Judge allows Wrigley Field outfield sign construction to continue
A federal judge Thursday denied a request from Chicago rooftop owners to temporarily halt the construction of outfield signs at Wrigley Field.
From the Chicago Sun-Times:
U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall ruled that the “vague possibility” rooftop owners could be injured by the Cubs installation of the signs isn’t enough to issue a restraining order against the team.
During a four-hour hearing on Wednesday, lawyers for the two rooftop businesses, Skybox and the Lakeview Baseball Club, reiterated their arguments that the Cubs’ plans violate both a 2004 revenue sharing agreement they signed with the rooftop owners, and federal anti-trust laws.
They argued to the judge that if she didn’t issue a temporary restraining order banning the Cubs from installing the signs until a fuller hearing of the issue next month, the rooftop businesses will not be able to sell tickets to corporate clients who plan events months in advance, and that they therefore will not survive.
The Cubs are currently in the process of gutting and updating Wrigley Field, and hope the new outfield signage will open up a revenue stream that the team says it can spend on players. Rooftop owners in Wrigleyville think the signs will devalue the seats around the stadium and obstruct views.
The Cubs have been in partnership with the rooftop owners for over 10 years, but the relationship has often been contentious.
Renovations of Wrigley Field began in earnest after the 2014 baseball season, but only after years of political haranguing between the Ricketts family, which owns the team, and the city government.
The full overhaul—which includes plans to build a hotel near the stadium—is expected to be completed by 2018. The revenue sharing agreement between the Cubs and rooftop owners expires in 2023.