Rooftop owners near Wrigley Field on Friday unveiled an advertising plan they say is a win-win for them and the Chicago Cubs.
The Wrigleyville Rooftop Association suggested erecting digital screens on their rooftops around Wrigley Field instead of outfield billboards that would block their view. In exchange for the switch, business owners offered to forgo the revenue from that advertisting to help the Cubs complete their five-year, $300 million renovation and keep neighboring rooftop businesses alive.
"We believe this common sense plan is a win-win for the community, rooftops, City Hall and the Cubs," said Beth Murphy of the Wrigleyville Rooftops Association. "My late husband and I fought hard for the landmark compromise years ago and the community leaders I've spoken with universally believe our plan makes more sense since it puts the Wrigleyville community first, not just one business."
The group estimates the advertising sold on the screens would generate $10-20 million based on similar advertising at other parks and also would ensure the views of rooftop decks remain unobstructed.
"It will be a sad day if the thousands of baseball fans who come to Wrigleyville to see a game from a rooftop have their view blocked," said George Loukas, owner of the Cubby Bear. "We're part of a larger community and have invested over $50 million to upgrade our operations following our 2004 settlement contract."
The owners worry that billboard advertising proposed by the Cubs as part of the renovation will clutter the stadium and block the rooftops, effectively shutting them down.
"A proposal from the Cubs violates our contract that was negotiated in good faith before a Federal Magistrate Judge," Loukas said. "We have a solution where everybody wins, while the approach offered by the Cubs will close neighborhood businesses and put our more than 250 employees out of work."
A spokesman for the Cubs said the team has seen the proposal but said the digital signs are reduced in value and that signs in the field would produce more revenue. He said they are open to more talks with the rooftop association.