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CHICAGO (CBS) – Paul McCartney has not announced official plans for a concert at Wrigley Field this summer, but the Cubs are already nailing down the dates.
At the City Council meeting Wednesday, Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) introduced an ordinance at the request of the Cubs, which would authorize concerts at Wrigley Field on July 31 and Aug. 1.
Sources said the Cubs are finalizing negotiations with McCartney for back-to-back nighttime concerts on those dates.
Since legislation is normally introduced at one City Council meeting and approved at the next, the timing is key. If the ordinance hadn’t been introduced Wednesday, it would be tough to approve in time.
Since 2005, the 97-year-old Wrigley Field has hosted concerts every summer but one. Jimmy Buffett played a pair of Labor Day concerts that year.
The Police played at the ballpark in 2007, and Elton John and Billy Joel, as well as Rascal Flatts played in 2009. The Dave Matthews Band played the ballpark last year.
The Cubs agreed to take a year off from concerts in 2006 to ease the strain of the concerts on neighborhood residents. They also agreed to forfeit one of their 30 annual night games.
There also were no concerts at the ballpark in 2008.
But no concessions are planned by the team this year, according to Mike Lufrano, the Cubs’ general counsel and executive vice president of community affairs.
“We’ve proven through the shows that we’ve done that this is something the neighborhood appreciates,” Lufrano said Wednesday. “We will add neighborhood protections, including additional security after the shows.
“We do special neighborhood pre-sales of tickets that typically sell out pretty quickly. The Dave Matthews Band alone generated more than $800,000 in taxes for the city, and it was a tremendous help for local businesses. So we think what was once an experiment has proven very successful.”
Tunney said he agreed to introduce the ordinance as a “placeholder” in the likely event that negotiations with McCartney are finalized.
The alderman agreed that Wrigley concerts have been an “economic benefit to the city and the neighborhood,” that the level of talent has been “top-notch” and that no added concessions are necessary.
“The concerts have been successful because they’ve been controlled by ordinance specific to each one and additional neighborhood protection go with that ordinance,” Tunney said. “As far as forfeiting night games, it depends on how often there are concerts. If they’re one, two or three days, I’m supportive [without] a reduction in the number of night games.”
The prospect of McCartney concerts at Wrigley Field was disclosed by the Chicago Sun-Times last month.
The last time McCartney played in a Chicago baseball park, he had John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr with him. The Beatles played at old Comiskey Park in 1965.
The motivation for the concert series is that it would provide the Cubs with money that wouldn’t fall under Major League Baseball’s revenue-sharing umbrella. For every dollar the Cubs make on game days, 34 cents must be shared with other teams. The Cubs get to keep every dollar they make off concerts.
The Chicago Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire