SBD/April 11, 2013/Facilities

Number Of Night Games Seen As Sticking Point In Wrigley Field Upgrade Negotiations

Cubs officials reportedly asked for flexibility with night-game scheduling
Chicago Alderman Tom Tunney yesterday suggested that the number of night games at Wrigley Field has "re-emerged as a sticking point" between the city and Cubs Owner the Ricketts family in its plans for $300M ballpark renovations, according to Sachdev & Byrne of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Other issues include "parking, advertising signs, and the size and placement of a large video screen." Tunney said that he "thought there was an agreement last week for additional night games, but the team changed its request Tuesday night at a community meeting that was closed to the media." Sources said that the city had "agreed to increase the number of night games from 30 to 40, plus allow the team to host as many as four concerts, for a total of 44 'night events.'" But the sources said that Cubs officials at Tuesday's meeting "asked for flexibility on a limit of 44 night events to accommodate changes to the schedule" requested by MLB and its TV broadcast partners. Tunney would "like the Cubs to add more parking and security in the neighborhood" in exchange for more night games, but some residents "voiced their opposition to a plan floated last week that would call for the Cubs to build a parking garage at a gravel parking lot." Meanwhile, Tunney and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration have "conceptually agreed to the team's request to put up a large video scoreboard in left field and a second sign in right field." But sources said that there still is "disagreement over placement of the signs so they block as little of the rooftop views as possible" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 4/11). Tunney said, "Every constituency group is gonna have to give a little bit. ... But the specifics keep changing and the asks keep changing. So, how do you pin down what are we agreeing to when those (requests) change all the time?" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 4/11).

IF YOU BUILD IT, WILL THEY COME? Yahoo Sports Radio’s Jason Goch said he was confused why the Cubs front-office execs "don't negotiate with Rosemont or some other suburb to get the city off their can.” Goch: "The way you bargain in business is you have an alternative." Cubs Chair Tom Ricketts has “boxed himself in so now the city can play these games.” The mayor of Rosemont, Ill., last month offered the team land for a new ballpark, but WGN Radio’s Jordan Bernfield said, “It was never real leverage. They’re never moving to Rosemont.” The Chicago Sun-Times’ Herb Gould: “If you move to Rosemont, you’re basically blowing up the thing that makes you unique and guarantees you revenue, which is Wrigley Field.” But Goch said, “At some point it has to be replaced. This relic is not going to be here 200 years.” Comcast SportsNet Chicago's David Kaplan said Cubs fans “are so sick” of the ongoing squabble with the rooftop owners and local politicians. Kaplan: "I would say a majority of Cub fans are to the point where, ‘Go to Rosemont and I'll follow you’” (“Sports Talk Live,” Comcast SportsNet Chicago, 4/10).
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