Would-Be Consequences of Tom Ricketts Yanking the Cubs out of Wrigley Field
Wrigley Field renovation plans have been ongoing since the Ricketts family took control of the team, and a proposed $300 million renovation is awaiting approval.
The renovations include a 6,000-square-foot video scoreboard in left field, signage in right field, a hotel across the street where the McDonald's is currently located and more late afternoon and night games.
The additions would create a revenue stream that the Ricketts have deemed necessary, to the point that they would consider moving the team if the renovation plan is not passed (h/t Chicago Sun Times).
The city of Rosemont, Illinois, has already offered up a 25-acre plot of land to the team for free should the Ricketts opt to move the team.
It remains a long shot at this point, but here is a look at five would-be consequences of Tom Ricketts yanking the Cubs out of Wrigley Field.
A Loss of the Casual Fan Who Is a Chicago Resident
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
There are nearly three million people in the city of Chicago, and while a good deal of North Siders bleed Cubbie Blue, for others, a trip to Wrigley Field is just a fun way to spend a day.
The die-hards will go wherever the Cubs do, even if there is some initial sting of the team moving. But for the casual fan who treats a Cubs game as just another Chicago activity, the frequent trip to Rosemont seems unlikely.
The city of Rosemont has under 5,000 people and is about a half hour drive from the city. So while a move to the city and a new stadium would allow the team more marketing freedom as far as the stadium is concerned, losing the casual fan who is a Chicago resident would be a major blow.
The Wrigleyville Economy Would Take a Hit
Photo Credit: iNeTours
There are nearly 100,000 people in the Chicago neighborhood of Lakeview, which contains Wrigley Field and the Wrigleyville area.
With a myriad of shopping, restaurants and, of course bars, the neighborhood is a hive of activity—and never more so than when the Cubs are in town.
As someone who spends his weekends in Wrigleyville, I can't help but wonder what a Cubs departure would do to the economy of the area.
The neighborhood is such a popular destination of 20-somethings just out of college, and while the Cubs aren't the whole reason for that, losing them would no doubt hurt the neighborhoods lure.
Added Pressure to Field a Championship Team
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
The Cubs have as rich a tradition as any franchise in professional sports, but there is not a single Cubs fans who wouldn't be willing to trade in all of that tradition for a chance to see the team win a World Series.
The only real way to make a move out of Wrigley Field one that is universally accepted by Cubs fans is to put a winner on the field.
If a team wearing a Cubs uniform wins a World Series, it doesn't matter if it is playing on the moon—all will be forgotten. However, if the Cubs move and still fail to win, the fanbase will wonder what good the added revenue really did and why the team moved to begin with.
That said, as superstitious as the Cubs faithful are, the move to Rosemont would likely be credited with helping the team finally win if a championship were it to come after it moved there.
An Immediate Spike in Attendance
Photo Credit: Bird-X
One of the toughest aspects of a team moving is the "lame duck" period between when the fanbase learns its team is leaving and when the team begins play in its new city.
In this case, however, an announcement that the team was moving to Rosemont could actually lead to an increase in attendance.
Visiting Wrigley Field is on a good deal of baseball fans' bucket lists across the country. And for people who have never been or want to go one last time, an announcement the team was moving would mean their last chance to do so.
Photo Credit: Chicago Now
Let's set aside for a second everything said on the previous slides and look that simple, gut response that would be an immediate consequence of the Cubs leaving Wrigley Field: outrage.
Few fanbases in professional sports are as large or as passionate as Cubs fans, and a decision of to move the team would not sit well with them.
While there is no question renovations need to be done to their 99-year-old mecca that is Wrigley Field, relocating the team would cause an uproar of Biblical proportions among Cubs fans and the city of Chicago in general.