By Bruce Levine-
(CBS) If you were planning to take in a Cubs game in the warm April sun via the bleachers, you are out of luck in 2015. President of business operations Crane Kenney told 1,000 fans at the Cubs Convention on Saturday that contingency plans are in place to relocate patrons who have season tickets in the bleachers elsewhere in April and part of May.READ MORE: COVID-19 In Illinois: State Reports Lowest Average Infection Rate In Two Weeks, But Hospitalizations Still Rising
Due to delays in the City of Chicago’s water pipe and wiring work in connection with the Wrigley “1060″ rehab project — and perhaps an overzealous projection by the Cubs — concrete won’t be ready by the April 5 opener against the Cardinals, the first home night opener in Wrigley Field history.
The left-field bleachers won’t be functional until May 11, 2015. The right-field bleachers will hopefully been completed by the end of May, according to Kenney.
“It was going to be a real tight schedule,” Kenney said after his fan seminar. “We were hopeful we would find extra time in the process. We did not find the time. The steel delivery date we hoped might be moved up. It did not.”
This four-year total rehab and upgrade of a 100-year-old iconic ballpark has its own built-in nightmares. Attempting to rework old concrete and pour new sections is a crapshoot in the best of weather conditions.READ MORE: University Of Chicago Resumes In Person Classes After COVID Outbreak
“It will be hard for people to understand, seeing the concrete (finished), but it needs a month to cure,” Kenney said. “The videoboard doesn’t need concrete to be cured or solidify. Bolting in bleacher seats do. You may look out there and see the steps and risers and it will look (finished), but it has to sit for 28 days.”
What Kenney didn’t say was that concrete needs the temperature to be above 40 degrees in order to settle properly. Any type of an extreme cold in April could back up the construction further, though Kenney said he’s comfortable with his new timetable for bleacher completion.
“The issue on this side is we are going to do this right like we try to do everything,” Kenney said. “If we miss the month of April, we do.”
Season-ticket holders in the bleachers can get a relocated seat during the bleacher construction or a credit to their accounts for future purchases they make on their ticket buys. The city was blamed in some quarters for not being able to work around the Lake Michigan water table that runs very close to the surface under Wrigley.
“We have a challenging water table around Wrigley that everyone knows, right?” Kenney said. “It is what we thought it was. None of that is affecting the delay.”MORE NEWS: Lawyers, Community Leaders Calling On Department Of Justice To Investigate Death Of Adam Toledo
The loss of revenue will be significant, losing 5,000 seats per game with the closing of the bleachers. The average bleacher seat is $50, plus there’s $30-a-head per cap loss (per cap is money spent on food and beverage by each fan). Multiply that $80 by the 5,000 tickets, and it comes to a loss of roughly $400,000 a game in revenue. There are 14 home games in April and early May that won’t have any bleacher ticket access. The Cubs won’t sell any individual bleacher seats in advance before June.