Deadline on Wrigley Renovation Deal Extended: Sources

President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein says deal needed in order to make business, franchise objectives

By Dick Johnson
|  Monday, Apr 1, 2013  |  Updated 9:48 PM CDT
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Tunney Seeks "Balance" in Wrigley Talks

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Wrigley Renovation Talk Deflected in Pre-Opening Day Meeting

Ald. Tom Tunney, whose ward includes Wrigley Field, defelected all talk about the proposed $300 million project to Cubs representatives.

Tunney Seeks "Balance" in Wrigley Talks

Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) says his main priority has been ensuring a high quality of life for those who live near the ballpark. Mary Ann Ahern reports.
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There was "sufficient progress" on Monday in marathon discussions between officials from the Chicago Cubs, the mayor's office and Ald. Tom Tunney's office, and Cubs executives have have agreed to continue discussions beyond their self-imposed April 1 deadline, sources told NBC Chicago.

Those sources say the new deadline for all involved is the Cubs home opener next Monday.

The team earlier this year proposed the five-year plan to renovate the Friendly Confines, even offering to fully fund it all if the city would relax some of its rules on advertising, concerts, and night games.

But rooftop owners, who currently share 17 percent of their profits with the team, expressed concern that any new billboards on the stadium would block their views and devastate their business. The Wrigley Rooftop Association offered a compromise -- digital screens on their buildings instead of the stadium itself -- but team officials weren't fond of that idea.

Because of its location in a residential neighborhood, the Cubs are limited to 30 home night games a season and the team can't play night games on Friday or Saturday. They're also the only major league team that faces advertising limitations.

When the Cubs opened their season Monday with a win in Pittsburgh, Chairman Tom Ricketts opted to cheer at home, in close proximity to City Hall, where high-ranking officials were meeting to break the impasse.

The public underscoring of the importance of a deal was left to President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein.

"If we don't get a Wrigley renovation done in a timely manner, and done the right way, then we can't accomplish our business objectives and that will certainly get in the way of us ultimately accomplishing our baseball objectives,"he said. "It's very important."

Earlier Monday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel expressed confidence that the "fog will lift" in the negotiations but offered little insight into talks between the family that owns the Cubs and city officials.

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