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No Extra Night Games In 2013, Says Tom Ricketts

The Cubs chairman helped kick off the first official Cubs workout by talking to the players and the press.

Jonathan Daniel

Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts addressed both the team and the media before the club's first official full-squad workout Sunday, and for some reason, this topic caused quite a bit of Twitter stir:

On the topic of adding additional night games for the 2O13 season he made it clear that is off the table for this season.

“We are not looking to add more night games for this coming season. That is something we would like to address in coming seasons,” Ricketts said.

Some seem to think this is a big deal. In my view, it really isn't, given the big picture of all the restrictions the Cubs want lifted in exchange for doing the planned five-year restoration of Wrigley Field.

Consider this. The Cubs have permission, by current ordinance, to have 30 home night dates a year. Those include any dates set aside for concerts -- currently, there's just one of those. On the schedule now are 30 night dates, which includes three that are permitted by national television contract (two for Fox on Saturday, one for ESPN on Sunday).

In this recent Sun-Times article, Fran Spielman noted that the city will, eventually, be willing to increase the number of night game as part of a comprehensive deal:
The mayor was prepared to lift the 3O-night games-per-season ceiling to the 37-to-44 range, with some of the dates reserved for concerts. Additional 3:O5 p.m. starts could also be part of the mix.

Most likely, a compromise figure of around 40 night games a year will be agreed to, once a complete deal is made. So why is it such a big deal if the Cubs have 10 fewer night games in 2013, a year in which ticket sales are likely to be down and TV ad rates are probably at their lowest ebb in a decade?

As I wrote Thursday, both the city and the Cubs want a deal done by Opening Day. It should benefit both parties. Losing 10 night dates this year, to me -- the amount of revenue that would be gained is not very large, compared to what the Cubs can get in a larger agreement with the city.