SBD/Issue 86/Facilities & Venues

Cubs Plan Wrigley Renovation For Park's 100th Anniversary In '14

Kenney Says Wrigley Field Renovation Will
Allow Cubs To Use Park For Another 100 Years
Cubs President Crane Kenney said the team is planning a "complete renovation" of Wrigley Field in conjunction with the ballpark's 100-year anniversary in '14, according to Dave van Dyck of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Kenney said that the renovation, dubbed "Wrigley 20-14," will include "construction projects during the season so the Cubs can use it 'for another 100 years.'" The "focal point of the massive restructuring will be the long-talked-about 'triangle building' to the west, a project that will include knocking down the outer wall on the third-base side to form a large open-air courtyard that would include concession areas and shops." Ultimately, all of the concourses "will be widened and include expanded restrooms, some of which will be completed for this season." The project also means construction "will be ongoing during the 2011 and 2012 seasons." While plans "still are sketchy, there also could be a restaurant below the third-based terrace 'suites.'" The only parts of the ballpark that "will not be reconfigured are the bleachers, which already have been altered by more seats and a restaurant." Meanwhile, during a Cubs Convention panel discussion, Kenney was asked about naming rights for the ballpark, and he said, "I can't imagine the ballpark not being called Wrigley Field" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/17).

TIME FOR A CHANGE? In Illinois, Bruce Miles reports the Cubs are "not considering personal seat licenses" for Wrigley Field, and team Owner the Ricketts family is "not considering increasing the number of night games from 30 or seeking Friday night or Saturday night home games." Cubs BOD member Laura Ricketts said that "any profits the team makes under the family's ownership would be put back into the team." Meanwhile, the Cubs "continue to lobby" MLB to "host the 2014 All-Star Game to mark Wrigley Field's 100th anniversary" (Illinois DAILY HERALD, 1/17). MLB.com's Carrie Muskat noted the Ricketts family is "weighing proposals" for Spring Training facilities from Mesa, Arizona, and Naples, Florida, and they are "expected to make an announcement this month." Cubs Chair Tom Ricketts: "The fact is that our goal is to have the best facilities in baseball when it comes to Spring Training" (MLB.com, 1/16). In Chicago, Paul Sullivan reported the family also is "looking to hire what it called a 'Chief Hospitality Officer' to bring fans suggestions and complaints to ownership." Tom Ricketts added that they are "looking into asking the city to block off some streets before games, making it less of a 'bar-like atmosphere outside the stadium'" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/17).

FAMILY MATTERS: The Illinois DAILY HERALD's Miles reports the "clear winners" of the Cubs Convention over the weekend were the "members of the Ricketts family." The new owners "met face to face with fans and took all their questions," marking the "first time in the 25-year history of the convention that fans actually got to see and talk to the owners of the Cubs." The Ricketts "talked of winning, improving Wrigley Field with 'respect' to its history and listening to the fans." They added that they "wouldn't be as visible -- or as loud -- as" Yankees Chair George Steinbrenner, but that they "would be at the games." The family's presence "alone this weekend seemed to put the fans in a better mood after they came loaded for bear following an extremely disappointing 2009 season" (Illinois DAILY HERALD, 1/18). In N.Y., Dave Seminara reported the family "received several rousing ovations over the course of the weekend," during which "some 15,000 fans attended" the Cubs Convention (N.Y. TIMES, 1/18). ESPNCHICAGO.com's Melissa Isaacson wrote the Ricketts family "doesn't deserve anything harsher than guarded optimism" currently. Not even "raised ticket prices caused any serious wrath, the subject coming up as a polite plea from one fan." The fan asked, "Will you please reconsider your decision to raise ticket prices considering the economy and job losses, so fans can afford it?" Isaacson wrote, "To the Ricketts' credit, there were honest, straightforward answers." Tom Ricketts said, "If we're going to compete with the bigger teams in the league, if we're going to try to compete for talent with the Red Sox or the Yankees, we're going to have to have some financial flexibility. With that said, we don't have any plans for any ticket increases in the future" (ESPNCHICAGO.com, 1/16).

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