Chicago Cubs: Wrigleyville Rooftop Owners Need to Get Realistic

By Jacob Kornhauser
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One of the most enchanting things about making the trip to Wrigley Field for a Chicago Cubs game is the atmosphere. Unlike many other modern stadiums, Wrigley Field is situated in the middle of a neighborhood where houses are literally right next door.

Due to their proximity to Wrigley Field, owners of houses behind Wrigley Field’s outfield walls have exploited the Cubs’ product on the field and turned it into a major business. Well, now that the Cubs want to add a 650 square foot video screen in right field, that major business is in jeopardy.

As could be expected, the owners of the homes possibly affected by the impending video screen are extremely upset. However, they need to start getting realistic for a number of reasons.

First of all, the rooftop owners are using another company’s product to sell their own product. Considering that it’s the Cubs’ product and they only receive 17 percent of the revenue generated by the rooftop owners, there is no reason to gripe. Without the Cubs, the rooftop owners would have no revenue stream at all. The same can’t be said about the Cubs if the rooftop owners were to halt their operations.

Obviously, the tricky part about the entire issue is that the Cubs and the rooftop owners signed a contract in January of 2004 that runs through the 2023 season. Among other things, adding a video board that would obstruct the view of fans in the rooftops is listed as something not allowed.

Rooftop owners have been trying to think of creative ways to keep making money from the Cubs without adding giant video boards to the stadium. Recently, they proposed a plan to the Cubs that would add seven digital scoreboards and generate an estimated $17.9 million in revenue per year. The Cubs shot down the idea promptly.

Yes, the rooftop owners have provided the Cubs with an additional revenue stream. However, the team could generate plenty more revenue with video boards, which would both modernize the stadium and provide for additional advertising space.

As mentioned, part of the allure of Wrigley Field is the neighborhood atmosphere and perhaps by adding a video board, the experience won’t be quite the same. This entire process is about making money for the team though, and with more money comes a more competitive team (if the money is spent wisely).

With a more competitive team comes a more realistic chance at the club’s first World Series title in 106 years and counting. Despite all of the arguing between the two sides, the end to the curse would make everybody happy.

Jacob Kornhauser is a Chicago Cubs writer for Add him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter or add him to your Google+ network. 

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