The Chicago Cubs have cleared an important hurdle to installing a new video screen, as the Commission on Chicago Landmarks unanimously approved the team's proposal to install a JumboTron in left field and a smaller, see-through screen in right, reports Hal Dardick of the Chicago Tribune.
Wrigley Field is considered a city landmark, so the team needed the approval of the commission to move forward. The 5,700 square foot video screen will be placed near the rear wall in left field. The video screen will replace the vertical Toyota script sign, but a new, 80 percent lager script advertising sign will be placed in right.
Cubs vice president Mike Lufrano testified before the landmarks commission, stating that the screen is a key part of the plan to restore Wrigley Field:
"As you look around sports, every team in baseball has signage in their outfield... No team in modern sports is subject to a limit like this one on where signage can be placed. The revenue from such signage helps these teams as they invest in their facilities and in their players."
The commission made a few changes to the original plan to appease 44th Ward Alderman Thomas Tunney, but Tunney is still against the proposal, as he told the commission:
"Although I understand and appreciate the Cubs' need to monetize the proposed improvements and that the plan comes with an enormous price tag, I can't support a proposal that so dramatically affects the quality of life of the residents."
The owners of the rooftop bleachers are also unhappy, as Beth Murphy of the Wrigley Rooftop Association released a statement stating:
"Today's decision is a blow to anyone who cares deeply for the historic and special nature of Wrigley Field. We, like many residents of the Lakeview community, feel blindsided by the total disregard of the commissioners who ignored years of careful work that went into crafting the 2004 Landmark Ordinance and the corresponding contractual agreement between the Chicago Cubs and the rooftops."
The Plan Commission and City Council will now consider the team's full $500 million plan to renovate Wrigley Field and surrounding land in the Wrigleyville neighborhood.