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They want to put a big old billboard in Wrigley Field

Mar 17, 2010, 10:46 AM EDT

When the Ricketeseses took over a few months ago they said that they were going to ensure that Wrigley Field maintained “it’s essential character.”  Apparently part of that character — in addition of the urinal troughs, which will not be touched — includes a big billboard above the left field bleachers:

The Cubs filed a permit application this week for a “projecting,
illuminated” billboard rising high above the left-field bleachers that
has the potential to rake in big bucks from advertisers at the expense
of offending purists.

But, there’s a problem. The 75 foot high, 360 square foot billboard
has raised the eyebrows of local Ald. Tom Tunney (44th). And it may not
pass muster with the Commission on Historical Landmarks, which must
decide whether new signage conforms with Wrigley’s landmark
designation.

Two thoughts:

  • Given that the biggest thing out towards left field for the last couple of decades has been a giant advertisement — one that the Cubs didn’t even make any money on — I’m not sure that putting up one to block it is the end of the world. Right now the ad is for a cheesy Indiana casino.  They also cut into the damn ivy in the name of spandex recently. I can’t imagine that whatever the Cubs put up on their own billboard will do any more to “offend purists” than that stuff;
  • I sure hope the dimensions of the sign listed in the ad are wrong.  If the thing is really 75 feet high and 360 square feet, it must only be 4.8 feet wide.  Unless they’re advertising pens or longneck beers or something on it, it’s gonna look funny.

Way I see it is if you want to keep Wrigley Field around you have to keep the place economically viable. The Ricketseseses are following the Fenway model in terms of renovating the ballpark. It’s a good model. It also requires squeezing as many dollars from the place as can be squeezed.  I think the de minimus aesthetic intrusion of a billboard in left is worth it if it means dragging Wrigley Field into the 21st century.

  1. RobRob - Mar 17, 2010 at 11:11 AM

    The sign itself probably doesn’t start until 20 feet off the ground, making the advertising portion 360 sq feet if the sign is 18 feet wide.

  2. RobRob - Mar 17, 2010 at 11:14 AM

    Or maybe I could do math. 75 ft – 45 ft = 30 ft; 360 sq ft / 30 ft = 12 ft

  3. willmose - Mar 17, 2010 at 11:20 AM

    Novel idea. How about putting a decent team in Wrigley?

  4. KR - Mar 17, 2010 at 11:36 AM

    next thing you know, they’ll be putting ads on the Green Monster.
    …what?

  5. G - Mar 17, 2010 at 12:00 PM

    I don’t suppose they’re doing it to block the rooftop views from across the street. Could it be galling them that fans are getting to see the game without paying?

  6. CB Fan - Mar 17, 2010 at 12:14 PM

    How ’bout a domed field instead?

  7. Rich - Mar 17, 2010 at 12:23 PM

    G – MLB forced the owners of the rooftops across the street into a revenue-sharing agreement several years ago. MLB and the Cubs get a portion of profits from the rooftops. The reason they want to put this billboard up is to block all TV shots of the Casino advertisement (it used to be a huge Budweiser sign) that is on the roof of one of the buildings. That building has never had seating on it. Also, from the proposed placement of this billboard, it would not significantly impact any view that the people on the left field rooftops currently have. I say go for it. Bring in revenue and get some decent players. Oh, and I don’t think they removed any ivy for the UnderArmor signage, those doors have always been there.

  8. Scott - Mar 17, 2010 at 12:26 PM

    Here we go again with the rooftoppers. This one should be a fight to the finish. They won’t be happy at all. I agree though. Anything we can do to help keep Wrigley around is good. This place is beyond historic.

  9. H - Mar 17, 2010 at 12:33 PM

    The 17 rooftop owners have a profit sharing plan with the Cubs so the fans aren’t watching the game for free. The team does get some money from those seats.
    I really think the new owners are doing this just for advertising money.

  10. steve - Mar 17, 2010 at 6:31 PM

    Keep Wrigley Field Billboard Free!
    Please join the Facebook Fight…
    http://www.facebook.com/search/?q=wrigley+field&init=quick#!/pages/Keep-Wrigley-Field-Billboard-Free/389958814488?ref=ss

  11. Sox Fan - Mar 18, 2010 at 2:57 AM

    Tear down the dump. The only thing good about Wrigley dump is when the Sox play there.

  12. Mike - Mar 18, 2010 at 4:00 PM

    That’s uncalled for. I’m a Sox fan and I love Fenway, and I also love everything they are doing to modernize the field without tearing the place down. Wrigley should do the exact same thing and just because you’re not a fan of them is no reason to insult the 2nd oldest active field in the US. Is either field perfect? Hell no. Do any other fields in the US have a fraction as much history? Hell no.

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