City buildings committee approves Toyota sign

Posted May 25, 2010 at 12:06 p.m.

Ricketts-Web.jpgCubs owner Tom Ricketts speaks to the media on May 6, 2010, the day he received approval from the Commission on Chicago Landmarks to install a Toyota sign at Wrigley Field. (William DeShazer/ Chicago Tribune)

By Ameet Sachdev
The Chicago Cubs moved one step closer to erecting a proposed Toyota
advertisement above the bleachers at Wrigley Field.

The buildings committee of the Chicago City Council on Tuesday
unanimously approved a permit for the illuminated, 360-square-foot sign,
said a Cubs official.

The committee’s approval was expected after Ald. Tom Tunney, 44th,
changed his mind about the sign and voiced his support for the sign.
Wrigley Field sits in Tunney ward.

In a meeting before the Chicago Landmarks Commission last month, Tunney said the sign was not in keeping with the Lakeview neighborhood or with the spirit of the landmarks ordinance that protects the 96-year-old stadium’s historic features.

Some owners of rooftop businesses who sell admissions to game had also objected to the sign. They worried that the Cubs would erect more signs in the future and block their views of the field. In its proposed location in left field, the Toyota sign would block a building that has a Horseshoe Casino ad on its roof.

In exchange for Tunney’s support, the Cubs have agreed to a four-year moratorium on new signs above the bleachers between the foul poles, the alderman said. It seems like a minor compromise for the Cubs. Team officials have previously said the location for the Toyota sign was unique because it did not obstruct views of paying customers on the rooftops. The team said it did not want to do anything to endanger its partnership with the rooftop owners. (The Cubs receive 17 percent of the revenue that the rooftop businesses generate.)

Yet Tunney said no parties walked away happy with the compromise. “Rooftop partners are concerned about proliferation of these, and I think the community is also,” Tunney said.

The permit must still be approved by the City Council. Cubs officials are hoping to receive authorization at the council’s next meeting on June 9. If that happens, the team could erect the sign in time for the start of team’s series with the White Sox on June 11.



  1. erica May 25, 2010 at 11:52 a.m.

    This should be interesting.. I’m going to be at the june 12th game at wrigley. There goes the rooftops… There will be alot of angry people but oh well I paided over $80 for my tickets, its not fair for someone else to watch the game live for $10.

  2. Tom H May 25, 2010 at 11:56 a.m.

    This is a truly sad development. I grew up in St. Louis, the most baseball-obsessed town in the world. But when I moved to Chicago about 12 years ago, one of my favorite things about Wrigley was its complete lack of obnoxious, gaudy billboards. It really was unique in that sense.
    Now, it is just another ballpark that is getting less and less special with each passing season, and each short-sighted modification. Oh well, sports is just business, right?

  3. Jose May 25, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    Yes, sports is a business. Why can’t people understand that? The team hasn’t won a championship in over 100 years and people are crying over some ballpark ads? It’s all about winning and making money. Why can’t stupid people understand that?

  4. Chad May 25, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Pretty soon it won’t matter. The gang bangers will be shooting Wrigleyville up. They are already in Lincoln Park

  5. Jason May 25, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    I suspect flip-flop Alderman Tunney may soon be seen driving around in a brand new Toyota…

  6. Brian May 25, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    @ Jose..
    Yes, it is a business & it is about making money. However, when the Cubs were owned by the Trib or now by the Ricketts, the money isn’t being used wisely to make the team better. Yes the Cubs have a high payroll, but they are still bad. The owners know that this is a cash cow & as long as the sheep keep filling the stands, the owners will cash in without having to spend too much. Meet the new boss…same as the old boss!

  7. Gallo May 25, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Toyota and the Cubs both suck!

  8. Senorswank May 25, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    If you think it costs $10 for the rooftop seats you must also believe in the Easter bunny.

  9. KINGPIN May 25, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    The trashing of Wrigley Field continues.
    So much for preserving history.
    How about neon billboards on the toilet stall walls
    and above the piser?

  10. Scott May 25, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    @Tom H, have you not watched a game this season? There’s ads all over the place in Wrigley now. They have the CBOE letters on the brick down the line. Also, Scott’s lawn care is on top of the dugout. Near the on deck circles on the wall, they have Northwestern hospital and Citi logos. Underarmour is on the outfield doors. The bleachers are now named the Bud Light Bleachers. PNC has a new club/lounge down the third base skybox. It’s pretty hard to see logos all over the place, so don’t act like putting a Toyota sign up is the end of the Cubs world.

  11. erica May 25, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    @senorswank- if your paying more then $10 for rooftop tickets then your being robbed. I’ve been to a rooftop game, I prefer sitting in the stadium or in front of my big screen at home.

