Guest Post: Your Rosemont Cubs...or not.

Guest Post: Your Rosemont Cubs...or not.

Kevin Heckman is a long time "den-izen" who frequently provides insightful comments here, so I was happy to see that he used his business acumen to write this excellent piece on the much-talked about potential Cubs move to Rosemont.

Your Rosemont Cubs!!  Or not.

By Kevin Heckman

There’s suddenly a lot of buzz about the Cubs leaving the so-called friendly confines for Rosemont, thanks to David Kaplan’s report that the mayor of Rosemont is interested in luring the Cubs out to the Northwest suburbs. On my way home from work I was treated to a chorus of call-ins to WGN saying what a no-brainer this move was and how much better it would be for the Cubs, for fans, for everyone to get out from under the oppressive city bureaucracy, greedy rooftop owners and self-serving aldermen in exchange for a brand new stadium a “mere” 12 miles away.

Not going to happen.

No doubt this will be used by Ricketts as a negotiating ploy with the city. And it should be. Businessmen use the tools they have at hand. But it is extremely unlikely that moving the Cubs makes sound business sense for the Ricketts. Even if they might be able to pick up some of the $73 million a year that Rick Reilly somewhat arbitrarily argues they are losing through the restrictions at Wrigley under which they presently operate.

To illustrate why, let’s look at revenue. There are a lot of expense-side arguments you could include in this discussion, but I think the revenue side dominates the argument.

Last year the Cubs drew 2.8 million fans, the first time they were under 3 million since 2003. Despite the drop they were still in the top 10 in attendance in the league. Their average ticket price of $46.30 was third highest in the league. That’s ticket revenue of about $130 million. Add in concessions: let’s say the average attendee buys a beer and a hot dog for $11. That’s another $31 million, roughly. Souvenirs? Harder to estimate, but let’s say another $10 million. That’s approximately $171 million a year in attendance-related revenue. The big question is: could the Cubs maintain that with a move to the burbs? To do so, either their fans would have to follow them, or they would have to pick up new ticket sales. Let’s look at their fan segments.

1.    Hardcore: The so-called “true” Cubs fans would probably go out to Rosemont to see a game. Maybe some of the suburban fans would go more often. On the other hand fans on the North side and North Shore might find Rosemont to be a tougher trek than public transit to Wrigley. The Cubs surely know where their fan base lives, but I don’t, so let’s call this a wash. The hardcore fans stay on.
2.    Corporate clients: This is probably a less-important segment than it used to be, since corporations are not buying sporting event tickets the way they once were. But if you had to impress a corporate client, would you be more inclined to journey from downtown to Lakeview or to Rosemont? If I’m the White Sox, by the way, I’m all over downtown corporate clientele if the Cubs move farther away, especially if they do it at a time when the Cubs are bad and the White Sox are at least competitive.
3.    The Wrigley lovers: These are the attendees real Cubs fans hate – myself included – but their money still counts for the Ricketts. And if the Cubs move, then there’s no Wrigley. And no Wrigley means all the guys who want to get drunk in the sun in Wrigley will get drunk somewhere else – they’re sure not driving out to the burbs for that. And the tourists who want to see the historic field don’t come either.

So that’s one primary segment of ticket-buyers who don’t follow the Cubs to their new digs. The key question is what percentage of current fans are included in the overall numbers. Suppose with the move, the Cubs’ attendance reverts to the N.L. mean. That was about 2.6 million last year, which means a loss of revenue of $12 million. Suppose the Cubs really dive and end up at White Sox levels. That means about 2.0 million in attendance, which costs the Cubs almost $50 million a year. And this assumes that average Cubs attendance going forward is 2.8 million, when 3 million-plus seems very realistic. It also assumes that ticket prices remain unchanged, when it’s likely they would go down with this sort of a move in order to encourage fans to make the trek to Rosemont for the first time. Balance that against the possibility of making a deal work with the city. Which is the better gamble?

There are a host of other considerations here as well. How much to build a new stadium vs. renovate Wrigley? Does a move hurt the Cubs brand and therefore have ramifications for other revenue streams? The current city administration is a pain, but what headaches will come with the new location? Are any of these worth the risk of relocating one of the most visible sports franchises in the world out of the iconic place they play?

In the end, the real determinant is Ricketts’ attitude towards his property. He did not buy the Cubs as a distressed business. A distressed team, maybe, but not a distressed business. And that means he likes core enterprise, which is why he paid a premium to get it. Personally, I suspect Ricketts dreams of being the owner who brought a title to the Cubs, not the owner who, for all practical purposes, tore down Wrigley Field. All this adds up to an owner who is probably not inclined to take big risks with his property.

Also read Tom's take on The LoXas Factor here...

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  • Will the Cubs ever move? Maybe. The problem right now is too many people with their hands in the pie. the City, the rooftop owners, the bars, the Alderman, blah, blah, blah.

    Just as they are doing internally with sweeping change, they should probably do externally with Wrigley & the Cubs brand. The Cubs need to do what is best for them and their fans not the city or a neighborhood.

    I love Wrigley! My kids enjoy it there. It is a true old school baseball! However, if they can not move forward as a franchise and re shape Wrigley for this century - it may just be time to go.

    Maybe, build a stadium on the lakefront like the Giants did in SF? I hate to think about it - I hate to even say it but, the bottom line is to win a championship! Period! And if the Cubs have to leave Wrigley to do it, then that is a sacrifice I and many other Cub fans are willing to make.

  • In reply to jaxx51:

    Agree with that bottom line jaxx! Nothing more important than that championship.

  • Just added a simple poll but I know some have mentioned Arlington Hts, NW Indiana, I just grouped that as an other category and you can add in the comments section.

  • Kevin, great article. Thanks for writing.

    John or Kevin, are there any decent recent examples of new ballparks and how they've done financially? The Cubs and Red Sox are unique, so I know there isn't really a perfect comparison.

