The Chicago Cubs and the City Hall of Chicago are expected to finalize a $500 million deal that will allow the Cubs to renovate Wrigley Field and its surrounding area. Cubs’ chairman Tom Ricketts has been campaigning for a renovation deal, and despite a string of he said-she said, it would appear that Ricketts’ project will finally come to fruition.
According to a report from the Chicago Sun Times, the deal between the Cubs and City Hall is expected to be finalized before the Cubs’ home opener on Monday. A few details of the deal renovation have been leaked. According to the report, the Cubs will add at least two new signs inside the confines of Wrigley Field as well as a jumbo-tron that will be located in left field. In addition, the Cubs will build a 300-space parking garage on the lot that the team owns on Clark and Grace.
There two groups that were skeptical of any renovation that would take place at Wrigley Field. Those two groups were the rooftop owners and the citizens of the Wrigleyville neighborhood. In the deal that is expected to be finalized by Monday, the rooftop owners will be allowed to continue to operate for the duration of their revenue-sharing agreement with the Cubs. As for the Wrigleyville residents, the Cubs will reportedly pay for police protection during game-days as well as finance the 300-space parking garage. The height of the jumbo-tron is not known at this time, but indications are that the rooftop owners shouldn’t be impacted by the addition.
In addition to the improvements to and around Wrigley Field, the Sun Times reports indicates that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will rescind the restriction on night games at Wrigley Field. Currently, the Cubs are allowed to have 30 night games per season, however, Emanuel will reportedly increase that number to 40 or more. The number of 3:05 games are likely to increase as well. There will also be more dates added for concerts.
While the full details of the deal will not be known until there is an official announcement, one would be hard-pressed to criticize the deal that is expected to be finalized by Monday. In the few details that have emerged from the imminent, it is clear that all parties involved win. The residents of Wrigleyville win with the Cubs financing police protection on game-days and a 300-space parking garage; the rooftop owners win because they will be allowed to continue their revenue-sharing agreement with the Cubs; the Cubs win with the additional sources of income that will result from the jumbo-tron and new signage in the ballpark; and lastly, the city of Chicago wins as it will retain the Cubs and will generate nearly 2,000 jobs and a tax revenue of $20 million a year.