Ricketts Says He’ll Move Cubs If Wrigley Deal Not Reached, But Mayor Not Worried
Updated 05/01/13 – 1:53 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) – For the first time since taking ownership of the Cubs, chairman Tom Ricketts has publicly said he will move the team if his proposed Wrigley Field restoration plans were not approved by the city, but Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he doesn’t take that threat seriously.
Speaking at the City Club of Chicago on Wednesday morning, Ricketts revealed the latest $500 million restoration plans, which will be submitted to the city today, for later votes by the Chicago Plan Commission, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks, and the City Council.
The plan includes a 6,000-square-foot, three-panel video scoreboard in left field, with advertising along the top, and a 1,000-square-foot sign in right field.
“The fact is if we don’t have the ability to generate revenue in our own outfield, then we’ll have to take a look at moving. No question,” Ricketts said.
When asked if that was a threat, Ricketts said he was simply stating reality.
“No, there are no threats,” he said. “We are very confident in the legality of our signage plan. We are not making a threat to move. The fact is we want to win in Wrigley Field.”
But Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he’s not worried about Ricketts’ suggestion that the Cubs might leave town if they don’t get the electronic signage they want at Wrigley Field.
WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports the mayor said the important thing is it’s clear what the Cubs say they need, including the new video screen in left field and the sign in right field.
“We worked out a number of those issues, and so this is about going forward into the planning process, with those … big questions answered,” Emanuel said.
Is the mayor taking Ricketts’ implied threat to move the Cubs out of Wrigley seriously, if the Ricketts family doesn’t get the changes it wants to Wrigley?
“No, I’m not, because as you go through what they said, what Tom said and the others, they said that they also know from their own business sense how important Wrigley Field is to their business, and how important Chicago is to their business,” the mayor said.
The new look for Wrigley Field will include 42,000 total square feet of advertising inside and outside the park, including on a new hotel the team plans to build across the street.
Making things interesting, Rosemont mayor Brad Stephens, who has offered the Cubs land for a stadium in Rosemont, was in attendance at the City Club breakfast for Ricketts’ speech about the Wrigley renovation plans.
In a written statement later Wednesday, Stephens said, “We know the Cubs are trying to renovate Wrigley Field. If the Cubs do not get approval on a plan that financially works for them, then the Village of Rosemont would like to be considered an option.”