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Cubs' Ricketts talks Wrigley renovations, life as an owner

Photo by David Durochik
Ricketts: "I like to say that even the problems are fun, and until recently I really believed that."

Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts sat down with SportsBusiness Journal Executive Editor Abe Madkour for a one-on-one interview prior to yesterday’s Cubs game against the Chicago White Sox as part of the 2013 Intersport Activation Summit. Ricketts addressed his controversial proposal for a $500 million renovation of Wrigley Field and what he has learned since his family bought the team in 2009. The interview took place during a luncheon at John Barleycorn near Wrigley Field.

On 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 video board 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.”

On the pace of the city’s approval process of the proposed renovation:
“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.”

On the team putting up box signs yesterday at Wrigley Field to simulate the proposed new video board and signage: “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.”

On 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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