The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Pro Sports

May 1, 2013

Cubs chairman threatens to move team from Wrigley

CHICAGO — The owner of the Chicago Cubs publicly threatened for the first time Wednesday to move the team out of Wrigley Field if his plans for a big, new video screen are blocked, saying he needs millions of dollars in ad revenue to help bankroll the renovation of the storied ballpark.

"The fact is that if we don't have the ability to generate revenue in our own outfield, we'll have to take a look at moving — no question," Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts told reporters after a speech to Chicago business leaders outlining plans for a $500 million renovation of the 99-year-old stadium.

It was the first time during months of contentious negotiations over the Wrigley Field renovation plans that Ricketts threatened to move the team out of the lively North Side neighborhood of bars and restaurants that adds to the historic park's allure with tourists and baseball fans.

By far the thorniest issue is the plan for a 6,000-square-foot video screen over left field, like those in most ballparks. The difference in Chicago is that the stadium — the second oldest in Major League Baseball behind Fenway Park in Boston — is surrounded by privately owned clubs that have built rooftop bleachers and object to any changes to the park that could block their bird's-eye views.

Because they have a contract in which they share 17 percent of their revenue with the Cubs, the rooftop businesses feel they should have a seat at the bargaining table and legal action is a possibility. They have been left out of the talks.

Ricketts presented an architectural rendering of the video screen during his speech to the City Club of Chicago and insisted it would have minimal if any impact on the views. He said without such signage, the team was losing out on $20 million a year in ad revenue — essential for helping fund extensive renovations without dipping into taxpayer funds.

Text Only
Pro Sports
  • Reggie photo for online notebook Colts notebook: Few doubts about Wayne in locker room If there are outside doubts about whether Reggie Wayne can return to form because of his age and the severity of his injury, few are shared inside the Indianapolis Colts' locker room.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0424 - Mathis armor Mathis' leadership paying off for Colts An authentic set of battle armor greeted visitors to Robert Mathis' locker Wednesday at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. The black-and-gold helmet and chest plate look more at home in one of the "300" movies, but they are the proud possessions of the NFL's reigning sacks champion thanks to the generosity of Daniel Adongo and Bjoern Werner.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Tech boom presents new wrinkles for Wrigley Field

    During a recent game at Wrigley Field, John Weber was using a pencil and scorecard to expertly track the game between his hometown Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The 86-year-old retired transit worker figures he is an increasingly rare kind of baseball fan.

    April 22, 2014

  • Mike Lopresti: Pacers remain puzzling So now what? The NBA playoffs began Saturday night, and nothing had changed. They are still the Indiana Puzzles. They are still the enigma that no one can explain, least of all themselves. They are still a shadow of December, only now, the defeats start to really hurt.

    April 20, 2014

  • PACERS LEGEND 1.jpg Leonard still believes in the Pacers

    For the past 36 hours, the NBA universe has been buzzing about the decision made by Indiana Pacers' coach Frank Vogel to rest all of his starting five Wednesday in Milwaukee.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tiger Woods has back surgery, will miss the Masters

    Tiger Woods chose surgery to heal his ailing back over a quest for another green jacket, announcing Tuesday that he will miss the Masters for the first time in his career.

    April 1, 2014

  • SPT - HB0325 - Adam Lind swing Momentum swinging in Lind's favor Adam Lind is hitting .386 with one home run and seven RBIs through 15 Grapefruit League games this spring.

    March 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - HB0322 - Grigson art Grigson happy with offseason additions Though he stopped just short of declaring his shopping spree over, Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson made it clear Friday he's happy with the team's offseason haul.

    March 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0318 - Bremer mug George Bremer: Irsay's plight not about football Jim Irsay has a problem.

    March 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • George Bremer-2.JPG George Bremer: Irsay's plight not about football

    Jim Irsay has a problem.

    March 17, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
More Resources from The Herald Bulletin