Thursday, November 11, 2010 the family actually doing something that they should? (aka: the Chicago Tribune)

The owner of the Chicago Cubs is asking the state to help finance more than $200 million in renovations at Wrigley Field that will ensure the team stays at the historic ballpark for the next 35 years.

I was floored. And this is indeed a true story. A bill with this will go before the state legislature in very short order.

I needed to check my phone to see if anything had been sent to the season ticket holders when I saw this breaking news. Sure enough...Uncle Tommy sent me a letter.

Dear Season Ticket Holder,

When my family and I took ownership of the Chicago Cubs just about one year ago, we committed to being good neighbors and to preserving Wrigley Field. We're excited to tell you today about an opportunity to achieve both.

As the third largest tourist attraction in Illinois, the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field account for more than $600 million annually in impact to the local economy, including almost $400 million in annual new spending - spending which would not take place but for the team and the ballpark. This spending supports more than 7,000 jobs and generates more than $230 million in annual personal earnings. The Cubs and Wrigley Field also generate nearly $60 million in tax collections each year.

For many years, Wrigley Field has required millions of dollars in annual maintenance and, partly as a result, the team-owned campus around the ballpark has remained largely undeveloped. The Wrigley Field campus development, the centerpiece of our future, has been on hold for nearly a decade.

In the next few weeks the Illinois General Assembly will consider a bill to preserve Wrigley Field. Simply put, the plan allows a portion of future City and County amusement taxes, the 12% currently added to each ticket price, to be invested directly in the preservation of the Friendly Confines.

The plan is fair, simple and focused. Most importantly, it will not increase taxes you currently pay and will not create any new taxes.

This plan will preserve the historic character and tradition of the Friendly Confines for the next generation and will enhance the Lakeview community. If approved, the Cubs will undertake more than $200 million in renovations during the next five years and, in addition, the Ricketts family will invest a comparable amount in neighborhood development. The team will commit to play in Wrigley Field over the long run and to remain in the field during construction so, in this difficult economy, local businesses will continue to enjoy revenues the Cubs help attract.

We understand the importance of community and fan participation in this process. Wrigley Field renovation designs are being developed and we look forward to input on our surveys, discussions in forums and other communications we will send to you int eh weeks and months ahead.

We have an opportunity in this upcoming legislative session to begin the process of renovating and restoring Wrigley Field and securing its continued future. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and hope you, like me, see this as a fair and straightforward way to accomplish our mutual goals. If you would like to support our legislative proposal in the fall session, please contact us at

Tom Ricketts
Executive Chairman

In the end, the renovation of the ballpark and development around the surrounding area will cost about $400 million dollars.

I'm impressed. I said just a few weeks ago the Cubs should go to the state for money to get this done, and it appears that is exactly what they intend to do.

It also means that Wrigley 2014 is going to be more like Wrigley 2016 with no attempt to get the All-Star game until that point.

We also know that the renovation process will not be fast. The reason? The Cubs don't want to have to vacate the park and play elsewhere in the process.

This is very good news for anyone that truly cares about this team and we hopefully will see some significant movement on the Wrigley renovation plans along with the release of some renovation concepts in the near future.