WBEZ | Ricketts http://www.wbez.org/tags/ricketts Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Cubs chairman threatens to move team from Wrigley http://www.wbez.org/news/cubs-chairman-threatens-move-team-wrigley-106922 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP812306419229.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The owner of the Chicago Cubs publicly threatened for the first time Wednesday to move the team out of Wrigley Field if his plans for a big, new video screen are blocked, saying he needs millions of dollars in ad revenue to help bankroll the renovation of the storied ballpark.</p><p>&quot;The fact is that if we don&#39;t have the ability to generate revenue in our own outfield, we&#39;ll have to take a look at moving &mdash; no question,&quot; Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts told reporters after a speech to Chicago business leaders outlining plans for a $500 million renovation of the 99-year-old stadium.</p><p>It was the first time during months of contentious negotiations over the Wrigley Field renovation plans that Ricketts threatened to move the team out of the lively North Side neighborhood of bars and restaurants that adds to the historic park&#39;s allure with tourists and baseball fans.</p><p>By far the thorniest issue is the plan for a 6,000-square-foot video screen over left field, like those in most ballparks. The difference in Chicago is that the stadium &mdash; the second oldest in Major League Baseball behind Fenway Park in Boston &mdash; is surrounded by privately owned clubs that have built rooftop bleachers and object to any changes to the park that could block their bird&#39;s-eye views.</p><p>Because they have a contract in which they share 17 percent of their revenue with the Cubs, the rooftop businesses feel they should have a seat at the bargaining table and legal action is a possibility. They have been left out of the talks.</p><p>Ricketts presented an architectural rendering of the video screen during his speech to the City Club of Chicago and insisted it would have minimal if any impact on the views. He said without such signage, the team was losing out on $20 million a year in ad revenue &mdash; essential for helping fund extensive renovations without dipping into taxpayer funds.</p><p>&quot;All we really need is to be able to run our business like a business and not a museum,&quot; Ricketts told the audience.</p><p>One of the rooftop owners, Beth Murphy, sat in on the speech and told reporters afterward that it was the first time she&#39;d seen any drawings of the screen and that she and other owners would have a lot of vetting to do before determining if the proposal works.</p><p>&quot;It looked big to me and it looked like it blocked out the neighborhood,&quot; she said.</p><p>The rooftop owners have previously threatened legal action, and Murphy said she was confident their contract would hold up and protect their businesses.</p><p>Ricketts said the team formally filed its renovation proposal with the city of Chicago on Wednesday. The plan must get approval from city planners and the City Council. There will also be public hearings on the plan.</p></p> Wed, 01 May 2013 08:49:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cubs-chairman-threatens-move-team-wrigley-106922 City, Cubs push $500 million Wrigley renovation http://www.wbez.org/news/city-cubs-push-500-million-wrigley-renovation-106643 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Flickr_DaveNewman.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Chicago Cubs and the city have agreed on details of a $500 million facelift for Wrigley Field, including an electronic video screen that is nearly three times as large as the one currently atop the centerfield bleachers of the 99-year-old ballpark.</p><p>Under terms of the agreement, the Cubs would also be able to increase the number of night games at Wrigley Field from 30 to 40 &mdash; or nearly half the games played there each season. They would give Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts the ability to renovate the second-oldest park in the major leagues, boost business and perhaps make baseball&#39;s most infamous losers competitive again.</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel hailed what the two sides called a &quot;framework&quot; agreement in a joint statement issued Sunday night, noting that it includes no taxpayer funding. That had been one of the original requests of the Ricketts family in a long-running renovation dispute that at times involved everything from cranky ballpark neighbors to ward politics and even the re-election campaign of President Barack Obama.</p><p>&quot;This framework allows the Cubs to restore the Friendly Confines (of Wrigley) and pursue their economic goals, while respecting the rights and quality of life of its neighbors,&quot; Emanuel said.</p><p>Still uncertain was how the agreement will sit with owners of nearby buildings who provide rooftop views of the ball games under an agreement with the Cubs that goes back years. They have threatened to sue if the renovations obstruct their view, which they claim would drive them out of business.</p><p>On Monday, a spokesman for the rooftop owners said the group would have a statement later, but in the meantime referred the AP to the group&#39;s statement released earlier this month that says: &quot;Any construction that interrupts the rooftop views will effectually drive them out of business and be challenged in a court of law.&quot;</p><p>The Cubs said the video screen they are proposing to build is 6,000 square feet, and would be built with &quot;minimal impact on rooftops with whom (the) Cubs have an agreement.&quot; The current centerfield scoreboard is slightly more than 2,000 square feet; the Cubs also have plans to add a left-field sign of 1,000 square feet.</p><p>&quot;Rooftop views are largely preserved,&quot; the team said in its announcement. &quot;The Cubs have agreed to install only two signs in the outfield &mdash; a videoboard in left field and a sign in right field. This is far less than our original desire for seven signs to help offset the cost of ballpark restoration.&quot;</p><p>The signs offer the team a chance to reach new advertising deals and pay for the overhaul, even if it might change the character of the historic park. The city and club said they hope the agreement would allow the Cubs to obtain necessary city approvals for the work by the end of the current season.</p><p>The Ricketts family, which bought the Cubs in 2009 for $845 million, initially sought tax funding for renovation plans. With that out in the new agreement, the owners will seek to open new revenue streams outside the stadium. Under the agreement, the Ricketts family would be allowed to build a 175-room hotel, a plaza, and an office building with retail space and a health club, and provide 1,000 &quot;remote&quot; parking spots that will be free and come with shuttle service.