The Cubs can’t ever leave Wrigley Field, or can they? Well on Wednesday, team owner Tom Ricketts threatened to leave the nearly 100-year-old ballpark if he doesn’t get the $500 million dollars necessary for renovations. Ricketts feels he’s doesn’t have the ability to run the team like he wants to run it citing the stadium’s history.
“All we really need is to be able to run our business like a business and not a museum,” Ricketts said.
At the moment, Wrigley Field doesn’t have any video screens in the stadium, and Ricketts wants to put a 6,000 square-foot screen in left field. His reason for it is the Cubs are losing $20 million dollars a year in ad revenue.
“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,” he said.
Other renovations include upgraded concourses and clubhouses, the construction of a hotel across the street, and an office building.
Rooftop owners right behind Wrigley don’t seem to be in favor of the video board because they feel it would obstruct their current views of the field. Rooftop owners have a deal with the team sharing 17 percent of the money they receive from selling tickets. An obstructed view would surely hurt revenue.
Ricketts isn’t taking the threat as a joke. He already has a site for a new stadium if he doesn’t get what he wants. The location is a 25-acre piece of land right by O’Hare International Airport in Rosemont, Illinois. The mayor of Rosemont would even give the land to Ricketts for free if he builds the stadium there, which is quite an incentive.
Hopefully, for the sake of the game of baseball, a deal can be reached for the renovations to be completed. Wrigley Field is one of the most storied ballparks in the world, and it would be a tragedy if the Cubs ever had to leave.
If Ricketts‘ renovations are approved, they would happen over the course of the next five years. The proposal needs approval from City Council and has to get through public hearings.
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