Movin’ on Up?

Wrigley Field is one of the most notable sports venues in the nation. It has been located in the heart of the Wrigleyville neighborhood of Chicago since the beginning of the 20th century. Being one of the spearheads of the economy of the neighborhood, it brings in customers for local businesses.

Recently, Wrigley Field has been undergoing construction the the outfield bleachers, with the addition of the Budweiser section in centerfield. One of the major plans the new Cubs owner, Tom Ricketts, has been to put a video board in left-center field since it is one of the few arenas that has yet to succumb to the trend. Ricketts has been pushing this addition for months though many fans as well as sponsors are completely against it. Becoming desperate, Ricketts threatened to move the stadium to a different location so that he may install the board. Many thought he was bluffing as the the field and neighborhood are the reason for the Cubs success as they are not the best team in the league.

As the owner of one of the most profitable teams in baseball but has a losing record, is it really a wise choice to threaten to move the one thing that keeps the fans coming? Is it worth it to anger sponsors as advertisements would be blocked and removed? Is it worth it to completely block an entire section that has been generating revenue for years and has become part of the Wrigley Field experience? No. The fans are the driving force of this organization. It is shocking that a team fighting a 68-year curse is the most profitable team with the most loyal fanbase. A video board would be possible but would not go over well with sponsors. Threatening the fans, though,will not help Tom Rickett’s case in putting a video board in left field. Any sport’s fan can tell you that they do not respond well to threats.

Moving Wrigley Field would also affect the local businesses as they generate a large amount of their revenue during the summer months of baseball season. Owners of the team as well as their investors would be faced with a difficult decision of where to move the stadium as well as the problem of redesigning and building it as well, unnecessarily decreasing their bank accounts of millions. The value of the field itself is worth much more than a video board as many fans would be less willing to travel elsewhere for games. With the ivy covered outfield and classic brick in the low backstop, Ricketts would be unwise to move the field against the wishes of the team’s loyal fans.



11 thoughts on “Movin’ on Up?

  1. Great article! As a Cubs fan for a decade now, it would devastate me to see the Cubs leave the ever so popular Wrigleyville area. Having said that, there is a better chance of the Cubs winning a World Series this year than the team actually moving out to another city to play. The reason Tom Rickett came out with that statement is to show some authoritative action. He stomped his foot and said he is in charge and must get his way on certain issues but in my opinion delivered an empty threat.

    This whole process will play out in Tom Ricketts favor. Everyone just has to understand that making tremendous changes to such a historic field and a multi millionaire dollar team takes time. There will be back lash at every phase whether it is from the sponsors, fans, or management but it will get done. Renovations, electronic signs, and hopefully a WS Championship are all reachable goals under Ricketts leadership. It will be interesting to see how this how thing plays out.

    Go Cubs Go!

  2. Very interesting article. I have heard things about Wrigley Field being renovated, but never the threat about moving. I agree with your thoughts on the move having a negative impact on the sponsors, the local businesses within the area and of course the fans. I’m not a baseball fan, but whenever I walk past Wrigley Field or hear anything about the Cubs, it’s always about the experiences people had at the games. Although Tom Ricketts may believe the field is outdated, it seems like the experiences fans have at this field are a factor in continuing to come out to games. Overall, I agree that the move would not be wise, but it will be interesting to follow up with the decision that Tom Ricketts makes.

  3. This was an interesting article and as a huge Cubs fan, I agree with both of the opinions above me. What Tom Ricketts is trying to do is absurd and unnecessary, and if he believes that this is what is best for the Cubs, than he is definitely wrong. The Wrigley Field and its community is the source of all the revenue and success, and moving it to anywhere else would completely destroy the biggest thing the Cubs have, their fans. As the new owner, Tom wants to be recognized and do what he thinks is going to profit the Cubs in the long run, however he is making very poor operation decisions and excluding things like time, costs, people, and the future performance of the Cubs. These things should be first considered before making any tremendous changes that can further affect Tom, the Cubs, and us, the fans!

