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Cubs Thu Nov 11 2010

Cubs Owners Seek State Funds to Renovate Wrigley

Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts announced a proposal to the Illinois Sports Facility Association that would help aid in the renovation of Wrigley Field. The proposed deal would provide up to $300 million in bonds from amusement taxes, which are taken from ticket sales. If this deal is approved it would aid in the much needed upgrade of the 96-year-old ballpark.

The idea on paper looks good, but what looks good on paper doesn't always translate into success. See 2004 Chicago Cubs. While improving Wrigley Field would be in the best interest of the State of Illinois seeing as how it is Illinois' third largest attraction. It would only make sense on the part of the state that the Cubs continue to stay where they are at and that would mean keeping Wrigley Field in top shape for years to come.

On the flip side of things Illinois is hurting financially and approving a deal such as this might not be in their best interest when the school system is in dire financial need not to mention the roads and public transportation. Ricketts did state in his proposal that the money would not come from tax payers or raising existing taxes. If that is the case this deal might not be so far off.

Considering both sides of this to me it seems like this is something that the state should at least consider. The Cubs are one of the top sources of revenue in Illinois contributing over $600 million to the state's economy. Upgrading and preserving Wrigley Field would only help further that for the future. If they Ricketts are able to move forward with this it would help generate more revenue for the neighborhood, the city of Chicago and the State of Illinois. Also it would ensure that the Cubs don't pick up and move to the suburbs to a state of the art facility. I doubt that would ever happen, but anything is possible. The proposal is out there. Now it is up to the powers that be to essentially decide the future of Wrigley Field.

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Marvin8 / November 12, 2010 5:10 AM

I don't know if this deal makes sense for Chicagoans for Illinoisans, but the threat of the Cubs picking up and moving to the suburbs is a complete joke. They would EASILY lose half of their fans. EASILY. The Cubs and Wrigley Field are eternally entwined.

Randy Hundley / November 12, 2010 6:15 AM

Where do you get your information that Wrigley is one of the top sources of revenue for the state? Citation, please?

John / November 12, 2010 6:32 AM

Sure,why shouldn't the poor,& middle class contiune to subsidize the rich (owners & players)?

Ed / November 12, 2010 6:48 AM

"not come from tax payers"
How stupid does Ricketts think we are?

Kieran Delaney / November 12, 2010 8:04 AM

$200 million to fix up a ballpark? This is a joke. Our police force is severly understaffed, our jails are overcrowded and our schools are struggling with a massive cash shortage. All things that we keep getting told nothing can be done about because of a lack of funds. But this pompus jackass wants to stick his hand out and ask for $200 million to fix up his ballpark? I thought these people were super rich, why not use their own money? Oh wait, that's how the rich stay rich, get someone else to flip the bill for your stuff.

g / November 12, 2010 8:05 AM

I am a university instructor. After a year of vilification by the legislature and by the public, whereby they demand a heavier workload for less, this news is a bad joke. It probably reflects the distance between Wrigley owners and the public. If there's $ for Wrigley, there's $ for education.

Dennis / November 12, 2010 8:16 AM

Let them leave.

Good riddance!

Sam / November 12, 2010 8:30 AM

Maybe the state can put a stipulation on the $300 million. The Cubs MUST win a world series THIS century.

Andrew / November 12, 2010 11:48 AM

Boy, Sam, a whole century? That'll show'em who's boss!

Brian / November 12, 2010 12:43 PM

Randy - According to the link within my story the Cubs contribute $600 million to the state's economy. I'll correct top three to one of the top contributors. Thanks for the read.

joejoejoe / November 12, 2010 1:21 PM

"Ricketts did state in his proposal that the money would not come from tax payers or raising existing taxes."

Ricketts wants to take the portion of amusement taxes he says comes from Cubs tickets and give it to the Cubs. Is that your idea of how taxes work? People who pay IL state taxes may never drive on a state road in Carbondale or Kankakee but that's how government works. Do you think hotel room taxes should go to new sheets and rooftop bars? After all, hotel patrons paid the taxes! Ricketts wants IL tax money to build up landmark Wrigley Field, a landmark he just happens to own. This is a horrible idea in great economic times and damn near tragic in our current times.

Jim Reedy / November 13, 2010 8:19 PM

Honestly, screw the Cubs. They're richer than God. They can pay for Wrigley Field updates themselves. When in recent years has it ever been good public policy for the state/city to give a sports team money for its stadium?

Brian / November 14, 2010 11:40 AM

Jim - And Reinsdorf threatening to move the Sox if they didn't get a new stadium with public money is any different?

Jim Reedy / November 15, 2010 12:31 AM

Is the idea that I'm supposed to defend the White Sox? I'm not partisan to either team. I don't really care either way; I just don't like publicly funded stadiums.

Brian / November 15, 2010 2:35 AM

You could make the argument that all stadiums are funded by the public. Those who buy tickets or are season ticket holders their money eventually gets put back into the stadium in one way or another.

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