SBD/May 1, 2013/Facilities

Cubs Unveil Wrigley Field Renovation Designs; Outfield Scoreboard Remains Hot Topic

Wrigley Field changes would include a 6,000-square-foot, three-panel video screen
The Cubs' $300M Wrigley Field renovation proposal "calls for re-creating green terra-cotta canopies, along with the windows and wrought-iron fencing, that graced parts of Wrigley's exterior in the 1930s," according to a front-page piece by Dardick & Ruthhart of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney yesterday said, "This is a historic restoration. This is not a renovation. This is not trying to make Wrigley new. It's actually trying to make Wrigley old." Plans unveiled yesterday "call for a 6,000-square-foot, three-panel video screen atop the left field wall that would be topped by lights illuminating the power alleys in right and left field." There also would be "a 1,000-square-foot sign in right field and four new signs ringing the outfield." Those include "two new LED signs akin to the one introduced in right field last year." Advertising would "adorn a proposed seven-story hotel at the northwest corner of Clark and Addison streets and six-story retail-office building on the triangular parcel west of the stadium." Static ads would "top the 91-foot-tall hotel, as well as the clock tower on the office building," while banners featuring team sponsors would "hang from the hotel, facing Clark." Change also would "come to the southeast corner of the stadium, where the site of the Captain Morgan Club would be replaced with a two-story structure topped by signs and a deck." Kenney said that with other upgrades such as updated concourses, expanded bathrooms, improved player areas and outdoor terraces, the "broader idea is to give the stadium modern amenities, create a town square for Wrigleyville and generate more revenue, both to cover the cost of the renovation and provide revenue for team development" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/1).

VERY NECESSARY: Cubs Chair Tom Ricketts today said that the team needs "the millions in revenue that Wrigley Field renovations would generate or the team will have to consider moving." Ricketts: “If we don’t have the ability to generate revenue in our outfield, we will have to take a look at moving. There is no question." He added that the "possibility of moving is not a threat." Ricketts said, "We are committed to working this out. We've always said we want to win in Wrigley Field. ... All we really need is to run a business like a business and not a museum" (SUN-TIMES.com, 5/1). Ricketts: "It's about growing revenues to be competitive with the large market clubs and give us the flexibility we need to be as competitive as possible and I think this proposal gets us there.” He added, "We're talking about 2,100 jobs, we’re talking about hundreds of millions in economic development. We're already the third largest tourist attraction in the state. Hopefully, we'll maybe get to second if we improve the park a little more. It's a great deal for the city's economy and it's a great deal for our fans and a great deal for the neighborhood" ("Squawk Box," CNBC, 5/1).

SUPER SCREEN: In Chicago, Fran Spielman writes the "sheer size of the video board -- three times larger than Wrigley’s iconic center-field scoreboard -- might be expected to overpower the outfield." But Kenney yesterday "sought to minimize the impact and understate the blockage on rooftop clubs" by offering a panoramic view of the screen. The sign in right field "displayed the illuminated words 'Wrigley Field,' as a place-holder for a sponsor." Kenney said that he has "no idea how many of the rooftop clubs would have their bird’s-eye view of the stadium blocked or impaired by the two new outfield signs." He added that both signs are "strategically positioned in front of buildings with no rooftop seating." Meanwhile, Spielman notes the renovation will be "completed over a five-year period to eliminate the need for the Cubs to play elsewhere." The first year will "focus on removing 3,500 seats to make room for 25,000 square feet of clubhouses, batting tunnels, video rooms and other player amenities." That is "double the current space" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 5/1). Also in Chicago, Danny Ecker notes the jumbotron sign "will include light towers on either side, something players requested in a roundtable discussion" with Kenney (CHICAGOBUSINESS.com, 5/1).
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