    How did the Yankees' new stadium turn out for them?

  • In reply to mosconml:

    BTW gentleman, Rick O Reilly of Espeeend agrees with the fact the Cubs will never win anything playing in Wrigley, claiming amongst other things that the Cubs lose $73 million/yr because of Wrigley. Id love to see the Cubs stick it in his face.

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    Great article Kevin but I have a problem with your math. You are forgetting about the 12% luxury tax. The tax rate in Rosemont is 3% meaning if they keep the prices the same then the Cubs actually get a raise of 9% in revenue for the 2.6 million that the NL is averaging. Hence they are almost a break even on the move even if there is a 200000 drop in attendance. I am sure that kind of cushion would also go into any thinking that Ricketts has about moving the Cubs.

  • In reply to Richard Hood:

    Another piece would be that the stadium size would undoubtedly be larger. Wouldn't guarantee more fans but it would allow for that possibility.

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    In reply to Richard Hood:

    Kevin forgot a lot of stuff.

    He dismissed the corporate aspect, "Corporate clients: This is probably a less-important segment than it used to be, since corporations are not buying sporting event tickets the way they once were." WHAT?!

    Why are all these teams building parks with larger and more sky boxes? For he Jones family to use? No, corporations are using them and the Cubs would have more and bigger boxes in a new stadium.

    Kevin and Tom's posts were both from a very city centric perspective. They just assume the Cubs would shed tens of thousands of fans because they weren't in the city anymore. Rosemont is just about as perfect a spot as anywhere for all fans: city, suburbs and out of towners. It's not that far for the city dweller and you can take public trans to the area. It's closer for the suburban fan. And the out of towner can fly in spend a day at the ball park and go to the casino or head own town on the metra.

  • There are still a number of things not discussed here... like stadium funding. Every other city has helped to fund a new ballpark. My guess is if they moved out to a suburb, the Ricketts would no longer need to pick up the entire tab. We seem to act as if the Ricketts picking up a $500 million dollar tab is not a big deal, but it's a hell of a lot of money to me! What if a suburb says we'll pay for most of it just like other cities do for their teams? I believe a city like Rosemont could make it pretty enticing for the Cubs to move. I agree it's not going to happen, but it could be interesting.

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    Kevin, there is no denying that there would be some pain involved in moving the team, but ultimately, it's the Cubs and the Ricketts' family that hold the upper hand here, not the greedy city and the neighborhood, and the pain would only be short term, as long as the Cubs put a good product on the field. Overall, the long term benefits of being able to run their business as they see fit would far outweigh the short term pain, which I think you've overestimated.

    The importance of tickets sales and other ballpark generated revenues is declining all over professional sports. All over tv, radio and internet revenues are where the real money is, and they're where it is going to be in the future. The Cubs would have a new, and might I add more lucrative, media deal in place long before they actually moved into a new ballparks, and that deal would be a huge offset. It might even wipe it out completely.

    I also think you give to much weight to corporate sales, most companies are cutting back on such expenditures because of the crappy economy. Furthermore, are we to believe that the only corporations in the area are all downtown? Many of the corporations based in the area moved out of downtown and out to the suburbs a long time ago, and for the same reasons the Cubs should do so now. It's entirely possible that any loss of revenue from corporate sources in the downtown area would be replaced with revenue from those in the suburbs.

    One thing the Cubs have going for them that the White Sox don't is the advantage of being a national brand. Granted, much of that attraction has to do with the ballpark itself, but at the same time, a new park would also be a novelty, especially if it came at a time when the team started to consistently put a winning product on the field. A home in the suburbs also means more accessibility for that national fan base. So you might not see a precipitous drop in ballpark generated revenues at all.

    Finally, whether is be the suburbs or even northwest Indiana, we aren't talking about the New York Giants or the Brooklyn Dodgers moving all the way across the country. The Cubs would still be in the area. I think it's the perfect time to wipe the slate clean and leave all that bad karma of the past and corrupt bullshit behind.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Obviously we disagree on this issue, and we've talked about it before. I think you hit on the very thing that's keeping the Cubs from taking the move risk, and I don't really address it in the initial post. The brand. Big corporations value their brand more than anything. Disney's entire business is based around it. The Cubs brand is tied up in a lot of history and a lot of traditions. It's not something you mess with lightly. It may be that you can do a risk assessment that comes out with a move being a financially viable choice. But evaluating the damage to the brand - and there would be damage - is harder to do. Which is why I think the Ricketts, who didn't buy the Cubs as a speculative venture, are unlikely to mess with it.

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    In reply to Kevin Heckman:

    I agree it's not something you mess with lightly, but I disagree with you about Tom Ricketts' mentality. The Cubs were bought to make money. Ricketts wants to win, but he also wants to be profitable. This was very much done as a speculative venture.

    This may ultimately prove to be nothing more than a bargaining tactic to get the looters and moochers to back down, but it's a credible one. Ultimately, if the Ricketts chooses to be held hostage by looters and moochers, he eventually won't have a business. Many a business has found this out the hard way.

    Something else Kevin, and I include myself here, none of us has read between the lines. Theo Epstein gave an interview to a Boston media outlet not long ago. One of the interview questions he got had to do with Wrigley's remodel and comparing it to Fenway's makeover. Without actually saying much about the Wrigley situation, he talked about the cost versus the benefits of remodeling Fenway, and how, if it had to be done over again, the Red Sox would have been better off building a new stadium, and probably would do so. In the end, Epstein said for what it cost the Red Sox, they could've almost built a new ballpark, and it would've been a whole lot less headaches.

    Theo Epstein is the kind of man who measures everything that comes out of his mouth before it comes out. He isn't going to say anything publicly that he knows his owner isn't already okay with, and you can be assured that Ricketts has asked for Epstein's opinion on the Wrigley mess, and given what we know of the Epstein/Ricketts relationship, Tom listens to Theo.

