The second oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball is finally getting a much-needed renovation. Late Sunday night, the City of Chicago and the Chicago Cubs agreed to a deal that would give $500 million in renovation funds for Wrigley Field to get brought into the 21st century.
One of the biggest coups for the Cubs, is that written into the new agreement, the team can increase the number of night games played at Wrigley from 30 to 40-or almost half of the team’s home games during the season.
Increasing revenue will allow the Ricketts family, who purchased the Cubs in 2009 to try and continue rebuilding a long-suffering franchise.
More importantly is that in the renovation plans there is no tax payer money to fund it. A 6,000 square foot scoreboard in centerfield, along with a 1,000 square foot sign in leftfield, will increase advertising revenue substantially.
The agreement hasn’t come without its share of controversy. During President Barack Obama‘s re-election campaign, J. Joseph Ricketts, founder of TD Ameritrade had planned on a $10 million advertising campaign against the President using footage of the President’s former reverend, the controversial and inflammatory Jeremiah Wright.
It angered current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who was President Obama’s former Chief of Staff. Once the ad campaign was dropped, plans moved forward to create the framework for the current renovation deal and has moved forward without a hitch.
Surrounding businesses in the Wrigleyville area aren’t nearly as excited about the deal as the team is, and has issued a statement saying that if rooftop views become obstructed as a cause for concern and will take legal action against the Cubs.
Also, the Ricketts family in the agreement will receive 1,000 remote parking spaces from the city that will come with shuttle service to and from the ballpark and built will be a 175-room hotel, a business plaza, and a health club.
Tom Ricketts, Chief Executive Officer of the Cubs has stated that the proposed renovations will not infringe on the views of surrounding businesses and of course work with the surrounding neighborhoods of Wrigleyville and the city of Chicago to once again make Wrigley Field a jewel of MLB once again.