Cubs, rooftop owners reach agreement
20-year agreement requires building owners to pay team
By ALYSON BRODSY | AP Reports
POSTED AT 12:00 AM ON JAN. 13, 2004
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs and most owners of rooftop bleachers that overlook Wrigley Field have reached an agreement that would require the owners to pay the team millions of dollars a year, officials said.
Under the 20-year agreement, owners of 11 buildings have to give the Cubs 17 percent of their gross revenue, Alderman Thomas Tunney said Sunday. With about 1,700 seats on the rooftops, it could cost owners more than $2 million a year.
Owners for two of the 13 buildings did not agree to the deal and plan to take the issue to trial.
Calls to the Cubs by The Associated Press were not immediately returned Monday.
The Cubs had been arguing with the rooftop owners over plans to expand the stadium without obstructing the view from the rooftops. After negotiations broke down, the Cubs sued the owners in December 2002. The lawsuit accused the owners of stealing the team's product, copyright infringement and unjust enrichment at the Cubs' expense.
"This issue is really between two successful businesses, and I'm glad they can reach an agreement out of court," said Tunney, whose ward includes the ballpark.
Sources close to the deal told the Chicago Tribune the agreement awaits the parties' signatures and court approval.
The Cubs' agreement does not affect the team's wish to add about 2,000 bleacher seats. A source close to the rooftop owners' side, however, argued that by taking a large cut on each seat the team essentially is getting an expansion.
Tunney said if the bleachers are expanded within eight years, the agreement requires the Cubs to compensate rooftop owners whose views are obstructed.
The Cubs are owned by the Tribune Co., which also owns the Chicago Tribune