Sizing up the Cubs' video board proposal

Sizing up the Cubs' video board proposal

April 15, 2013, 2:00 pm
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Matt Zickus

One of the sticking points of the Cubs’ proposed $500 million restoration of Wrigley Field has been the addition of a video board in left field, and there’s been no shortage of hubbub over whether or not rooftop owners will sue to restrict its installation.

During Monday morning’s press conference to announce the organization’s yet-to-be finalized deal with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney, Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts stressed the importance of adding a video board.

“When you look at what the fans are asking for now to improve their game day experience and you add to that the economic value of a video board it becomes obvious it’s the next best step for us,” he said.

But now it’s not simply the addition of a video board that’s causing a fuss—it’s the size, and just how much it will obstruct rooftop views. The team’s final proposal calls for a display size of 6,000 square feet, but does not include exact dimensions. According to the release, the Cubs “will choose the location with goal, where not inconsistent with the needs of the ballpark, of minimal impact on rooftops with whom Cubs have an agreement. The video board may be further cantilevered over the public street to help further minimize impact on rooftops.”

The release also states “[The City of Chicago] will vacate sidewalk and one street lane on Waveland Avenue (Sheffield to Clark), at no cost to Cubs, which will be incorporated into the ballpark, subject to a requirement to maintain eight feet of sidewalk. This will allow the left field video board to be moved further north, thus minimizing sightline impact on rooftops.”

According to Ricketts, that means the team will “be thoughtful about how [the video board] is placed, and be respectful of the people it may impact.”

As it stands now, rooftop owners are nearly halfway through a deal with the team in which 17 percent of their revenues go to the ball club in exchange for official endorsement from the Cubs. That deal does not expire until 2024. The entire saga is sure to play out over the next several weeks, or as Ricketts himself admits, perhaps even months.

So just how big is 6,000 square feet and where does it rank in the world of spectator sports? It would give Wrigley Field the sixth largest video board in Major League Baseball, but would only be roughly half the size of  Safeco Field’s 11,425-square-foot behemoth—the largest in baseball. It would also tie Wrigley Field with Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for 16th largest in the world, a hair behind Honk Kong’s Sha Tin Racecourse, which sits at 15th with a size of 6,006 square feet.

The largest screen in the world? That distinction belongs to Charlotte Motor Speedway and its massive 16,000-square-foot display. Although Jerry Jones might argue Cowboys Stadium’s dual 11,520-square-foot screens should take home the prize with a combined area of 23,040 square feet.

 Largest video boards in Major League Baseball

Safeco Field

202 by 57 feet

11,425 square feet

Kauffman Stadium

105 by 84 feet

8,820 square feet

Citizens Bank Park

76 by 97 feet

7,372 square feet

Minute Maid Park

124 by 54 feet

6,696 square feet

Comerica Park

124 by 47 feet

6,096 square feet

Wrigley Field (proposed)

?? by ?? feet

6,000 square feet