05/01/2013 11:54 am ET Updated May 01, 2013

Ricketts Moving Cubs? Chairman Threatens To Yank Team From Chicago If Upgrade Plan Is Blocked


Updated story

Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts for the first time threatened to yank the team out of Wrigley Field — and Chicago's city limits — if proposed renovations for the ballpark are not OK'd by the city.

"We'll have to consider moving," Ricketts said at a City Club of Chicago breakfast on Wednesday, according to DNAinfo Chicago.

Despite the alarming language, Ricketts refused to characterize his words as a threat. “There’s no threats,” he said, according to the Sun-Times.

The Cubs chairman insisted the organization needs the flexibility to carry out certain plans like adding outfield signage and a massive Jumbotron so it can privately bankroll the $500 million in renovations to the field and neighborhood.

"We have to generate new revenue," Ricketts said according to the Tribune. "We have to catch up to our large-market competitors on ballpark revenues, so this project has to work from a financial perspective as well."

When asked about Ricketts' comments later Wednesday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel told the Chicago Sun-Times he did not see them as signs of a serious threat the Cubs will leave the city.

The renovation plan has run into various stumbling blocks, the largest of which is the proposal to add signage that the nearby Wrigley Rooftop Club says would block views of the field and kill off business. The club has 10 years left in its revenue-sharing contract with the Cubs.

Chicago Cubs Online has a rundown of some of the key quotes from Wednesday's meeting, including what is likely Ricketts' thinly-veiled reference to the Wrigley Rooftop Clubs:

“Just let us run our business like a business. We want to win and run our business without outside influences having a voice in our business.”

In March, the mayor of Rosemont pitched the organization on moving the Cubs to the nearby suburban village with promises of free land and lower amusement taxes.



Wrigley Field Renovations