Apr 1, 2024 - Sports

Wrigley Field rooftop signs could be the new reality


Cubs fans watch from the rooftop stands during a July 2020 game. Photo: Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The Chicago Cubs play the Rockies Monday in their home opener, and the new season brings new modernization and money-making plans for the Friendly Confines.

Why it matters: The Ricketts — the Cubs' and Wrigley Field's owners since 2009 — have been updating the stadium and transforming the surrounding area over the last decade, facing pushback from neighbors and city officials worried the renovations could threaten the historic nature of one of the nation's oldest ballparks.

Flashback: When the more-than-$500 million renovation plan was approved in 2013, then-Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) famously warned the Ricketts he'd be "up your butt every day" to make sure the owners didn't take their adaptations too far.

The latest: Tunney's successor, Ald. Bennett Lawson, has a much more cordial relationship with the owners and introduced an ordinance earlier this month that would allow the team to install rooftop signs on buildings it owns on Sheffield and Waveland.

State of play: Lawson's proposal would create a special district that would allow signs on the rooftops with several requirements — they must be smaller than 775 square feet and static without flashing or emitting noise.

What they're saying: "These signs are on Cubs-owned buildings with low impact to the community," Lawson tells Axios. "Constituents were receptive to the proposal because the signs face inward and will only be lit up during games and large-scale events."

The other side: Rooftop owners battled the Cubs over obstructed views after the city approved the video scoreboard in 2013, unsuccessfully suing the team for what they say was lost revenue.

Reality check: The Cubs generate tens of millions in tax revenues for Wrigleyville and the city, and the team brought 2.8 million fans to the ballpark last year, according to ESPN.

What's next: The rooftop sign ordinance goes to committee and could be voted on by the full council this month.


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