July 13, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; A general view as fans wait through a rain delay before the start of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Arizona Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

$300 Million Wrigley Renovation Plan Announced

There’s no doubt to anyone who has graced the grandstands of Wrigley Field in the last 5 years that the beloved stadium was in need of some tender loving care.

Take for example those nets that were designed to catch the chunks of falling concrete in the upper level seating – they’re a prime example of the progressive degeneration that time and the elements can take on a structure.

And while nets are certainly not a long term solution, the Cubs have been looking to touch up Wrigley for a long time. There’s been some pretty obvious hurdles to leap including one from the city of Chicago’s municipal government. As you know, the city places restrictions on the Cubs to host night games, to host neighborhood events, to advertise in certain ways etc and this has owner Tom Ricketts a little upset.

It’s been made perfectly clear that the Ricketts ownership group want to pay for this renovation out of pocket should the city of Chicago lift their restrictions on the club. It’s a very significant detriment to the team as it in inhibits their potential to generate revenue while a lot of other baseball clubs don’t have to tolerate such restrictions. In theory, if the city of Chicago considers Wrigley a “museum” and they could then place significant taxes on the operations of Wrigley – all the while not contributing a single dime to the renovations of the stadium. This seems slightly unfair, and the ownership has expressed their desire to fund this project alone. I see no issue with their business goals or their choice route towards achieving a renovated stadium.

Since it’s a $300 million plan, there’s a lot of meat and potatoes to the concept. I could probably go on for a while about every intricate detail, but I don’t want to waste your time – so here’s the jist:

  • structural upgrades
  • improved player facilities (which are barbaric in comparison to other teams in the league)
  • improved luxury suites
  • more restrooms and concessions
  • widening the concourse
  • potentially a left field patio and LED display screen (similar to the one built in right field last yeay)
  • potentially a jumbo screen, but this is uncertain as of yet

Obviously the essential Wrigley elements will remain. In no way would the ownership group touch the ivy, the classic scoreboard or the marquee board near the entrance, but all these improvements will help the Cubs preserve their beloved stadium.

For a lot of Cubs fans, Wrigley is what makes the Cubs so unique. I personally fell in love with the stadium on my first ever trip to Chicago and have been a Cubs fan ever since, so it’s vitally important for the ownership to ensure a seamless transfer from old Wrigley to “slightly newer but still same vibe” Wrigley.

These renovations wont be taking place overnight. The proposed project will be run during the course of 5 offseasons, so the changes will be gradual and progressive. It’s quite likely that most regular Cubs fans wont even notice the work taking place.

This is another prime example of a premiere baseball club conducting itself in a proper manor. The owners believe in this team and they’re showing their commitment by flooding $300 million of their own cash in to the stadium.

Wrigley will be around to enjoy for years to come.

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Tags: 2013 Wrigley Field Chicago Cubs Tom Ricketts

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