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Cubs test sign placement; rooftop owners object

Wrigley Field

The Chicago Cubs set up a test outfield sign at Wrigley Field yesterday — a move that was quickly criticized by local rooftop-bleacher owners as breaking an agreement between the two sides.

The Cubs plan on installing a new videoboard and lights in left field, and have received city approval to do so. However, the rooftop-bleacher owners say their agreement with the Cubs precludes any blockage of views from their facilities; they’re willing to go to court to prevent the installations in the outfield. From AP:

The sign and a massive Jumbotron planned for left field are central to the Cubs’ $500 million renovation plans for the 99-year-old ballpark. The team wants the revenue that would be generated from the signs to help bankroll the stadium upgrades. The rooftop owners who charge fans to sit on bleachers on top of their buildings argue that the sign would threaten their businesses.

“We’ve been crystal clear. Any sign that blocks the views of the rooftops will result in legal action,” Ryan McLaughlin, a spokesman for the club owners, said in a statement. He said the sign would violate the contract under which the rooftops share 17 percent of their revenues with the Cubs.

The Wrigley Field renovation plans — including the signs — have been approved by Chicago’s City Council, and despite the renewed threat of a lawsuit that could stall the work, the team planned to move forward with the sign, Cubs spokesman Julian Green said.

“Every one of these rooftops still has a view inside this ballpark. I didn’t say the same view. But, we believe every rooftop partner will be able to have a view inside the ballpark,” Green told the Chicago Sun-Times.

It appears that the new signage planned in right field will feature Anheuser-Busch, the team’s longtime beer partner. Alas, no Old Style sign is in the works.

Rendering courtesy Chicago Cubs.

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