    You mention the Disney brand, but it actually proves my point. Disney is media driven. It's main profit centers are not tied up in their theme parks, Most people who see a Disney film or watch the Disney Channel will never visit those parks. They can't afford to make that trip. Just like the majority of Cubs fans will never see a game at Wrigley.

    I think as time goes on. Wrigley becomes less and less important to the Cubs equation. What is becoming important is winning. These are not the same fans that used to crowd Wrigley. The "Lovable Losers" is becoming a loser financially. Cubs fans not only boo with regularity now, but they also show up with less frequency. More importantly though, losing is terrible for media driven revenues. The Cubs tv ratings are taking a hit. When they lose, people don't watch like they used to do, but as true Cubs fans, we should be thankful for that.

  • Kevin, you're making a lot of assumptions and suppositions in this post.

    I’m not going to guess about attendance figures, because I’m sure the Cubs have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on risk assessment of moving the Cubs out of Wrigley. They know a lot more about the risk of moving the team than any of us do.

    I can just speak from a 40 year fan’s point of view.

    It stinks that the Cubs are coming out of an era where the previous ownership could care less about the product on the field. Their whole marketing effort was built around one or two players each year (How many K’s did Kerry get? Did Sammy hit one today) and THEN market everything else around coming to Wrigley about enjoy the sunshine and talk a lot about the bars and rooftops. The Tribune marketed the Wrigley experience to the fans and the segment of fans who go to the ballpark to drink beer and be seen grew exponentially. How the team did each year was secondary. I won't miss that segment of fans at all.

    From a business standpoint moving to Rosemont is a no-brainer. Not only will the Cubs be able to advertise inside of the new ballpark, but also to traffic heading toward and away from downtown every day. Even in the offseason the Cubs will be able to generate ad revenue. The Cubs will also get revenue from parking and from having their own festivals every game. I don't need to go into detail about the additional space for restaurants and clubs inside and outside the park that generate more revenue than the cramped spaces at Wrigley. More skyboxes, better seats, better concessions because there is more space than the cramped area for concessions currently beneath the stands.

    The best part of the move is scheduling more night games at the new ballpark. It’s not just the few more the Cubs are proposing to the city for additional night games at Wrigley. It's about the 15 to 20 more night games that will put the Cubs around the league average. I'm not even talking about attendance figures. I'm talking about putting games on prime-time television. The rate card for commercials in prime time will make the next TV package even more attractive to stations.

    If you’re concerned about losing segments of fans coming to the ballpark, it's simple. Put a winning product out on the field consistently. To do this, the Cubs need to generate revenue and run their own business the way they see fit. Otherwise they can stay and continue to market Wrigley, get the casual fan who will get a few drinks at Bernie's or Murphy's or Cubby Bear's before going to the game to get seen. And maybe the Cubs will catch lightning in a bottle every once in a leap year.

    In the future, if the Cubs stink and fans don't come to the park, they deserve lower attendance figures

    I think you’re spending a lot of time focusing on what the Cubs are losing as a brand. I think looking at it outside the box on what the Cubs will be gaining as a brand will overcome what they lose.

    It’s time to cut the cord.

  • A new state-of-the-art stadium with more amenities for fans and players alike, luxury boxes, adequate parking, more advertising, more night games, more seats, lower taxes, no rooftops and far less political interference? Nah, the Ricketts would have to be crazy to want any of that.

  • As much as I love Wrigley and the history of it, I want the Cubs to be a competitive, state-of-the-art franchise even more. If that means relocating in order to have their say in how the business is ran, be able to provide much better amenities for players and fans, provide more night games, and (hopefully) not have to deal with as much political BS, then so be it.

    It would be pretty cool to actually build Wrig2 with some of the old staples (they can leave the old washrooms at Wrigley, though).

    Think of how symbolic it would be for the Cubs to "start over", cleaning the slate, jumping into the 21st Century and moving forward to a brighter, better future.

    Heck, maybe they can even play the first season with a modern version of the 1908 Cubs Uni's

  • In reply to SymposiumX:

    think about how the Indians did it in Cleveland when they opened then Jacobs field in the 90s-at the same time they became a powerhouse team on the field. They had 455 consecutive sellouts to boot.

  • If the Yankees were able to move from the House that Ruth built, then the Cubs can move into a new stadium as well. Wrigley could be used by one of the minor league teams.

    I also don't get the math on revenue going down. Every other major sports franchise sees an increase in revenue when they move into a new stadium, and you think the Cubs would see a decrease. Not with this fan base. So many fans have not gone because it is not easy to get to downtown. You are only looking at from the view of people who live downtown. Just imagine if the new field (I wouldn't call it new Wrigley or Wrigley 2 unless Wrigley pays a lot for it) held 50,000 people, what about 60,000? The Cubs will still sell out in the peak time periods which will far, far make up for the loss at the non-peak times, IF there is a decrease in attendance because guys don't want to go out to the ballpark, drink and look at girls. Wait a minute, if their are girls at the ballpark still, then the guys and the drinks will follow.

    Imagine a new field where the corporate boxes were actually modernized. Imagine a new field where the setting was similar, but the Cubs owned the rooftops that overlooked the field and the office space, apartments, etc in those buildings.

    Finances are not a reason to not move. It will be a financial windfall if they do. Nostalgia is the only reason to not move and I for one have changed my mind on this, I would love to see the look on Emanuel, Tunney and the rooftop owners faces when they are told that a minor league team was going to be the new team playing at Wrigley.

  • In reply to The Cubs Way:

    The Yankees moved across the street. It would be the equivalent of building a new "Wrigley" where McDonald's is.

    Also, Attendance at Yankee games has dropped by 5-6k since moving into the new stadium. I understand it is smaller, but they still aren't selling games out so it's not like tickets aren't available.

