SBD/March 20, 2013/Facilities

Chicago Alderman Suggests Replacing Wrigley Field Scoreboard To Preserve Rooftop Views

Cubs officials are considering a video scoreboard in either left or right field
Chicago Alderman Tom Tunney has "made a bold suggestion" to the Cubs regarding the ongoing Wrigley Field renovation dispute with nearby rooftop owners: "replace the iconic landmarked centerfield scoreboard with a video scoreboard that would generate millions without blocking anybody’s view," according to Fran Spielman of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. Sources said that Tunney has "made that suggestion repeatedly in his continuing effort to protect rooftop club owners whom the aldermen counts among his most reliable campaign contributors." A source said of the suggestion, "He wants no signs that block a rooftop. (But), how do you think the fans would react? They would revolt. The Cubs wouldn’t dare to suggest it. To have Tunney suggest it underscores what this is all about." Cubs Owner the Ricketts family spokesperson Dennis Culloton said, "Demolishing the landmarked old scoreboard has never been part of any plan discussed or envisioned by the Ricketts family." Sources said that the Cubs instead are "considering locations in left- and right-field for a video scoreboard that would provide the instant replay modern-day baseball fans demand and still be a revenue-generating 'force multiplier' because of the digital advertising it would carry." Former White House Senior Advisor David Axelrod, who is a longtime friend of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, tweeted, "I love Wrigley and hope @Cubs stay. But, no team should be held hostage the way the Cubs have to rooftop owners and the ward pols they own” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 3/20).

GOING TOO FAR: In Chicago, Rick Telander writes under the header, "Wrigley Field Scoreboard Plan Goes Too Far In Protecting 'Rights' Of Rooftop Owners." The situation with Wrigley is "all wrong." Wrigley Field "should be made modern and profitable." Telander: "It’s a landmark, yes, and it can’t be changed too much. But it can be slicked up" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 3/20). A CHICAGO SUN-TIMES editorial states, "Of all the dumb ideas, replacing Wrigley Field’s scoreboard -- as iconic a piece of Chicago as the Water Tower -- might be the dumbest." And just to "save the views for a bunch of rooftop clubs that wouldn’t even exist without this great old park?" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 3/20).

DON'T CALL THE MOVING VANS: CBSSports.com's Gary Parrish said the Cubs should use the offer from Rosemont, Ill., Mayor Brad Stephens to build a new ballpark in the Chicago suburn as "nothing more than leverage" in the ongoing dispute over Wrigley Field renovations. They should "never seriously consider moving to Rosemont." Crain’s Chicago Business’ Danny Ecker said, “If you were to try to explain to me that the Cubs would just give up the most valuable asset that they have, which is Wrigley Field, which is the reason they can drew 3 million people to games when they’re losing as many games as they are, it’s a joke. This was a great move by Brad Stephens … and the Cubs, I’m sure, were loving this because talk about leverage. But I don’t think the needle was moved at all on this” ("SportsTalk Live," Comcast SportsNet Chicago, 3/19). But a CHICAGO TRIBUNE editorial regarding the mayor of Rosemont, Ill., offering to have the Cubs move to his suburb states if Tunney and Emanuel are "foolish enough to let the rooftop owners hold up a $500 million development, who could blame the Cubs for scouting other options?" The Cubs "fill stadiums everywhere they go." They could "fill one in Rosemont." It is "foolish to assume the Cubs couldn't survive outside Wrigleyville." Could Wrigleyville "survive without the Cubs?" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 3/20).
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