2/19 Wrigley renovation update
The Cubs had hoped to begin Wrigley Field’s renovation plans this offseason but instead chairman Tom Ricketts said he the work should get started after the 2014 regular season ends. The $500 million renovation, which includes a new video scoreboard in left field and a see-through ad in right, has stalled because of opposition by rooftop owners.
“There’s no real update,” Ricketts said Wednesday. “Like I’ve always said, I think we have a lot of incentive to get it done. Everyone has incentive to get it done.”
It took five years to get Mesa voters to approve the new Spring Training complex and build it. How long can Ricketts wait?
“It’s our goal to get the [Wrigley Field] project started at the end of the season,” Ricketts said. “I’m not sure if there’s a hard date that goes with that.”
The team has spent money on repairs and maintenance work this past offseason at Wrigley, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. The Cubs intend on having at least the see-through advertising sign installed in right by Opening Day, April 4.
The Cubs also are negotiating new radio and television contracts with WGN, and Ricketts said it was too early to predict what will happen with those.
The Cubs got the Spring Training complex done partly because there was the threat that they could move to Naples, Fla. What if the Cubs threatened to move from Wrigley?
“You can’t go back and talk hypothetically about what did or didn’t happen,” Ricketts said. “You can’t just pretend Wrigley Field is another ballpark like something built in some suburb somewhere 20 years ago that nobody cares about.”
If the Cubs can’t get an agreement and do the renovations, Ricketts said, “I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
“The key is we’re committed to renovating and improving the park and saving it for the next generation,” he said. “Ultimately, you have to have control of your own field. We can’t live for the next 100 years with this kind of situation. We have to know it’s going to be over if we’re going to invest in the park.”
– Carrie Muskat