SBD/May 9, 2013/Facilities

Cubs Could Get Up To 46 Night Games Under Proposal Before Chicago City Council

Wrigley Field currently can host only 30 Cubs night games per season
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Alderman Tom Tunney introduced a proposal to the City Council yesterday that would allow the Cubs "to play as many as 46 night games at Wrigley Field starting next year," according to Sachdev, Dardick & Ruthhart of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. The proposal seeks to "increase the number of night games to 40 from the current 30 and give the Cubs the flexibility to add up to six more night games if Major League Baseball requests changes to the schedule during the season." The proposal also would "permit the Cubs to host four concerts and to make changes to its schedule as soon as next month." The introduction of the night-game ordinance is the "first legislative step" in a $500M renovation to Wrigley Field. The Cubs earlier this year were "seeking as many as 54 home night games, which the team says is the average for MLB teams." But in negotiations with Tunney and Emanuel, the team "agreed to 40 night games if it received additional flexibility." Under the proposed ordinance, the Cubs would be "allowed to schedule 35 night games." They would "hold back five games to satisfy requirements of MLB's national television contract." The Cubs would have to "get approval from the City Council or the city's legal department" if the league "requests more than five games be switched from day to night to be televised nationally." Emanuel and Tunney suggested that no more than "six games be rescheduled above the 40-game cap to accommodate the league's television contract" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/9). In Chicago, Fran Spielman notes the plan also allows for "six 3:05 p.m. starts on Fridays." Lake View Citizens Council President Will DeMillie, whose neighborhood is in close proximity to the ballpark, said that he "still believes the six 3:05 p.m. starts should be counted as night games." But he added Emanuel's ordinance is "better than the unlimited number of night games" proposed by the Cubs (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 5/9).

RICKETTS REAFFIRMS HIS WORD: In Illinois, Richard Klicki noted Cubs Chair Tom Ricketts on Tuesday "reaffirmed his commitment to renovating Wrigley Field and keeping the team in Chicago" during a speech at the fourth annual DuPage County Regional Business Outlook forum. Ricketts said that his proposed renovation to Wrigley is the "only priority for the Cubs and he is confident the owners, the city of Chicago and Wrigley Field neighbors will come to an agreement." Ricketts: "We really haven't played the other options card. We tried to take the high ground and we're really focused on hoping that everyone with incentive to restore and preserve and improve Wrigley Field will work toward the common goal, and I think we're getting really close to that" (Illinois DAILY HERALD, 5/8). USA TODAY's sports-section cover story deals with the Cubs' efforts to renovate Wrigley, with Bob Nightengale writing balls and strikes are "taking a back seat to beefs and strife" (USA TODAY, 5/9).
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