Ricketts: Chicago Cubs need large outfield signs at Wrigley

May 1, 2013 at 3:58 PM
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CHICAGO, May 1 (UPI) -- Tom Ricketts said the Chicago Cubs might move from their longtime home, Wrigley Field, unless the city allows more large signs in the outfield.

Ricketts, the team's chairman, addressed the point in response to a question at the City Club of Chicago, where he was guest speaker, the Chicago Tribune reported.

"I'm not sure how anyone is going to stop the signs in the outfield, but if it comes to the point that we don't have the ability to do what we need to do in our outfield, then we're going to have to consider moving," Ricketts said. "It's a simple as that."

The team, acquired by the Ricketts family in 2009, has been at Wrigley Field since 1916, two years after it opened as the home of the Chicago Whales.

Most of the opposition to larger signs, including a huge video scoreboard, has come from operators of a feature unique to Wrigley, rooftop clubs. Those allow people to watch the game from outside the stadium from the roofs of neighborhood three-flats.

While most ballparks long ago took steps to keep spectators from getting free rides, the Cubs in the 1990s negotiated a revenue-sharing arrangement.

Ricketts said the team could get an additional $20 million in revenue from the signs.

Beth Murphy, who operates a rooftop club and was in the audience, said moving the Cubs could be a bad mistake.

"I don't know where he is going to move," she said. "They come to Wrigley Field because it's an old ballpark, and it's in a neighborhood. Look at this team."

The Cubs' only World Series victories were in 1907 and 1908 and the team last won a National League title in 1945. Last year, the Cubs lost 101 games, and they are currently at the bottom of the central division with a 10-16 record.

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