The Chicago Cubs prevailed in federal court recently, allowing its massive $375 million remodeling of Wrigley Field to continue. The judge in the case dismissed claims from nearby rooftop clubs that the stadium’s new video board blocks their view of the field.
Cubs fans know that it has long been tradition to watch games from the rooftops of buildings across the street from Wrigley Field. In recent years, businesses have arisen to sell tickets to these spaces. In 2004, the Cubs entered into a revenue-sharing agreement with those businesses.
That contract was the basis for a request filed in federal court by two companies to put an injunction on installation of the new video screen. The plaintiffs, Skybox on Sheffield and Lakeview Baseball Club, said the screen will block the view of the field from their rooftops, in violation of the revenue-sharing agreement.
In her decision, the judge dismissed the injunction request. She noted that many rooftop visitors pay little attention to the games. While seemingly acknowledging that the screen will block patrons’ view, the judge wrote that the true draw of the venues was enjoying “fresh air, alcohol and good food” while being near the game. The screen will not put the rooftop hosts out of business, the judge concluded, though they may have to change the nature of their services.
The case could have halted reconstruction of the ballpark, days before it needed to be ready for Opening Day, which is set for April 5. From the perspective of contractors and subcontractors, injunctions like the one requested here can be costly in time and money.