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    In reply to cowboy2024:

    Actually I think the most viable way for the Cubs to move would be to do something like what the Yankees did and move nearby. Stay in the neighborhood. Even that has some risk associated with it, but if you could somehow maintain a connection with Wrigley in customers' minds than you have a better chance at managing brand perception, which is a bigger deal than people think.

  • In reply to Kevin Heckman:

    I've been saying for a couple years that if a move is the only option then they should look to move into the space vacated by the Children's Hospital (Lincoln just south of Fullerton. I'm sure there are a lot of hurdles to making that happen (including rerouting Lincoln), but to me it's a lot better option than the burbs.

  • In reply to cowboy2024:

    Interesting idea cowboy,...

  • In reply to The Cubs Way:

    Maybe they could get the White Sox to play there. The Sox are always complaining about how the field helps the Cubs attendance. They could move there. :)

  • It's not fair to compare Yankee stadium to Wrigley. Yankee stadium had history. Wrigley has character. I was nevee impressed with the old Yankee Stadium and understood completely why the built new. Fenway is a much better comparison and needed to be preserved just like Wrigley.

  • In reply to Ibleedcubbieblue:

    That's fine if that is what you believe. I have always believed that as well. But at some point the Cubs will move out of Wrigley Field. It can't last forever. The most storied franchise in baseball moved next door and you can argue history instead of character all you want, but Yankee Stadium had quite a bit of history and had character as well.

    You can replicate character, hopefully without duplicating our history.

  • In reply to The Cubs Way:

    Yeah, I guess I just felt when I visited Yankee Stadium that I was really disappointed in the venue. Wrigley and Fenway just have something special about them. I feel like as Americans living in a relatively new country, we tend to value new things greater. I feel like it's important to preserve the tradition and character that is Wrigley Field as long as we can and as long as it doesn't get in the way of the ultimate goal of winning the World Series.

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    In reply to Ibleedcubbieblue:

    I think it's also telling that the Red Sox had the opportunity to do what the Yankees did and in the end decided against it. Historic venues have value in baseball in a way that doesn't hold true for other sports.

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    In reply to Kevin Heckman:

    I mentioned it up above Kevin in relation to an Epstein interview, but most Red Sox executives, current and former, would build a new park if they had to do it over again. The remodel has not been what they had hoped for, and for what they spent, they could've almost had a new park.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Remodeling is never what you hope for. It's always better to build new.

  • First of all, I think you are *way* underestimating the number of suburban fans who would attend games more readily if we could avoid the hassles--including parking, of course--of driving into the city.

    Second, I cannot believe the word 'O'Hare' never appeared in your article. Tourists make up a lot of ticket buyers to Wrigley. I imagine it won't hurt those sales for the stadium to be five minutes from the airport. A luxury park should more than make up for the number of tourists who attend because of Wrigley being a historical icon.

    As well, the park would presumably be but a very short shuttle ride from the Rosemont Blue Line El station. Again, people arriving at O'Hare would be one El station away from the park. It would also be a great transportation option for tons of local fans.

    I'm not saying I'm in favor of this, although it has a lot of attractions. Basically Ricketts should flog this to death to get everything he wants from the city of Chicago, etc. It shouldn't be a 'ploy.' This should be a very, very serious option. Take the scoreboard and the ivy and outfield wall with you, and 90% of fan concerns with a new park evaporates immediately.

  • In reply to Ken Begg:

    Very valid comment.

    And to "TheCubsWay"...I was thinking the same thing regarding the look on the faces of folks. That could be turned into a "priceless" commercial and I would watch it a few hundred times.

    I love Wrigley, but I love the Cubs moving forward and allowing Ricketts (who is trying to do so much as an owner, and a FAN) to do his thing in order to bring us all a championship.

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    In reply to Ken Begg:

    I hear what you're saying Ken, and I have two thoughts.

    First, I don't think there's a lot of attendance upside for the Cubs. They were 5th in the NL last year when they lost 101 games. How much more upside is there really out there to capture?

    Secondly, Chicago has a big tourist industry for sure, but most of it is regional and most of those people drive downtown and park while they're here. I say this as a former theatre professional, and it was my job to know where these people were and what they did. I don't know that proximity to O'Hare helps that much.

    Obviously this is all guesswork on my or anybody's part. No prediction of the future is 100% accurate. But when your business is performing well, you need a pretty compelling reason to make a major change, and I don't see a compelling argument that this will improve the Ricketts' bottom line.

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    In reply to Kevin Heckman:

    Actually, that's not entirely true either Kevin. Attendance during the summer months, when the kids are not in school, is pretty diverse. Studies have shown that roughly 50% of attendees at Wrigley in June, July and August are from outside the region, and many of those are from out of state.

  • In reply to Kevin Heckman:

    Obviously this is all speculation, but the attendance upside would be in more seats. If a theoretical new park seats, conservatively, 5,000 more people, that's five thousand more tickets a game. At the very least, there are a goodly number of marquee games each year that would sell those seats out. And assuming the Cubs indeed are building towards a perennially contending team, attendance should be quite robust for a goodly while.

    Toss in the tax advantages, etc., I would have to suspect there's an entirely reasonable change this would make financial sense. Surely the Ricketts family has done their research on this, and knows a lot more as to how true this might be.

  • In reply to Ken Begg:

    The Rosemont location that is proposed is at Balmoral Ave. There is a North-South Metra rail stop at that location that links up to the Milwaukee District line that runs between Elgin and Union Station. Further there are North and South bound exits and entrance ramps on the I-294 at Balmoral along with a stop light turn off of Mannheim Road. This location will only get friendlier with the building of the Elgin-O'Hare western bypass. And, yes it is a short shuttle ride from the Blue line.