  12. Joe May 25, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    Can we please retire the tired, not even remotely original “meet the new boss…” BS and the dolts who think it’s clever?
    The new boss has massive debt to pay. The new boss is creating new streams of revenue. The new boss has been on the job for less than a year, pretty much impossible to compare the new, 9 month old regime to the old 30 year boss. Except, of corse, when using cheesy music lyrics.
    And then there are the idiots who say the owners don’t try, because of “sheep” or “lemmings”. If they weren’t trying, why the hell would they have one of the five, or so, highest payrolls? If the sheep are coming anyway… Seriously? Kinda contradicts the whole “the owners don’t try” BS.
    Due to an out of date ball park with no suite revenues, no ad revenue from jumbotron commericials, and a small seating capacity, they need to find new ways to make money in order to pay for the never ending upkeep of a 100 year old building, while maintaing current payroll levels. The new boss is doing a pretty good job of that. Much better than the old boss. Nothing at all like the old boss.
    And anybody who would turn down $1 million+ for that little sign is a moron.

  13. Mean Joe May 25, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    There will be alot of angry people but oh well I paided over $80 for my tickets, its not fair for someone else to watch the game live for $10.
    Hey Erica, what are you smokin’? $10 for a roof top ticket?
    You’re not even close honey, it’s closer to $125/ticket.

  14. Little_Pig May 25, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Putting up a sign promoting Toyota is kind of like putting up a sign promoting BP …

  15. insight May 25, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    was there ever any doubt that this ordinance would be approved – our elected officials are not principled, but they will take principal

  16. Spike May 25, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Guess what? We don’t live in a museum. Things can’t stay the way they were when Grandpa was alive just because it makes you all warm and fuzzy.
    If the whole thing was turning into Vegas or the Dells, I’d object too. It’s ONE freakin’ sign.
    As for the rooftops, too effin bad. You want to see the game, buy a ticket to the field. What an overblown sense of entitlement that people think they are guaranteed to watch the game from their house/rooftops. It is a BUSINESS. Pay for it.
    Also: If you are paying more attention to the sign than to the game? Then something is seriously wrong with you.

  17. too much corruption May 25, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Are the committee members all driving new Toyotas now?
    Spike, I totally agree with you about the rooftop whiners.

  18. JeffB May 25, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    This is a great development. It is wrong for rooftop owners to profit off a product which is not they’re own. The same goes for people selling parking spots in they’re driveway. I say bring on more night games, concerts, and public urination.
    You want to live in that neighborhood than you should bow to the cubs and do as they wish.

  19. jason May 25, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Forget tradition! The only tradition the cubs have is losing!!
    The Ricketts are $900 mill in the hole. let them make some money.
    They have $36 mill a year in wasted contracts (zambrano and soriano) which is not their fault
    look at fenway the next 800 times they are on ESPN. they have Neon signs everywhere.
    You know why no one compains? because they win!!!!

  20. really?? May 25, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    @erica rooftop tickets well the only one I go to, you must know a member to even get in, and pay anywhere from $60-$250 per game, its only $60 if its a week day game and not a diamond or prime game. Know what you are talking about before you speak, well write.

  21. Goldenmean May 25, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Most rooftop tickets go for more than $80.00

  22. really1 May 25, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    @Jeffb – do you know the history of the rooftops? how they ever got started and why? Rooftops have more love and respect for the cubs than any sign does lol. Rooftops bring in way more people and money to wrigleyville than any sign would ever.

  23. brian May 25, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    In case you haven’t noticed, sky-boxes, or as you refered to them as suites, were built years ago. They are almost FULL. The Cubs have all kinds of ad revenue without a jumbo-tron! Captain Morgan Club, all the electonic score boards have sponsors, CBOE has their name all over the place, and on TV you see the ad box just behind home plate. This place is a cash cow. Honestly, most of the draw is the stadium, not the team. Also, a high payroll doesn’t mean crap. The Cubs still can’t win…As long as 40k plus show up (which is not that low of a seating capacity, espcially when they draw over 2.5 million per season) nothing will change. Spend as little as possible and make as much as you can…so yes SAME AS THE OLD BOSS!!!! Incase you have noticed the Ricketts are business people. They are in it for the bottom line profits. If they were serious, the first thing you do is blow up Wrigley and start over! Build a modernized version of Wrigley. Then bring in a GM who can evaluate talent and coach who is not saving for their retirement!

  24. TTH May 25, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    Gotta agree with Joe. Can we please stop using the idiotic “Meet the new boss” crap? It was worn out the first time it was used. Isn’t, as Joe stated, remotely clever. Not to mention, completely false.
    No really…it is incredibly lame

  25. Mitch May 30, 2010 at 9:25 a.m.

    It is true the Cubs’ longest tradition is losing. Its also true that for some reason Wrigley Field is still packed with fans. It would be wise to ask why that is. In my opinion its because the Friendly Confines are a great place to spend a few hours watching our favorite past-time. Once you turn the park into just any old ball-park there will be less reason to go.
    This may be a radical idea, but there just might be something more to life (and, gasp business) than short-term money. The present owners may be entranced by the short money due to debt.
    “Just one more sign” – death by a thousand cuts.