  4. It would be unwise for Ricketts to move the cubs anywhere else but Wrigley Field. I do not believe he was very serious about moving the cubs to Rosemont. I believe that he was just bluffing so that the city would finally okay the construction on Wrigley Field. With this new plan the cubs will have a lot more night games which will also bring a lot more revenue to the team and the city. Regarding the new scoreboard, I think that many cubs fans are looking for a more up to date field. There are not many positives to Wrigley Field besides the fact that it is a historic landmark. Fenway Park did similar renovations 5 years ago and fans across the country think that the renovations were done tastefully. Overall I think that these renovations will be a huge boost for the Cubs and the city of Chicago.

  5. This was a great read and you made some interesting points throughout the article. I am not a Cubs fan and therefore I think it is good to have an outside opinion when dealing with these types of changes. Changes aren’t always bad. I think it will take time for the adjustment, but over time it will work out for the better. At the same time, you have loyal fans who have put a great deal of money into an organization that hasn’t won the world series in over 60 years. You have to find a balance with this to make all parties happy. You have certain folks who grew up in wrigley field and they have an attachment to it. Then you see the new generation of people who are big on new technology and new cool looking video boards. I think Tom Ricketts will make the right decision moving forward that will please everyone.

  6. This is a great article. As a cubs fan, I would never want to see them move. Even though Ricketts threatened to move them to Rosemont, which land was offered for free, he would never have gone through with it. There is no direct CTA train or bus that goes there, so many fans would stop going to games. I think the renovation for Wrigley Field is unnecessary only because the team has no accomplished anything in so long. I think they should focus on fixing the team and then the field.

  7. Fantastic article for any Cubs fan out there. However, I do believe the Cubs and the city of Chicago have reached a deal in this past month with a huge renovation project including a hotel, more night games, and an expansion to their sponsor advertising. That being said, I don’t think moving the Cubs was ever in the picture. The area is too convenient and developed for the fan for the stadium to ever move.

  8. I do not think moving the stadium should be an option. From an owners/managers standpoint, you should know that leaving Chicago would destroy their fan base. I understand the owners want to add giant video screens to upgrade the facility, but I do not think that is a good option either. The rooftop bleachers across the street are, in my opinion, the best way to go to a Cub’s game. By moving the cubs away from Wriggly you are going to dramatically reduce the property values of the community and destroy the small business sector that surrounds the stadium. The owner should realize that along with purchasing the Cubs franchise he also purchased a piece of Chicago history, and he should respect the fans, city, and businesses that helped create the legendary franchise.

  9. This was an interesting article. I agree that it would not be a smart move to relocate the stadium. I understand that Tom Ricketts is trying to improve the stadium as best as he can, but you have to learn which battles to pick. In the long run, I don’t think moving the stadium would be beneficial to the Cubs. The organization has some of the most loyal fans, and therefore, it would be in Tom’s best interest to keep them and the sponsors happy.

  10. As a cubs fan, I found this article to be very interesting as well. The options for renovating the stadium is actually a good idea, and I understand from the sponsors point of view that placing a video board will block views for many people outside the stadium that have bought rights to do that. I believe that we have to get rid off the old ways and have to implement changes to the Wrigley field. We cant even see a replay if we are at the game and construction has been pending for some time now as well. What I dont agree with is, Tom Ricketts threatening to move the entire field on its own. The cubs have die hard, loyal fans, that love their team. Wrigley is a place where they all come as one. Its the home of the cubbies, and changing the location all on its own is a bad ROI. Building hotels is fine as long as they take over one of the parking lots. Us cubs fans love to take the CTA to the game. Its what we are proud off, and will be forever.

  11. I look at this 2 ways. The same week the Ricketts family bought the Cubs, they also bought the company that I work at here in Chicago. I worked at a small boutique trading firm and we were picked up at market lows in 2009. Everyone at my company and all of our clients thought we were absolutely doomed. Well, we were wrong. It could not have fared better for our company, or for them.

    However, I am a Cubs fan, and a fan of Wrigleyville. Yes, those restaurants will lose money but they will adapt. The neighborhood may change. Tom Ricketts will make a lot more money in advertisement. Also, maybe the new location has a parking lot similar to Sox Park. The new neighborhood and other businesses may gain additional business because of the move. The market is cyclical and those businesses and property owners have simply made money because of the Cubs. Not because it is a good bar, or has great food. If they did, they wouldn’t have to worry about the attraction leaving.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *