The Chicago Cubs on Wednesday briefly put a mock-up sign in right field in a test run designed to allay fears of the owners of nearby rooftop clubs with lucrative views into the park.
A horizontal sign meant to mimic the 650-square-foot script advertising sign already approved by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City Council went up in the morning. The sign, which read "Wrigley Field," came down quickly, a team spokesman confirmed.
The display was meant to show rooftop club owners how their views would be affected if the right field wall was moved back 15 feet, as planned, and the sign was put up. Cubs spokesman Julian Green said the clubs still would have views into the stadium but conceded they would "not likely" be the same full views they now enjoy.
The reaction from the rooftop camp did not waver.
"We've been crystal clear, any sign that blocks the views of the rooftops will result in legal action," said Ryan McLaughlin, spokesman for the rooftop club owners. "This violates a contract, a contract that the Cubs have with every rooftop owner."
McLaughlin was referring to a revenue-sharing agreement between rooftop owners and the team that expires at the end of 2023.
The Ricketts family, which wants to renovate the park at a cost of about $300 million and to redevelop the surrounding neighborhood at a cost of about $200 million, has declared it won't start until the rooftops agree not to file a lawsuit over blocked views.
Emanuel this month introduced a couple of measures to the council to move the deal forward.
One would allow the Cubs to play up to 43 regular-season night games, instead of the 46 approved a few months ago, but give the Cubs and national broadcasters more flexibility to shift day games to night games without prior approval. Another would allow the Cubs to put up already-approved new signage — including a 5,700-square-foot video scoreboard in left field — with minimal further red tape.
As part of the deal, the team also would eliminate a pedestrian bridge over Clark Street linking a hotel to the ballpark and adjacent plaza, move the hotel entrance from Patterson Avenue to Clark and remove a hotel balcony at Clark and Patterson.