1/22/2014 12:56 P.M. ET
Cubs to apply for permit to install ad sign in right field
Club makes decision after negotiations with rooftop owners fall through
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- The Cubs are taking steps to install an advertising sign in right field at Wrigley Field this year despite opposition from rooftop owners.
According to a story Wednesday, the Cubs will apply for a city permit to install a 650-square-foot see-through sign in right field at the 100-year-old ballpark. The Chicago City Council had authorized such a sign last year.
The Cubs made the decision to seek the permit after a negotiating session with rooftop owners on Tuesday ended without a resolution, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
"We have worked hard to reach a resolution with our rooftop partners which would have helped preserve their views, including reducing the number, size and location of signs," said Julian Green, vice president, communications and community affairs, in a statement on Wednesday. "Unfortunately, they opted [Tuesday] to reject the proposal and file this lawsuit.
"Since our approvals last year, we have been anxious to get the Wrigley Field renovation started," Green said. "[Tuesday's] action will certainly force additional delays to our project."
The rooftop owners have filed a defamation lawsuit against stadium financing consultant Marc Ganis, who once advised the Cubs' prior owner, the Tribune Co. In the suit, rooftop owners accused Ganis of making false and defamatory statements, including urging Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to remove the rooftop roadblock and side with the Cubs.
The Cubs were named in the lawsuit as "respondents in discovery." According to the Sun-Times, Cubs officials felt the suit signaled the rooftop owners' intention to take further legal action to block two outfield signs proposed for the ballpark. The Cubs' $500 million renovation plans also included a video scoreboard in left field. The team has not filed a permit for that signage.
The City Council authorized the renovation plan last summer, but last weekend at the Cubs Convention, president of business operations Crane Kenney said the team would not begin the project until rooftop owners agreed not to sue to block the signage.
The rooftop owners share 17 percent of their revenues with the Cubs, who are trying to increase their revenues by installing the signs. The Cubs met with the rooftop owners last week and reportedly explored the option of reducing the team's share of the rooftop revenues or buying them out.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.