  • I guess my major disappointment in this situation is with the alderman and the city. With all the other important issues facing that ward and the city over all the elected leaders choose to play typical Chicago politics over being reasonable and fair.

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    In reply to Rbirby:

    When the moochers consistently elect looters, what do you expect?

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Will you please stop with this moochers/looters thing already. We all know your political bent and it's not revelent to this discussion.

  • In reply to Dafoxx:

    I agree. Please no politics on this site.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Actually, it is relevant. We wouldn't be having this discussion if not for the political restrictions put in place on the team because of the ball park. Those restrictions are there to make sure the team can't do anything without greasing some looting politicians' palms, which is complete and total BS. Is the ballpark private property or is it not? If it is private property and the Cubs aren't asking for public funds, then it's nobody's business what the Cubs do, but if restrictions are being put upon the Cubs, then it really isn't their property is it, which is why the Cubs originally asked for the City and State to chip in?

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Moochers and looters is partisan language. General politics are unavoidable, but we can steer clear of partisan politics.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    John, I said nothing of D's and R's, both of which I despise, and any politician expecting a bribe is a looter, which both the alderman and mayor are. I hope Ricketts doesn't cave and pay them. If the city and the neighborhood wish to run the Cubs business, then perhaps they should buy the team and the property. Otherwise, they should shut up and get out of the way.

    Those restaurants and bars of Wrigleyville don't exist without the Cubs, and those owners should be mindful of that. That's the bottom line. The city and the neighborhood need the Cubs far worse than the Cubs need them. The Cubs only need them if they wish to continue to be the "Lovable Losers." If the Cubs put a winning product on the field, they can be profitable almost anywhere.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I know where the phrase comes from, Mike. Doesn't have to be one of the two main parties to be partisan. It's a phrase borne of a specific political ideology and this is a baseball website.

  • Although winning a championship is the most important goal; ask yourself, would that championship feel the same if it was accomplished in Rosemont (or *gasp* N. Indiana)?

  • In reply to svelocity:


  • In reply to The Cubs Way:

    agree... I just want Championships... if you can possibly generate 100 million more dollars in revenue a year then move if the City and the locals keep holding you back.... better to cut ties now then spend and spend and finally hit a dead end.

  • In reply to svelocity:

    yes, I just want a championship, and then more championships.

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    In reply to svelocity:

    HELL YES IT WOULD!!! I'm a Cubs fan first and foremost. I have no sentimental attachment the ballpark or city.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Well I for one would rather have the Chicago Cubs win one in Chicago and at Wrigley than the Chicagoland Cubs win one in Northern Indiana.

    I grew up in Wrigleyville and I've been a long time fan and I went to many many ball games at Wrigley. However, if the Cubs moved from Chicago I doubt I'd be a Cubs fan. Same could be said of the Bulls, Blackhawks, or Bears (I actually would become a White Sox fan if they left Chicago!). The only reason I support/love my hometown teams is...they are from my hometown Chicago!

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    In reply to svelocity:

    I believe you are in the minority, and the move we're talking about isn't across the country like the Dodgers and Giants. I grew up as far away from Chicago as you can possibly be and still be in the state of Illinois. It's a mix of Cubs, Cardinals and Reds in terms of baseball fans, sometimes even within the same households. My dad and I like the Cubs. Mom likes the Cardinals, and my older brother was a Reds fan, and you could get all three teams radio broadcasts. !984 was when cable came to my little town on the Ohio river. It wasn't hard to be a Bears fan either. The football Cardinals sucked and were never on tv, and if you didn't get KMOX, you couldn't listen to the games either. So everyone was a Bears fan until the Rams and Titans moved in and became good enough for people to pay attention to. You and I have a different experience.

  • As a suburbanite with two kids, please don't move. Is it stressful bringing the kids to a game? Yes. But beyond worth it. The barren land in the city where Wrigley once was. Pains me to think about it. I don't care about revenue streams because I don't need to. What I know is this: there is a good chance a small part of me dies with the move. And this isn't short term. I'll have to deal with the fact that my kids will never fully appreciate Wrigley's iconic beauty. If they move, I will still go to games, but matter how many gadgets, replicas, retractable roofs and so on are added, you can't replace Wrigley. Nostalgia is irreplaceable.

  • This is the first I am hearing of this. So if any of my comments are naïve, please look past that. As a fan of the Cubs since the late 60’s, I am all in on them moving. I make 2-4 games a year. I reside out in Kane Co. The thought of shaving off most likely two hours (to and from) of time attending a game thrills me. That two hours might be conservative. I care for one thing only, that is the Cubs winning a W.S. first, and putting a good team on the field each year second. So put me down as one of those fans who would attend more games each year. Added night games a big plus for me as well. One final thought. Would the Cubs be able to keep the name Chicago Cubs? Or would the city stop them from using Chicago?

  • Yep.

  • Moving out of Wrigley Field would absolutely hurt the Cubs' brand, moving to a suburb even more so. I think we need to hope Tunney gets caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Maybe some kind of kickback scandal.

  • Er, 'Yep' as in "would the championship feel the same."

    I also feel there might be a better chance of a championship outside of Chicago, so it's not a binary choice, either.

  • Big news on the future of the 'international draft' being aggregated on mlbtraderumors. Looks like it's happening, and it's happening as soon as THIS YEAR.

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    This whole discussion is utter nonsense - Ricketts just paid $20 million for the McDonalds lot across the street. They just bought a whare house on clark and rehabbed their offices across from Yakzies. Wrigley has landmark status so it cant be torn down and that land was a large chunk of their purchase.

    Theyre playing hardball and winning the PR game. I dont like it but I get it. At the end of the day hes trying to put the rooftop guys out of business so he can buy them for .20 cents on the dollar.

