Chicago Cubs Move? Owner Will Move Team Out Of Wrigley If Video Screen Plans Are Blocked

A Chicago Cubs move could be on the cards after owner and chairman Tom Ricketts threatened to move the team out of Wrigley Field if his plans for a big, new video screen are blocked.

Ricketts says the team requires fresh advertising revenue to fund a $500 million renovation of the legendary ballpark. The new video screen would provide a new channel of income, something that Ricketts views as crucial if the Cubs are to stay at the 99-year-old stadium.

“The fact is that if we don’t have the ability to generate revenue in our own outfield, we’ll have to take a look at moving – no question,” Ricketts told reporters after he had outlined renovation plans to Chicago business leaders.

It may be unimaginable for the Cubs to play anywhere else but The Friendly Confines, but Ricketts seems deadly serious. At the same time, he says he remains fully committed to thrashing out a deal.

Negotiations over the screen have been ongoing for months now. While video screens are a common sight at major ballparks across the nation, Wrigley Field is encircled by privately owned clubs with rooftop bleachers. Owners of these venues have made every effort to object to changes that could end up obscuring their views into the stadium, changes like a 6,000-square-foot video screen, for instance.

Legal action could yet happen over the dispute. The rooftop businesses have been kept out of discussions over the proposed screen, but argue they should be involved as they have a contract in which they share 17 percent of their revenue with the Cubs.

Ricketts continues to deny that the video screen would obscure the bird’s-eye views enjoyed by the venues, even presenting an architectural rendering of the video screen during his speech to the City Club of Chicago. Any impact on the views would be minimal at worst, he argues, pointing out that the screen is “midsize” compared to those at other MLB stadiums.

Without the signage, Ricketts says the Cubs are losing out on a cool $20 million a year in ad revenue, a crucial sum that will be required if extensive renovations are to go ahead. Otherwise, taxpayer funds may have to be used to prevent a Chicago Cubs move. In his speech to the City Club of Chicago, Ricketts said:

“All we really need is to be able to run our business like a business and not a museum.”

Ricketts and his team submitted their full renovation proposal to the city of Chicago on Wednesday, and are now waiting eagerly for approval from the City Council and city planners.

The plan also requests the team plays more night games and includes a 175-room boutique hotel across the street, a new clubhouse and upgrades for fans.

Can you imagine a Chicago Cubs move taking place? Surely, if any team is inextricably linked to their ballpark, it’s the Cubs.

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