Wrigley Rooftops Under Fire

The days of fans packing the rooftops near Wrigley Field to take in a Chicago Cubs game or a concert could be numbered with news of the Cubs’ plans to renovate the 99-year-old stadium.

The Ricketts family that owns the Cubs has been pushing for a renovation of the field for years and unveiled a privately funded plan in January that could cost as much as $500 million.

The plan calls for improvements to the stadium’s infrastructure and façade, restrooms, concourses and suites, as well as new restaurants, a Jumbotron and a hotel.

But that Jumbotron and proposed outfield signs are generating protest from the owners of the rooftops near the field. The team has an agreement in place under which the rooftop owners currently pay the Cubs 17 percent of their gross annual revenue, generating millions for the team each year.

The Ricketts, however, seem to think the team can make even more money by selling advertising space on the proposed Jumbotron and outfield signs.

“We’re not going out of our way to hurt their [rooftop] business,” Crane Kenney, Cubs president of business operations, reportedly said. “If in order for us to generate the resources and therefore win on the field it has an impact on their business, that’s how it goes.”

The team’s agreement with rooftop owners doesn’t end until 2023.