  • In reply to deport soriano com:

    Office space is needed everywhere and it can be sub leased to any business. He may have paid $20 million for the McDonalds' store and lot, but that could be a smart move on his part and can be used for almost anything. Just because Wrigley is landmarked doesn't mean that you can't do something with it. It could have the upper deck superstructure removed and an highrise apartment put in where the playing field is at and stores in the lower section where the concessions reside.

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    In reply to JeffK:

    I think one of the big arguments against the Ricketts ever moving is that they can't do much with Wrigley Field besides have events there. Landmark status is pretty restrictive in most states. I don't know Illinois' laws specifically, but I'm sure they couldn't build over it without jumping through a lot of hoops. So it's not a binary choice either. Even if they decided to move the team, Ricketts would still have Wrigley and by moving the Cubs it's suddenly a much less valuable piece of property. The new venue would have to offer even more upside to make up for that, or some arrangement would have to be made prior to the move. And if you think Chicago's politicians are intransigent now, wait until Ricketts tries to negotiate some kind of alternative usage of Wrigley so they can leave the city limits.

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    In reply to Kevin Heckman:

    It's a small argument Kevin. The city and the neighborhood already act as if Wrigley is their property. So if I'm Ricketts, I could give a crap less what happens to Wrigley once I move out, even if my name is still on the deed. I don't sink another dime into that place, not even to pay the taxes. Let the city have have it and be forced to take care of it. It would serve them well.

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    In reply to Kevin Heckman:

    Well, that kind of is the whole point now isn't it Kevin. It's the Cubs' property, but the city wants to act as if it is public property. The same laws which are being used to harass the Cubs in the legitimate use of their property will apply whether the Cubs are there or not. So if I am Ricketts, Wrigley just becomes a black hole to me once the Cubs make the decision to move out. While the Cubs are still there, I only do what I have to do to keep it going until the new park is built, but once the Cubs move out, I abandon Wrigley Field. I don't keep the place up, and I don't pay the taxes. Let the city be forced to take it over and deal with it. The Cubs aren't being allowed to do with their property as they wish now. So why does it matter after they leave?

  • Suburban sports venues suck. Always have, always will. That's why nobody builds them anymore.

    If Ricketts wanted the threat of a move to be credible, he shouldn't have bought up all the property around Wrigley.

    He's now committed himself to Wrigley and everyone knows it. That's why Tunney can play hardball.

  • I voted for Wrigley, but the more I read about this, the more I think otherwise. I am sick and tired of politicians bullying private enterprise. This very type of thing is why business after business is fleeing California, for instance. They cannot withstand the regulations, the taxes, the fees (which are just taxes), and constantly having the government looking over their shoulders, dictating how they can or cannot operate. It's time to stand up and say, "enough is enough, and if you're going to do all this, we're leaving". It's going to take a brick to the head to wake these politicians up, and I'm all for it.

  • In reply to cubs1969:

    Losing Wrigley is a metaphor for what is happeening nationally as we lose American to big government.

  • In reply to cubs1969:

    Agreed, big time, I own a gun shop biz in Arizona, back about 3-4 years ago some ATF fed agents tried threatening local gun shops here into co-operating in some scam that ended up with guns ending up in the hands of Mexican drug cartels. Im glad I refused to co-operate, since I don't trust politicians or those involved with them.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    I'm surprised they didn't find a way to close you down. That whole thing was a ploy.

  • In reply to cubs1969:

    It wasn't from a lack of effort, but we have a LOT of NRA and GOA types here. They don't want fights with 2 plus million NRA members.

  • I don't see the Cubs going to Rosemont at all, but the Cubs "might" use this as a example of what could happen if the City and the alderman continue to give the Cubs a hard time. If this persists the Cubs might and should go to the city and start looking for sites for a new ballpark, looking in the city first.

  • You hit the nail on the head here Kevin, great post. It's not an expense issue, it is a revenue issue. And the lost revenues from leaving Wrigley would far outweigh the cost savings.

    It's lost revenue from the Cubs side, but also lost revenue from the city side. Renovating Wrigley would mean thousands of construction jobs and 100's of permanent hotel jobs while also safeguarding the future of the #3 tourist draw in the state. Tunney/Emanuel are idiots if they really want to let that kind of economic opportunity walk away over a couple of billboards and some more night games. Let the business owners run their business the best way they see fit.

  • One thing I'm trying to figure out is how moving to Rosemont would ease traffic. I'll admit I don't drive on a daily basis, but I do make a lot of trips to ORD for business travel and It's always a pain in the ass during both commutes, which is when people would arrive for a night game. It seems that unless you live in a section of the pie that's NNW of the proposed site then you're going to be enjoying just as much traffic as you currently do.

    I also am not sure I'd enjoy replacing the relative ambiance of Wrigley (save for a few sirens and the train) for a steady stream of airplanes landing on one side and semi trucks "engine braking" on the other side on I-294.

  • I grew up in NW Indiana...bad idea. You have to stick to the North and Western parts of the burbs. You don't want it easier to get to the Sox.

  • I still would love to see the Ricketts do a land swap - Wrigley Field for Portage Park or another city park.

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    I would be curious to see some evidence that new facilities improve competitiveness. Kaplan was tossing it around on the radio, and a few posters have suggested it. I haven't heard of the Cubs losing out on any free agents because their facilities are substandard. Obviously improving them is a priority, because you don't want to give up any competitive edge in bringing in talent, but I'm not convinced that's keeping the Cubs from being better.

    There might be a better argument for the day games, but even that doesn't seem to be definitive. I've heard some players talk about it as a benefit, and I haven't seen anything to suggest it ties to performance. I'm sure Theo has (or has had) his statheads crunching the numbers on it.

  • In reply to Kevin Heckman:

    Agreed. There are too many excuses about why they can't win at Wrigley. I'm hoping the new regime puts more stock in accountability than fables about how day baseball is a curse. The Ricketts have a plan of how to improve the facilities to a point that it can be a lucrative landing spot for free agents and players will have all the amenities they need to be it's up to the City of Chicago to get out of the way.

