The Chicago Cubs briefly installed a mock-up of a large advertising sign at Wrigley Field to test its effect on views into the stadium from surrounding rooftops that are home to private clubs.
The rooftop owners quickly objected after Wednesday's test run, renewing their promise to file a lawsuit if the 650-square-foot sign goes up as planned in right field as early as next year.
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The sign and a massive Jumbotron planned for left field are central to the Cubs' $500 million renovation plans for the 99-year-old ballpark. The team wants the revenue that would be generated from the signs to help bankroll the stadium upgrades. The rooftop owners who charge fans to sit on bleachers on top of their buildings argue that the sign would threaten their businesses.
"We've been crystal clear. Any sign that blocks the views of the rooftops will result in legal action," Ryan McLaughlin, a spokesman for the club owners, said in a statement. He said the sign would violate the contract under which the rooftops share 17 percent of their revenues with the Cubs.
The Wrigley Field renovation plans -- including the signs -- have been approved by Chicago's City Council, and despite the renewed threat of a lawsuit that could stall the work, the team planned to move forward with the sign, Cubs spokesman Julian Green said.
"Every one of these rooftops still has a view inside this ballpark. I didn't say the same view. But, we believe every rooftop partner will be able to have a view inside the ballpark," Green told the Chicago Sun-Times.
The right field sign is designed to be partly see-through, showing only a cutout in cursive script of the advertising partner's name.
The team announced a deal in September with Anheuser-Busch InBev that could mean the Budweiser logo on the sign.
The renovation work is expected to take five years. The Cubs plan to double the size of the cramped clubhouse, improve player training facilities and build a 175-room hotel across the street.