Wrigley deal: Video screen, hotel, more night games and parking - FOX 35 News Orlando

$500M Wrigley renovation deal includes hotel, more night games

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts says a $500 million deal with the city of Chicago to renovate the nearly century-old Wrigley Field is a milestone.

Ricketts spoke to reports Monday at Wrigley Field, the day after the deal with the city was announced. The plans include an electronic video screen and more night games. It still needs final approval.

Ricketts said the financial impact of the proposal would help lead the team to the World Series. He said if the plan is approved the team would "win the World Series" for its fans and players. The last World Series championship for the Cubs came in 1908 - six years before Wrigley was built.

Ricketts calls it a "massive investment" that includes community contributions, like $1 million for a local park.

The Chicago Cubs and the city of Chicago finally reached a Wrigley Field renovation deal Monday morning.

After months of talk about a facelift for the 99-year-old ballpark, the framework for the $500 million plan emerged Sunday night - and taxpayers won't have to spend a dime. The Cubs and the Ricketts family will fund the entire renovation.

"I think it's great as long as we don't have to pay for it," one Wrigleyville resident said.

The plan includes $300 million in stadium renovations that will feature a large new outfield video screen and large sponsor signs. Those signs have been a point of contention between the Ricketts, the city and rooftop owners, who have concerns that a potentially obstructed view will affect business on the popular rooftops.

The stadium walls behind left and right field will extend about 10 feet, to make more room for concessions. That change will affect traffic flow on Waveland and the Sheffield sidewalk.

The family also plans to build a new hotel across the street, which will have 175 rooms, a plaza and office space. There will be a walkway bridge from the stadium to that hotel. The deal also expands parking with 1,000 remote spaces and offers shuttle service.

The deal increases the number of night games to 40, with the possibility of additional night games when required by Major League Baseball's TV contract or when the Cubs make the playoffs.

"It's the Cubs. They deserve it," a Cubs fan said. "This park is old. They need to renovate it, make it better."

The Cubs would be allowed to put on four concerts each season. They have also agreed to pay for new traffic lights on Clark Street and more security outside the park.

The managing editor of BleedCubbieBlue.com was surprised when he saw the announcement Monday morning, and shared his reaction with FOX 32 News.

"I'm glad they got it all done. It sounds like a fair deal for everyone," Yelon said. "Sounds like the team and the neighborhood, players, fans - everybody gets something."

The managing editor also wanted to remind the public that the rooftop businesses essentially rely on the Cubs.

"If the Cubs don't get this deal done and the Cubs decide to go elsewhere - which wasn't probably a consideration, but they talked about it - the rooftop businesses have nothing. This is a fair deal. The Cubs have bent over backwards trying to accommodate what the rooftop owners have said, so I think this will eventually work for everyone."

Yelon said that there's no question that the Cubs don't have a lot of amenities that other teams have, both for players and for fans.

"They don't have workout facilities and training facilities for players," Yelon said. "They don't have a lot of the amenities for fans. Every other stadium has a big video board, new stadium has restaurants and clubs inside and other things for fans. So this is a way for the Cubs to bring their stadium to the standards that have been established over the years."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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