A deal that is expected to be finalized by Monday between the Chicago Cubs and the city of Chicago that would allow the team renovate Wrigley Field has the rooftop owners surrounding Wrigley Field up in arms.
The $500 million renovation deal includes the Cubs adding signage to the outfield bleachers as well as a jumbo-tron. Indications are that the rooftop owners on the right field side of Wrigley Field will not be impacted, while the rooftop owners on the left field side will be minimally impacted. The rooftop owners are crying foul on the deal as they were not involved in the negotiations between the city of Chicago and the Cubs that led to a deal being close between the two sides. On Friday, the rooftop owners released a press release expressing their frustration.
The apparent decision to allow the Chicago Cubs to block the views of some Wrigleyville Rooftops is in direct violation of the current 20-year agreement entered into by the Cubs and the Rooftop owners. While Rooftop owners support the concept of renovating Wrigley Field, exact plans for outfield signage have not been provided to these contractual partners.
The in-force contract negotiated by federal mediators which enumerates revenue sharing between the Cubs and their neighbors – along with the accompanying landmark ordinance – protects the “uninterrupted sweep of the bleachers” until at least 2024. Any construction that interrupts the Rooftop views will effectually drive them out of business and be challenged in a court of law. Wrigleyville Rooftops Association Statement
The Wrigleyville Rooftops Association have a valid argument. The 20 year contract–11 years of which remain on the contract–makes the rooftops association and official partner of the Chicago Cubs. With that understanding, the rooftops association should have been involved in the negotiation of the renovation deal. While judgment should not be rendered until the full details are released, there may be reason for concern as reports indicate that the rooftops on the left field side of the ballpark will be minimally impacted. If that impact includes the blocking of views from the left field rooftops, then the Cubs may be in violation of their contract with the Wrigleyville Rooftops Association. It remains to be seen what impact, if any, this will have on the imminent renovation deal between the Cubs and Wrigley Field. One thing is certain, the Wrigleyville Rooftops Association will have their opinions heard.