Tom Ricketts on the Wrigley Renovations

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Cubs owner and chairman Tom Ricketts hung out with the radio folks this morning and gave a quickie sum-up of the negotiations regarding the Wrigley Field makeover.  We hypothesize that an official press conference (possibly through Comcast Sports Net) is imminent before or after the home opener, but for now we pretty much know most of the details that are being addressed.  You can listen to Ricketts’ radio interview in the link above.

Tom Ricketts said talks are “productive,” and he’s confident an agreement will be reached.

“We’ve been working through the weekend. We’re really committed to the city, and committed to working with the mayor’s office and the alderman to keep moving our project forward, and look forward to getting it done,” Ricketts said Monday morning.

The point-by-point for the Wrigley renovations include:

  • $300MM pumped into Wrigley itself, $200MM for a hotel across the street, all funded by the Ricketts family;
  • Additional night games and concerts;
  • At the behest of alderman Tom Tunney, additional parking and security for game days/nights;
  • A Jumbotron, the size of which has yet to be determined

As of now the Cubs just need to hammer out the details and finalize the deal before they have to contend with the rooftops, whose view will most likely be partially obscured by new outfield signage.  Tom Ricketts doesn’t think it’s that big of a deal, though, and I guess the guy with all the $$$ and lawyers and the support of the city now that he’s footing the bill doesn’t really care what the rooftops think at this point.

We’ll keep you updated as to when a presser is announced and whatever other details pop out.

Quickie Update 1:

Dave Kaplan has a piece up that says a deal isn’t done yet, but we can surmise that a finished deal is on the cusp as Ricketts is committed to the stadium.  Ricketts also said that the Cubs are on solid financial footing despite the terms of the purchase of the franchise:

A recent Chicago Sun-Times article painted the Cubs as a team handcuffed by high debt due to the structure of the deal when the Ricketts family purchased the franchise in October of 2009. Ricketts, however, hotly disputed that assertion today.
“That is not true. We bought the team under terms that were not of our doing. Whoever was going to buy the team was going to have to buy the team under those terms,” he explained. “Yes, we have debt that we are paying down. Is it a problem for us running our business? Absolutely not. We are committed to paying for an extensive renovation project and we are also committed to seeing the rebuilding of the franchise on the baseball side so that it ends up in a World Championship.
“As for the financial side of things, I want to stress that we did not suggest the financing that put this deal together. I cannot reveal some of those details because it contains confidential information, but it was what we had to accept to be able to purchase the franchise,” he added.
Update 2: Deal is gonna be announced today!  Grain of salt applies, of course.
Update 3: Just kidding about the announcing the deal today, but everyone continues to be happy about things.  Since tomorrow’s game is a night game there’s plenty of time for them to throw a press conference together in the morning or afternoon before the game.  Patrick Mooney’s article (titled inappropriately in my opinion) suggests that the Ricketts family plans to have a steady revenue stream coming in after the renovation and new TV deals are set up, but can’t pinpoint the exact date when the money would translate to more free agents and more #winning.  A lot of the article is just repeats and speculations interrupted with a few sound bytes from Tom Ricketts today before the home opener, but every indication is that the deal is on track and the only thing left to do is to announce the damned thing.  As always, we’ll keep ya posted.

About Rice Cube

Rice Cube is the executive vice president of snark at World Series Dreaming. He loves all things Cubs, with notable exceptions (specifically, the part of Cubs fandom that pisses him off). Follow on Twitter at cubicsnarkonia

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