Judge Allows Cubs To Continue Building Outfield Signs
CHICAGO (CBS) --A federal judge has allowed the Cubs to continue work on installing new outfield signs at Wrigley Field – at least for now – after two rooftop clubs sought to block the stadium renovations, claiming the signs would put them out of business by blocking their views of the field.
U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall said the rooftop owners filed to meet the legal standard of "irreparable harm" required to impose an emergency restraining order to stop the Cubs from putting up the signs.
Owners of the Skybox and Lakeview Baseball Club claimed the Cubs' plans to renovate Wrigley violate a 2004 revenue-sharing deal with the rooftop owners. The contract calls for the rooftops to pay the team 17 percent of their income, in exchange for their views of Cubs games. The clubs have said the deal prohibits the Cubs from obstructing their views into Wrigley through the end of the contract in 2023.
The Cubs have argued they have the right to erect signs in the outfield, and need the revenue from the signs to improve the stadium and field a winning team.
Kendall said rooftop owners failed to prove the signs would drive them out of business, and evidence shows they were still earning income, so did not meet the burden of showing "irreparable harm" needed to grant their request for an emergency restraining order.
Cubs representatives said they were pleased and grateful that Kendall ruled in their favor.
Cubs spokesman Dennis Culloton said work would continue on Wrigley renovations, which already have been delayed by the weather. The new bleachers at Wrigley won't be ready by Opening Day, and likely won't open until May.
"With regard to the bleachers, there's a little bit of the delay there," he said. "It comes along with the territory of digging up a 100-year-old infrastructure, and 100-year-old building, but we're working aggressively. They're working seven days a week, and even in these brutal conditions they're working today."
Kendall scheduled a March 23 hearing for further arguments on the underlying issue of whether the Cubs have the right to install the signs, as well as a new video scoreboard.
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