  • The author makes a good argument, but did not consider all the new money coming with a fat TV contract. Further, if the Cubs move and are able to reduce ticket prices, by let's say 25% (subtracting the city of Chicago's entertainment tax, property tax, etc and negotiating with the new community for zero tax for X years), while increasing the ease of parking, how many more of us will attend games? How many more of us would buy season tickets?

  • In reply to RayA:

    "How many more of us would buy season tickets?"

    Isn't the waiting list still over 100k? Still plenty of demand.

    Also, the Cubs aren't in the business of reducing ticket prices below market value just because of potential tax savings. If they feel they can still get $50 / ticket then that's what they'll charge.

  • This whole thing is a weak publicity stunt by Rosemont.

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    In reply to Tom Loxas:

    I completely agree. But they mayor got himself a lot of air time for nothing more than an empty promise. Not a bad deal for him.

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    In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Agreed Tom, but the real question is should the Cubs be thinking about leaving a corrupt alderman and mayor holding the bag? And I say "YES!" The Cubs should play this for all it's worth, and if the corrupt politicians want to keep playing their silly little games, then by all means move the team out of Chicago. All those whose livelihoods depend upon the Cubs being in Wrigley can then thank the corrupt politicians that caused them to leave.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Chicago aldermen=shakedown artists

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Go look at the former mayor of Detroit-has an awful lot in common with numerous Chicago pols.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Publicity stunt. No.

    Rosemont and Chicago don't like one another. And Rosemont likes to stir the hornet's nest whenever they can. This situation with negotiations gives Rosemont an opening to poke the bear that is the city of Chicago.

  • In reply to JeffK:

    imagine if they could build get a building big enough to host a Super Bowl...and All Star games. I'd offer up some kind of discount for the bars and restaurants of Wrigglyville to come over to new area

  • Rosemont to me is not an option. When I lived in the city, and later in the NW suburbs, getting to Wrigley was not a problem. Getting to Rosemont is a traffic mess, and're in bland, vanilla-land Rosemont. If you want to make an argument for suburban relocation, Arlington Park is a better wedge. But the Cubs should stay in a renovated Wrigley.
    Off topic because I want baseball-player news ! What was the result of Baker's MRI? Can't find it anywhere. Thanks.

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    In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Didn't Schaumburg also offer the Cubs land to build a new ballpark about the same time NW Indiana did?

  • That may well be the case Tom, but this story doesn't hurt the Cubs' bargaining power & eventually may gain traction with the Ricketts family if the neighorhood interests continue to conflict with the Wrigley renovation.

  • Nice writing, but I disagree with some statements. The value of the Cubs is in the franchise and the incredible world wide fan base. The stadium is a liability. Let's face it, it is a run down dump, that needs 300 million just to bring it up to standards. Great history, but very family unfriendly, a pain in the butt to get to, and no place to park.
    Any business person I have spoken to has said that the Cubs could dramatically increase revenue with a new stadium. With Wrigley, you know your revenue stream will always be limited and under the whims of a very anti Cub government entity.
    The Cubs could play in Davenport Iowa and draw 2 million fans. I have been told that the number of fans attending games that live in the city proper are around 30-35% in past surveys the Cubs have taken.
    Very interesting the Cubs comments this morning and the mayors office. The mayor laughed it off and said it is not something to be taken serious.
    Cubs spokesman said the answer, "right now" is no, but they can not predict the future. Also said that Ricketts has no plans to meet with the mayor of Rosemont, "before opening day". Interesting.

  • In case you missed it, Tom has a take as well...

  • I wouldn't be shocked if Ricketts is looking right now for a good location to move to. And as with most of the trades they make they are not in the news until it happens. I don't think Rosemont has a big enough piece of land. They should get a huge parcel of land like Disney did in Florida when they built DisneyWorld. Once Ricketts has the land he can build restaurants, stores, hotels, bars whatever they want. It is their business and they should be able to run it as they see fit. Chicago politicians are always just taxing the baajeebers out of anyone they can get away with. I say moving would help their revenue stream which would help the team's perfomance. And if their performance improves the number of fans will explode. This would increase the chances of championships.

    Chicago and the neighborhood would be the big losers.

  • In reply to John57:

    They pretty much did this in Mesa.

  • In reply to Ratmoss:

    You are right. They did it in Mesa with Mesa picking up part of the cost. I think a spot nearish to Kane County cougars is possible. Land is relatively cheap, there are RR tracks through the area and good roads plus it doesn't take much time to drive there from northwest and west suburbs. Who knows??

  • In reply to John57:

    Im not normally much of a fan of Rick Reilly, but he did get one thing correct in his article on Wrigley and why the Cubs don't win there. $70 million/yr in potential lost revenue. One of the reasons the Cubs have stunk for so many years has been cheap ownership, that never had a large enough front office or enough scouts to find the right talent to put on the field.

  • It's always a great discussion, but as a season ticket owner I view it as much more risky than others might. I'd go to one or two games/year in Rosemont. I'd be much more like a Sox fan and watch at the bar or at home. How many sports franchises can have the worst team in their sport and be in the top 10 in attendance??? I thnk for the suburban fans who go to a game or two/year it probably makes sense, but I'd bet that 70% of their current ticket base would be not interested in the move.
    Now, moving to a new stadium in the city is a completely different proposition.

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    In reply to Cuyler:

    Yeah I always thought a stadium of some type - for one of the chicago teams would get built around the old Cabrini Green.

    Depaul was looking at the old Finkl & Sons steel plant on Kingsbury
    that would be great for them

  • In reply to deport soriano com:

    Really? That location isn't good for anyone. The environmental cleanup a steel mill has is astronomical and would take years to clean up before the EPA would allow anything new on the site.

