Rooftop Owners Threaten Suit Over Wrigley Sign

Al Yellon

Here we go again.

The Sun-Times' Fran Spielman reports a story that should not surprise you, regarding the mockup of a sign the Cubs intend to put behind the right-field party patio:

The test run — using a sign that read, "Wrigley Field" — was aimed at appeasing the rooftops and jump-starting stalled negotiations between the team and club owners.

Instead, it proved to Sheffield rooftop owners that views would, indeed, be blocked by the right-field sign — even after the outfield wall is moved back by 15 feet. That would force rooftop patrons to look through the script sign because they won’t be able to see over it.

"Proved" is in the eyes of the beholders, in this case the rooftop owners. You can see a photo on that Sun-Times article that appears to show the sign completely blocking the view of the entire field. It's hard to tell specifically from that photo, but it appears to me that photo wasn't taken from the actual rooftop, but from one of the two levels below the roof. Based on what I heard when I was around Wrigley Field Wednesday morning, there's no issue seeing the field from the actual rooftop seating.

There's one more thing I want to say about the Sun-Times article, and here it is, quoted by Fran Spielman:

"We’ve been crystal clear. Any sign that blocks the views of the rooftops will result in legal action. This violates a contract that the Cubs have with rooftop owners" that requires the clubs to share 17 percent of their revenues with the team, rooftops spokesman Ryan McLaughlin said in a statement.

"A statement." I've decided I'm not going to hold back on this one. You know, I used to get these statements emailed to me, as I presume this was sent to Fran Spielman. I haven't received one in quite some time, and the only conclusion I can draw is that the rooftop folks took me off their email list because I have so clearly taken the side of the Cubs on this issue. That's pretty shortsighted, as I had in the past posted their entire statements so they could get their word out.

I'm in the business of blogging, and yes, I will report facts that I know, but I won't hold back my opinions, either. The rooftop owners need to acknowledge that changes are coming; yes, they have a contract, and if they want to take legal action... well, maybe they should just do it already. They might be surprised at the result, especially given the facts in this statement from Cubs spokesman Julian Green:

"If someone is taking the position that the only resolution is no sign at all, that’s not a resolution — especially when the city has approved the sign in right field," he said. "We plan to move forward with the sign. The last time we did this mock-up, we didn’t have a partner. Now, we have a partner in Budweiser. Given that we have a new partner, our plan is to activate this asset."

The overall Wrigley renovation project has already been held up for at least a year, as the Cubs now won't be able to do anything except this sign (which they plan on going ahead with) until after the 2014 season.

Time to get this resolved already and let the Cubs move forward.

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