Rooftop deal could delay Wrigley Field renovation

Sept. 7, 2013 at 2:28 PM
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CHICAGO, Sept. 7 (UPI) -- The Chicago Cubs said they will go ahead with two stadium projects but might postpone a large renovation project to avoid a lawsuit.

The larger project, a $300 million stadium renovation, could violate a contract with local rooftop owners, who have made a cottage industry business out of selling rooftop access during games, the Chicago Tribune reported Saturday.

The team said Friday it has signed a marketing deal with beer maker Anheuser-Busch that makes the company the team's exclusive beer sponsor for the 2014 season. The deal includes construction of a large Anheuser-Busch sign behind the right-field bleachers, which could obstruct the view of the field from some nearby rooftops, the newspaper said.

The contract allows rooftop owners to sell tickets to fans who watch the games from the rooftops. The team gets 17 percent of revenue from the rooftop businesses in return for an agreement not to obstruct the view, under a revenue-sharing deal that expires in 2023, the Tribune has previously reported.

Cubs spokesman Julian Green said the team will construct a video board above the left field seats.

Green said the video board and the right-field sign could be in place for the 2014 season, when Wrigley Field will turn 100, but the Ricketts family, which owns the Cubs, is holding off on construction of a $200 million hotel, the Tribune said.

"We're still talking to the rooftop owners to come to a resolution. Basically, the family is not comfortable making a $500 million investment with the threat of a lawsuit hanging over their heads," he said.

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