  • I just want them to win multiple championships!

    If they do that, Ricketts, Theo/Jed, and Dale will be Gods among us mere mortals regardless of where the stadium is located.....

    I can here it now, Ditka vs Ricketts?... Ricketts in OT!

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Think about what Ditkas legacy is in Chicago, for winning just one Super Bowl. Wirtz Jr, with the Hawks Stanley Cup title in 2010, has basically erased what his dad did to ruin that franchise(in 2000, the Hawks were rated the worse-run sports franchise in all of the 4 major pro sports) in one year.

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    I really can't see what the fuss is from the city over this deal. The Cubs are offering to pay for the full renovations, not demand taxpayers pay. I never thought I'd see the day when a Chicago team owner offered to pay their own way. The city and neighborhood should jump at the deal Ricketts has proposed.

    The neighborhood should also realize that if the Cubs ever left Wrigley that property values would plummet and many of the businesses dependent on the Cubs (bars, restaurants, parking lots, souvenir shops, etc.) would likely go out of business).

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    the other part that goes with this discussion to some degree that hasnt been mentioned is PSL's

    they did it at Soldier Field and Ill bet anything its coming at Wrigley
    So Rickets for now is saying - they will pay for the rehab - but Ill bet that
    at the end of the day PSL's wind up paying for the rehab

    should be a lot of turnover in that wait list then - when you need to pony up $25K just for the right to buy your seats

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    In reply to deport soriano com:

    Good point, but it didn't seem to hurt the Bears, shockingly.
    But the average joe who owns season tix likely can't come up with thousands to buy PSL's. PSL's should be outlawed.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    My dad has had Bears season tickets since I was in diapers. I've been to many games with him over the years and the PSL/Stubhub crowd has really gotten bad there the past 2 or 3 seasons. (Our section is non-PSL and still fun). The simple concept of being loud on defense and quiet on offense is lost on someone who's had 6 mimosas at a tailgate.

    If you think Cubs fans get a bad rap now for not paying attention to the game, drunken antics, etc. it will get 10 times worse when PSLs mean only the corporate types and their trophy wives come to games.

    I agree, PSLs should be outlawed.

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    Hopefully the Cubs buyout Ian Stewart rather than carry him on the DL this year.

  • It costs the cubs $10 per year just for maintenance for Wrigley.

    Busch Stadium costs the cardinals $421million in 2013 dollars.
    I was financed this way:

    While the Cardinals covered nearly 90 percent of the costs of the entire project with private funds, the City provided relief from a local admissions tax on tickets, while the state helped with public infrastructure costs to clear and prepare the site for development.

    With six years of actual results now in, it is clear that the tax revenue produced by the new ballpark to the City and State have exceeded expectations. The Cardinals and their affiliates have paid over $175 million in sales, income, real estate and other taxes to the City and State from 2006 to 2011.

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    In reply to ucandoit:

    the new cardinals stadium is horrible though
    took me 1/2 to get to my seat
    it like the Woodfield mall

  • The comments here largely assume the losses that the Cubs would have by making a move. It may be a negotiating ploy but a situation like this requires you to look at both sides of the equation. The Cubs side has been covered. What about the city and the neighborhood? A Cubs move would be a disasterous loss of a tax entity for the city and the rooftop owners would see the value of their properties plunge. Ricketts is a good businessman, he is very aware of this. In a negotiation, it is who blinks first and in this case, who has more to lose. If Ricketts leaves, the rooftop businesses are gone and that is a fact so they don't exactly have the staying power because their business feeds off the host. The values for that property also plunge which affects the whole neighborhood and the city. Not to mention the businesses that are all around there. If you say the move could cost the Cubs $50 million, that's 50 million they could make back eventually. I would venture the cost to the City and businesses around the ball park being a lot more than that, So we go back to the negotiation again. If the City wants to call the Cubs' bluff, that is their perogative but they would be doing so at their own peril. They have a lot more to lose than the Cubs would. The logical thing to do here would be for the City to get out of the Cubs way and let them run their business. They would garner more revenue for all if they just stopped trying to regulate something they know nothing about - a business.

  • In reply to joparks:

    Good post.

  • Rather than dink and dunk, they need to do a full rebuild of the grand stand and upper deck that will take 2 years to construct. How much $ in rent would the Village of Bridgeview like if the Cubs were to play at Toyota Park there for 2 seasons? Would that temporary move constitute a move that the White Sox could block (as the Giants are trying to block the A's from moving to San Jose)?

  • You really know who Tunney is working for now.

    NBC5 is reporting tonight that Tunney is suggesting the Cubs tear down the manual scoreboard and replace it with a Jumbo Tron so that it doesn't block the rooftop views of the park.

    One big problem. The scoreboard is one of the landmarked items Wrigley.

  • In reply to JeffK:

    Tunney is a dumb Pol. Brains and Pols are often mutually exclusive.

  • You really know where Tunney's loyalties lie and who he is working for.

    NBC5 just reported that Tunney wants the Cubs to tear down the manual scoreboard and replace it with a Jumbo Tron so that the Cubs don't block the views from the rooftops.

    One big problem. The scoreboard is one of the elements that is landmarked.

  • In reply to JeffK:

    My apologies for the duplicate post. I had gotten an error message when I posted the original.

  • Indeed. I personally have little doubt that the former crook Governor Blago held the sale of the Cubs hostage for well over a year.

  • Lets begin naming whole other cities - I nominate Austin/Round Rock/San Antonio, Texas - large growing market in a state now without a National League team.

  • Come to Southern/Central IL... I'm sure any number of places will be more then happy to sell you hundreds of acres of land for pennies on the hundred dollar bills

  • In reply to Cueil:

    They'd lose much more in terms of revenue than they would gain in savings.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Take Chicago from the Cubs and they will be Illinois Cubs and their biggest rival will be the Iowa Cubs.

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