Cubs want new billboard at Wrigley

March 17, 2010 3:38:07 PM PDT
The Chicago Cubs want to put up a new billboard at Wrigley Field. The proposed 360-square-foot sign would bring in new advertising revenue but would also be a major change for the Friendly Confines.

The Chicago Cubs are busy with some pre-season renovation projects at Wrigley Field, getting the ball park ready for the home-opener April 12th.

The cubs hope to have a new feature at the Friendly Confines by then, a billboard featuring the Toyota corporate logo.

The cubs are finalizing a multi-year marketing partnership with the automaker for an undisclosed but significant fee.

"We want to preserve the nature of Wrigley Field, but we need to generate revenue to help support the renovations and to put the best possible product on the field," said Wally Hayward, Cubs chief sales and marketing officer.

The cubs say they put a lot of thought and time into how the logo would look and where it would go.

It's see-through and would rise above the bleachers in left field where there is less chance of blocking the view of people on the rooftops across Waveland Avenue.

The cubs ran the plans by the rooftop owners, who they say are okay with the billboard. And they also don't expect the signage to conflict with Wrigley's historic landmark designation.

But they are prepared for some push-back from fans.

"Whether it's the lights going in, or the skyboxes, or the expansion of the bleachers, or the Under Armour logos in the outfield doors, there's always a lot of talk about it," said Hayward.

And talk there is. Some fans are okay with the change. Others aren't.

"I think you gotta stick with tradition. I think tradition is very important. That's what the Cubs are all about," said fan Brett Harman.

"Baseball teams have to grow and as teams grow, it's money. It's business," said Steve Macri, also a fan.

"Of all the stadiums in baseball, Wrigley is the least decorated on the inside with advertising. I think if they want to expand their revenue, that should be their first avenue," another fan said.

Earlier this week, the Cubs filed a permit application for the billboard with the city's Department of Zoning and Land-use Planning, which will review the plans, then pass them on to the Historic Landmark Commission, which will decide whether they conform to Wrigley's landmark status.