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Cubs announce $500 million deal to renovate Wrigley

The SportsXchange

Chicago Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said at a news conference Monday that the framework for a $500 million deal to renovate Wrigley Field will bring a world championship to the city.

"If this plan is approved, we will win the World Series for our fans and our city," he said at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs have not won a title since 1908, the long drought in professional sports.

"We need this project in order to bring our fans a winner," Ricketts added.

The deal, which has been approved by the city, includes an electronic 6,000-square foot video screen that is almost three times bigger than the manual scoreboard at the nearly 100-year-old ballpark.

The club also plans to increase the number of night games there to 40 per season.

Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel said Sunday night that the renovation project includes no taxpayer funding.

The Wrigleyville Rooftop Association said in a statement that it reserves the right to continue enforcing a 20-year contract with the previous Cubs ownership that allows it to charge spectators to watch games from their buildings and pay 17 percent of revenue to the Cubs.

The Ricketts family bought the Cubs in 2009.

The team also has plans to add a 1,000-square foot sign in left field. It, along with the video screen, is designed to get new advertising deals to help pay for the park's face-lift.

The Cubs hope the city will allow it to have the improvements completed by the end of this season.

The Ricketts previously tried to get tax payers to help pay for the renovations to no avail. But with the agreement, the owners are allowed to build a 175-room hotel, plaza, and office building with retail space as well as a health club, and provide 1,000 free parking spots that include a shuttle service.
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