs taken down (not likely), but, for now, this is the reality.
As I said when analyzing the decision, I also think that the language used in the court’s decision was so strong that it will likely spur a new round of settlement negotiations, and McCarthy’s statement could be a hint at that process.
Note that McCarthy is not saying the rooftops are ending their lawsuits (against the Cubs or against the City), and the Cubs’ motion to dismiss the case is still pending. It’s highly unlikely the Cubs would settle on any terms favorable to the rooftops before that motion is decided. But, for now, the Cubs have all of the leverage. I am guessing that, eventually, the Cubs will wind up owning, in whole or in part, these rooftops as part of a settlement. I have no inside information on that – it’s just that it seems to be the way these kinds of cases go, and it’s clear that the Cubs would like to own the rooftops.