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This was the legacy up through 1981, when the Chicago Tribune bought both the Cubs and Wrigley field for $20.5 million. Mostly the deal acquired a cheap source of lucrative programming for the Trib's broadcast properties. The Trib tinkered - executing that 2005-6 renovation and expansion of the bleachers, adding lights to allow for the first night games. Changes were conservative and incremental.
By then, however, things had changed dramatically. The newspaper publishing business was no longer a license to print money, and Tribune Company's revenues and profits were in a free fall. As journalism waned as an industry, professional sports teams went from the playthings of millionaires to the creator of billionaires. In 2009, the club the Trib had paid little more than $20 million for less than 30 years before was sold to the Ricketts family for $845 million. Last month, after the Ricketts sold a minority int6erest in the club for $175 million, Forbes Magazine placed the current value of the Chicago Cubs and their stadium at $1.8 billion.
renovation and expansion plan for Wrigley Field. A large part of that is taking control of a large part of the surrounding neighborhood. After a major court victory last week, the Ricketts are in the process of destroying the views and running the rooftop clubs out of business. As part of agreements with the city, they'll be able to shut down adjacent streets on game days. They've acquired major pieces of the property just to the west of Wrigley. The nearest block, site of tall coal silos for much of the stadium's history, is currently under construction for a new office building and plaza. On the other side of Clark street, a Ricketts-owned hotel is next. An 800 car garage is also on the boards.
VOA Architects, aren't so lucky. A "harsh Chicago winter" has been blamed for the new bleachers not being ready for opening night (tonight, April 5th). Right now, the site is a festival of steel and steelworkers.
Sunday Night Baseball broadcast beginning at 7:00 CDT tonight.
|Cubs rendering of Jumbo-tron|
|Clean Up, sculpture by Ted Sitting Crow Garner|
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