A look inside the Cubs’ rooftop contract

From David Kaplan on CSNChicago.com

The agreement, which is dated Jan. 27, 2004 and runs until Dec. 31, 2023 and says a number of very interesting things above and beyond giving the rooftops the right to run their businesses. Among them includes a provision that says that the following:

6.6 The Cubs shall not erect windscreens or other barriers to obstruct the views of the Rooftops, provided however that temporary items such as banners, flags and decorations for special occasions, shall not be considered as having been erected to obstruct views of the Rooftops. Any expansion of Wrigley Field approved by governmental authorities shall not be a violation of this agreement, including this section.
7.3 From time to time during each season, the Cubs shall authorize WGN-TV or other Cubs broadcasting partners to identify a phone number where fans can call to reserve Rooftop seating.
7.4 The Rooftops shall have the right to inform the public that they are endorsed by the Cubs.
7.5 The Cubs Director of Marketing shall meet with the Rooftops before the start of each Major League Baseball season to discuss opportunities for joint marketing.
7.6 The Cubs shall include a discussion about the Rooftops on their tour of Wrigley Field and shall include stories positive about the Rooftops in The Vine Line.
7.7 Each of the Rooftops may display broadcasts of Cubs games to patrons at its facility, including displaying such broadcasts on multiple television sets, without any infringement of any copyright owned by the Cubs or its assignees.

Another very important part of the contract is Section 6.2 which could be an integral part of any potential litigation:

6.2 If the Cubs expand the Wrigley Field bleacher seating and such expansion so impairs the view from any rooftop into Wrigley Field such that the Rooftop’s business is no longer viable even if it were to increase its available seating to the maximum height permitted by law, and if such bleacher expansion is completed within eight years from the Effective Date (1/27/2004), then if such Rooftop elects to cease operations before the beginning of the next baseball season following completion of such expansion, the Cubs shall reimburse that Rooftop for 50% of the royalties paid by that Rooftop to the Cubs during the time between the Effective Date and the date of expansion of the Wrigley Field bleachers. The Cubs shall pay such reimbursement to the Rooftop within 30 days of receiving notice from the Rooftop it is no longer viable and has ceased operations. Any Rooftop receiving payment from the Cubs pursuant to this provision shall cease operations for the remainder of the term and shall not seek or accept any compensation or benefit related to activity on a Rooftop on a day of a game.

Finally, in doing significant research on this dispute, I was able to read the following public document which is the result of a City Council of Chicago meeting and subsequent vote on July 24, 2013 which passed 49-0 by the Chicago City Council:

“Specifically, but without limitation, Applicant shall have the right to expand the Wrigley Field bleachers to install (i) a new video board in left field, which may include an LED sign, a neon illuminated sign above it and two light towers to assist in outfield lighting; and (ii) a neon sign in right field, which signage has been approved by the Commission on Chicago Landmarks and, in addition to being part of the bleacher expansion, and along with all other signage contemplated by this Planned Development, is integral to the expansion and renovation of Wrigley Field and the development and redevelopment of the Property as contemplated herein.”

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