The Chicago Cubs have applied for a permit to construct a large advertising sign behind the Wrigley Field right field bleachers, according to reports in the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times.
The Cubs’ permit request for the sign, which would alter the view from the nearby rooftops, came less than a week after negotiations broke down between the Cubs and the neighborhood rooftop owners about the team’s planned renovations to Wrigley Field.
The rooftop owners, who have said all along they would pursue legal action against the team should the views into the park from their buildings be altered, said they have begun that process.
"This is an unfortunate turn of events because our hope was to find a solution to this matter," said Ryan McLaughlin of the Wrigleyville Rooftops Association. "Rooftop owners believe any blockage of our views violates the contract we have with the owners of the Cubs. We have instructed our legal team to proceed accordingly."
The Cubs and rooftop owners disagree on the size and location of both the right field sign and of a new video scoreboard to be installed in left field for the 2015 season.
The ongoing battle has delayed the renovation project of Wrigley, which was scheduled to begin after last season, although the sides appeared to be making progress towards a resolution last week. But the momentum stalled, and then the rooftop owners filed a defamation lawsuit against sports consultant Marc Ganis for comments he made last January, and also named the Cubs as a respondent in that lawsuit.
The sides entered into a 20-year agreement in 2004 in which the rooftop owners pay the Cubs 17 percent of the team's yearly profits in exchange for unobstructed views into the ballpark. The Cubs dispute that notion, however, contending the unobstructed views were guaranteed through the landmarking of the bleachers not with the agreement they have with the rooftop owners. The city removed the landmark status last summer, opening the door to a renovation.