</p><p>&quot;We are anxious to work with our community as we seek the approvals required to move the project forward,&quot; Ricketts said in the statement.</p><p>The site of Babe Ruth&#39;s &quot;called shot&quot; home run in the 1932 World Series and more heartbreak than Cubs fans would like to remember, Wrigley Field is younger only than Boston&#39;s Fenway Park in the majors. It has long been a treasured showplace for baseball purists &mdash; night games were only added in 1988 &mdash; but team officials for years have desperately wanted a true upgrade, saying it costs as much as $15 million a year just to keep up with basic repairs.</p><p>The ballpark has also played no small part in the lore of the team, as fans were reminded April 10 when someone delivered a goat&#39;s head in a box addressed to Ricketts. Neither the team nor the Chicago Police Department have talked about a possible motive for the strange delivery, but as every fan knows it was in the 1945 World Series when a tavern owner arrived at the park with his pet goat &mdash; which had a ticket.</p><p>According to legend, the owner was told the goat smelled and was denied entry. The angry tavern owner then put the &quot;Curse of the Billy Goat&quot; on the Cubs &mdash; and the team has not been back to the World Series since. The last World Series championship for the Cubs came in 1908 &mdash; six years before Wrigley was built.</p><p>After failing to reach an agreement when Mayor Richard Daley was in office, the Ricketts family kept talking after Emanuel took office in 2011. But even presidential politics presented an obstacle for the plans at one point.</p><p>During the 2012 election, the patriarch of the Ricketts family, which created the TD Ameritrade brokerage firm, was considering a $10 million campaign against Obama that would refer to the racially incendiary sermons delivered by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright at a Chicago church the president once attended. J. Joseph Ricketts dropped the proposal, but the episode brought a huge dose of unwanted bad press and angered Emanuel, Obama&#39;s former White House chief of staff.</p><p>In recent weeks, fans also had to deal with the unlikely specter of the Cubs leaving Chicago. With the talks bogged down, the mayor of nearby Rosemont piped up, saying the village located near O&#39;Hare International Airport would be willing to let the Cubs have 25 acres free of charge to build a replica of Wrigley Field.</p></p> Mon, 15 Apr 2013 06:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/city-cubs-push-500-million-wrigley-renovation-106643 Quinn: Wrigley not on priority list http://www.wbez.org/news/quinn-wrigley-not-priority-list-98331 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/wrigley.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>As the baseball season continues, so do conversations about possible renovations to Wrigley Field. Elected officials like Mayor Rahm Emanuel have spoken out about funding to the field. But Illinois Governor Pat Quinn says he's got more important things to focus on.<br><br>The Cubs owners, the Ricketts family, have been in talks with the city and the state over how to fund renovations. Emanuel said recently the discussion was nearing its final stages. He's spoken out multiple times about the renvovations, always making sure reporters and residents know he's got the taxpayers' backs.<br><br>"I'm there to be a steward for the taxpayers, not one for the Ricketts family, and I know the difference," Emanuel said Tuesday at an unrelated news conference.<br><br>Meanwhile, Gov. Quinn says he's got other things to worry about.<br><br>"Let's be serious. We just talked about medicaid and we have a budget we have to pass, we have to deal with pension stabilization, those issues are far, far higher on the priority list," Quinn said Thursday.<br><br>Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts asked the state two years ago for $300 million dollars in bonds toward the renovations. Ricketts has said the team would pay Illinois back with an amusement tax that's attached to ticket prices.<br><br>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 18 Apr 2012 07:36:24 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/quinn-wrigley-not-priority-list-98331 Sports update: Bears defense hits South Beach http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/sports-update-bears-defense-hits-south-beach <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/bears defense resize.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Bears defense certainly took their talents to South Beach last night. The team&rsquo;s 16-0 shut-out over the Miami Dolphins puts the Monsters of the Midway on top of the NFC North, at least for the next few days.</p><p>The circus has hit town which means the Blackhawks and Bulls have hit the road, where both teams have a lot to prove.</p><p>Meanwhile a different set of acts are unfolding at the &quot;Friendly Confines&quot; on Chicago's North Side: Northwestern takes on the Illini in the <a href="http://nusports.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/111710aaa.html" target="_blank">AllState Wrigleyville Classic</a> on Saturday; the first time there's been gridiron action on that field in four decades.</p><p>And the Ricketts family is talking up a &quot;now you get it, now you don&rsquo;t deal,&quot; that would net them $200 million in state bonds to renovate the ball park.&nbsp;</p><p>Eight Forty-Eight spoke to regular Sports Contributor Cheryl Raye-Stout for the breakdown.</p></p> Fri, 19 Nov 2010 14:59:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/sports-update-bears-defense-hits-south-beach Daley uncertain of deal to pay for renovating Wrigley Field http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago/daley-uncertain-deal-pay-renovating-wrigley-field <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/AP060406029995_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago Mayor Richard Daley is not throwing his support behind a proposal to renovate Wrigley Field with taxpayer money. The owners of the Chicago Cubs, the Ricketts family, approached the mayor with a plan. They want to borrow about $250 million from the state for renovations and repay the money over time in taxes on ticket prices. Daley said the proposal has serious problems.</p><p>&quot;I understand the concept, but like anything else I think we have to really talk about how you finance this without jeopardizing whether it's $5 million, $7 million, $8 million of future growth to the City of Chicago,&quot;&nbsp;Daley said.</p><p>Daley said he has an alternative idea, but he wouldn't address it publicly. The Ricketts' plan would need approval from state legislators.</p></p> Tue, 16 Nov 2010 11:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago/daley-uncertain-deal-pay-renovating-wrigley-field