Tom Ricketts, owner of the Chicago Cubs, today purchased three more Sheffield Rooftop businesses bringing his total to six that line that street; he also has a financial interest in a seventh. He now fully owns all but three Wrigleyville Rooftop businesses along Sheffield. The day to day operations of all six of his rooftops will be run by George Loukas who owns the popular bar across the street from Wrigley Field known as the Cubby Bear.
Slowly but surely the Cubs and Ricketts are purchasing up the rooftops to expand their reach. I have no doubt that their ultimate plan is to purchase all of the rooftop businesses to completely corner the market on their own business. That may or may not be easy as there are three rooftop owners who are currently suing the Cubs for obstructing their view with the new video boards.
Whenever I hear that the Cubs are trying to obstruct the view I have to laugh. You can read about our long history talking about the rooftops here. Blocking the view of the rooftops in order to put them out of business is probably no more than the fourth or fifth best reason for constructing the video boards; after all, why would you want to block the view of something you eventually wanted to own yourself? Owning something that is useless with no views is not a good business decision.
Obviously, the first reason is money. The ad revenue and sponsorship of the boards will generate millions of dollars every year. That added money every year will help to finance the renovations of Wrigley as well as helping to pay for start players like Jon Lester and emerging stars who will need a new contract in the future.
Another reason, is to bring the park into the 21st century. The old school look of ball parks is great, but the jewel called Wrigley needed a facelift and to be modernized. Video boards were the way to go, and I have yet to talk to anyone who has seen them in peson who does not like them.
A third reason that has not been mentioned much if at all, is to monopolize the advertising seen on Cubs game broadcasts. The location of the video boards was well orchestrated, not to block the view of the rooftops, but the advertising seen in the background of all Cubs games on television.
The large video board in left field blocks the old “Budweiser” building which also had advertisements for Horseshoe Casino is recent years. Now with the video board blocking the world from seeing their ads, the building now remains blank with a boring grey rooftop.
The one in right field, while appearing to completely block one of the rooftops also happens to be built directly in front of another long time advertiser, Miller Lite. They used to have the billboard which changed for every series, often poking fun at whichever team was visiting Wrigley at that particular moment. My favorite was “We prefer pennant races to sausage races”. But alas, the Budweiser video board now makes that a thing of the past.
Blocking the rooftops view is just an added bonus.
With the renovations of Wrigley, the upcoming hotel and what I can only imagine is the future purchase of even more rooftop businesses, Ricketts is slowly but surely taking over “Wrigleyville”.