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The Cubs move to block rooftop advertising

Nov 24, 2009, 10:25 AM EDT

You know how those buildings over the left field bleachers at Wrigley have ads and stuff on them?  Well, the Cubs don’t like it all that much. At least when the ads are for casinos:

The Cubs have fired the opening salvo in a dispute against a local casino, erecting two signboards in the back of the left-field bleachers, which would obscure a prominent casino ad in most television shots during game telecasts.

The two large green wooden signboards were erected in the bleachers last week without fanfare. There currently is no advertising on them, but they’re expected to be ready for the 2010 season.

For years that rooftop was home to a prominent Budweiser ad. Budweiser eliminated the middle man back in 2006 and now owns naming rights to the bleachers, so it wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that Bud ads will show up on those boards.  It’s unclear whether the board will actually block the view of fans who sit on the rooftops.

I suppose some Wrigley traditionalists may complain about this, but it’s been many, many years since the buildings across Waveland Avenue were owned by simple folk and home to common neighborhood gawkers.  Those buildings and the ads, seats and parties on them are big business now, and that business is all essentially riding for free on the back of the Cubs. 

The Ricketts family didn’t become billionaires by leaving money on the table, so it’s not surprising in the least that they’re going to do what they can to capture this kind of revenue going forward. 

  1. rotohead - Nov 24, 2009 at 11:02 AM

    Ultimately – the Ricketts should just buy the row of houses on waveland ave or erect signs to block the view. No reason they should allow these other “businesses” to profit off the cubs…

  2. Craig Calcaterra - Nov 24, 2009 at 11:03 AM

    The Budweiser/casino house sold for $8 million+ a couple of years ago. That buys a lot of plywood for billboards!

  3. Alex K - Nov 24, 2009 at 11:17 AM

    I think the boards are just going to block that building.
    I wonder if the owners of that building pay the fee that the Cubs charge to the rooftops that have people pay to watch the game? If they don’t, then I’m surprised that the signs didn’t go up earlier.

  4. Levi Stahl - Nov 24, 2009 at 11:19 AM

    I agree that the Ricketts’s get to do whatever they want here, but I would be sad if eventually the wonderful view of the tree-lined neighborhood streets that I currently have from Wrigley Field is all blocked by billboards. (Though I suppose since my seats are in the upper deck, those would have to be some mighty big billboards. Maybe I don’t have to worry after all.)

  5. Adam - Nov 24, 2009 at 11:30 AM

    I have some friends who know someone who owns one of the buildings. 1/6 of all profits during game day have to go to the Cubs, so they are making profits off it. Also, the Cubs organization had first shot at buying the buildings several years back, but chose not to. That’s when businesses came in to buy the buildings. So I guess they’re regretting their decision and rather than buy the buildings they’d rather just make the stadium look bad.

  6. DA OLD GOAT - Nov 24, 2009 at 11:36 AM


  7. Grant - Nov 24, 2009 at 12:15 PM

    And someone remind me again why we should be morally outraged about casino advertising and not about beer advertising? This is a singularly dumb country.

  8. ma - Nov 24, 2009 at 2:50 PM

    Mr. Grant?
    Pete Rose on line 1.

  9. MM - Nov 24, 2009 at 3:04 PM

    Well, last offseason they did focus on trying to win the World Series…and the end result was that they signed Milton Bradley. Maybe they’re better off sticking to billboards.

  10. smsetnor - Nov 24, 2009 at 8:35 PM


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