Friday, January 30, 2004
Owners to pay 17 percent of revenue
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs finalized a deal to end their
dispute with most of the owners of rooftop bleachers that overlook
The deal generally follows a tentative 20-year agreement reached
earlier this month with the help of U.S. Magistrate Judge Sidney
Schenkier, according to Alderman Thomas Tunney, whose ward includes
Wrigley Field, and Beth Murphy, who owns a rooftop bleacher
The rooftop business owners agreed to pay the team about 17
percent of their revenue -- expected to bring the Cubs between $1.2
million to $1.7 million a year. The agreement also includes
provisions for the owners to be reimbursed if their views are
hindered by ballpark alterations, including a proposed expansion of
The deal was signed Tuesday by the Cubs and owners of 10 of the
13 rooftop businesses the team had sued, Murphy said. She owns
Murphy's Bleachers -- a tavern just beyond the center-field wall --
and a rooftop site down the street.
"I am delighted that we reached a settlement. That we reached
it this way instead of in court means that there will be more
goodwill on either side," she said. "To have an acrimonious
relationship with the Cubs isn't good for the neighborhood or for
The Cubs referred questions to Mark McGuire, the team's
executive vice president of business operations. He did not
immediately return calls for comment Friday.
The dispute started when the Cubs began arguing with the rooftop
owners over plans to expand the stadium, with the rooftop owners
fearing their views would be obstructed. In December 2002, the Cubs
sued the rooftop owners, accusing them of stealing the team's
product, copyright infringement and unjust enrichment at the Cubs'
The team also temporarily hung dark screens on the outfield
fences to try to prevent free peeks at the field.
Cubs president Andy MacPhail told the Chicago Tribune in a story
published Friday that the team will pursue its lawsuit against the
three rooftop owners who were not part of the settlement.
"We are completely confident in our position," said Chris
Gair, a lawyer for the three owners. "The Cubs don't own the view
from our buildings. We own the view from our buildings."