Courtesy of Chicago Cubs

Wrigley Field night game deal approved; no alcohol on plaza, yet

A Chicago City Council committee approved the tweaks to the Chicago Cubs’ new night game plan, but the proposal to sell beer and wine on the planned outdoor plaza on hold.

Wednesday evening, the Chicago City Council Committee on License and Consumer Protection approved a new compromise proposal the number of night games the Cubs can play at Wrigley Field, reports Fran Spielman of the Chicago Sun-Times.

The night game ordinance approved last summer authorized the Cubs to play up to 46 night games per season, up from the current allotment of 30. But, it capped the number of Saturday night games at two-per-season and gave the city “unprecedented” control over when rained-out games are re-scheduled.

The new version reduces the overall number to 43, but allows the Cubs to schedule 35 night games and add eight more, including three Saturday nights, if Major League Baseball chooses the Cubs for a weekend broadcast.

In exchange, the Cubs will provide free remote parking for up to 1,000 cars, up from 500 cars at $6 per car currently. In addition, the team has agreed to beef up crowd control — for two hours after games on Sunday-through-Thursday and three hours on Friday and Saturday — by hiring ten additional security guards.

The Cubs have 35 night games set on their 2014 preliminary schedule that was announced in September. With Fox’s Saturday night regional broadcast, at least two possibly three home games will be moved to a 6:15 p.m. CT start. Other home games may be flexed to night games based on how the Cubs are performing and whether ESPN is interested in broadcasting a game. The five additional night games in 2014 are not likely but with the dominance in the National League Central there is a chance.

The proposal to sell beer and wine on the planned plaza was tabled.

Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) promised changes after community feedback on his “sports venue license” ordinance that, as currently written, would authorize year-round liquor sales — up to 11 p.m. on weekdays and midnight on weekends — on a plaza that would also feature live music.

“It’s a brand new type of license, so we’ve got a lot of work to do. . . . The community wants more input. . . . I’m sure we’ll have a substitute,” Tunney said.

Pressed on what changes he anticipates, Tunney said it’s an open question whether liquor sales should be year-round. Area residents are also concerned about loud music. They would prefer a quieter form of activity, such as farmer’s markets or a skating rink, the alderman said.

The Cubs are trying to replicate the atmosphere outside Fenway Park in Boston, even though the neighborhood around Wrigley is residential. The Council committee also approved concerts at Wrigley.

The revised night game ordinance again authorizes the Cubs to hold up to four concerts per season at Wrigley. But, it includes a steep schedule of fines to prevent a repeat of a storm-delayed Pearl Jam concert that ran until 2 a.m. last summer and kept area residents awake.

The fines range from $5,000 for the first half-hour after 11 p.m. to $15,000 for shows that run until midnight and $30,000 for each half-hour after that.

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Tags: Chicago Cubs MLB Wrigley Field

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