In an effort to convince the Chicago Cubs to not place billboard advertising on Wrigley Field, owners of the 17 rooftop clubs are offering up all the revenue generated from ads on their buildings instead, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) was working on an advertising deal with the Cubs in October so the surrounding club seats wouldn’t have their views blocked by billboards. At the time, it wasn’t clear whether revenue from the ads would be shared with owners of the club seats.
The latest announcement came Friday during a news conference at Murphy’s Bleachers where club owners argued ads on their buildings could generate $17.9 million annually, the Sun-Times says. However, Cubs officials said more money could be generated if the billboards were inside the park, essentially blocking the clubs’ views.
Tunney said he's on board with plans to renovate Wrigley, saying he supports using the rooftop ads as a source of revenue.
"There are many creative ideas and moving parts that surround current discussions for improvements at Wrigley Field and the surrounding area," Tunney said in a statement. "I am supportive of ideas to help renovate the stadium. The advertising proposal from the rooftops can be part of the larger picture for preserving Wrigley. I remain committed to working with the Cubs and small businesses in the neighborhood. Most importantly, we will continue to engage our residents in discussions concerning Wrigley Field and their quality of life."
"If the rooftop owners have a new plan, they would be advised to discuss it with the team instead of holding press conferences..."
The push for more advertising is a result of the team’s plan to complete a $300 million renovation of Wrigley Field starting sometime this fall. However, Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney told fans at the 2013 Cubs Convention that if the team isn’t allowed to make a decision without it first being approved by the community, then they want to impose an entertainment tax on residents to help foot the bill.
And Ricketts Family Spokesman Dennis Culloton says enough is enough. They can't move forward with the number of restrictions placed on them by outside forces, and rather than holding press confreneced, the Wrigley club seat owners should think about presenting their plan to the Cubs.
"The Ricketts Family and the Chicago Cubs want the right to run their business so they can continue to be good stewards of Wrigley Field and save the beloved ballpark for future generations," Culloton said in a statement. "They also want to invest $500 million dollars and create nearly 2000 construction and permanent jobs in Wrigley Field and the neighborhood. None of this is possible with continued restrictions and outside business interests blocking the Cubs from generating revenue being realized by every other team in pro sports.
"If the rooftop owners have a new plan, they would be advised to discuss it with the team instead of holding press conferences because a deadline is fast approaching for the team and the City to move forward," Culloton concluded.
He later told the Sun-Times the Ricketts don't believe the almost $18 million the owners estimate to generate annually from clubhouse advertisements "is real."
While the club seat owners are offering up 100 percent of the revenue, they also cite the 2004 landmark ordinance as a reason why the Cubs can’t construct new billboards blocking their views. A press release, sent to Bleed Cubblie Blue, outlines the group’s reasoning for its decision.
"The rooftops would forego all revenue generated from the new advertising plan contingent on the Cubs ensuring their current views will remain protected. According to the 2OO4 landmark ordinance enacted as part of a compromise between the City Council, Chicago Cubs, rooftop owners and community groups, the "unenclosed, open-air character" and "uninterrupted sweep of the bleachers," must be protected. Any relaxation of this ordinance, including blocking "the memorable views of the surrounding buildings," violates the current settlement contract and ordinance. Under the rooftops plan, 1OO% of the revenue generated from the new advertising will go to the City of Chicago and the Chicago Cubs to complete renovation plans and address community needs such as additional police, parking enforcement and other services to ameliorate the impact of Cubs games on the community."