SBD/May 30, 2013/Events and Attractions

Intersport Activation Summit: Chicago Mayor Kicks Off Day Two Talking About City's Facilities

Emanuel said the sports industry is essential to Chicago’s economy
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel opened the second day of the '13 Intersport Activation Summit by talking about the city’s sports facilities and emphasizing the importance of sports to Chicago’s economic development. Emanuel’s comments came a day after the Blackhawks' 2-1 OT win over the Red Wings in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals and during the Crosstown Classic baseball series between the Cubs and White Sox. “It is a great time to be here in Chicago," Emanuel said. "I see what you all do as essential to the city’s economic development, whether it is at Wrigley (Field) or whether at the United Center, where the (Bulls) ownership is bringing their practice facility down to the city. And we are also going to make sure that DePaul has a facility in the city.” Emanuel said that both events and facilities are “essential to the city’s quality of life and economic development,” noting that the Big Ten men's basketball tournament comes to Chicago every other year. He said the city is making a big effort to land “those types of events.” “This is a great sports town,” Emanuel said. “It promotes, supports and embraces its teams, but it doesn’t just stay at the professional level, it goes from college down to high school.”

RICKETTS TALKS RENOVATION: Cubs Chair Tom Ricketts yesterday sat for a one-on-one interview as part of the Intersport Activation Summit prior to yesterday’s White Sox-Cubs game. Ricketts addressed his controversial proposal for a $500M renovation of Wrigley Field and what he has learned since his family bought the team in ‘09. He said of the renovation, "When people get to their seats, it is where they want to be, so we are not going to fix what isn’t broken. A lot of the charm, the intimacy, the vibe is all going to be there. We are going to build a videoboard in left field. We are going to expand the concourse and dramatically increase the food options, the restroom facilities, and make the whole game day experience be better in the park." Ricketts, when asked about the pace of the city’s approval process of the proposed renovation, said, "Anytime you see something, you want to get it done yesterday. We understand there is a process and we keep our eyes on the horizon. We are making a lot of progress and are anxious to keep it rolling." The Cubs put up box signs Tuesday at Wrigley Field to simulate the proposed new videoboard and signage, and Ricketts said, "We had a couple of cranes come out and put up box signs just to make sure we really understood what the impact would be. It gave us a lot of information." He said of what he has learned since owning the team: "There have been a lot of learning curves at a lot of different levels. The steepest curve is on the political side of things. It wasn’t a focus of any part of my life. I like to say that even the problems are fun, and until recently I really believed that."
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