Long-suffering Cubs fans would obviously prefer to be watching their beloved team going deep into the playoffs on Oct. 1. But, after another disappointing season, team officials are hoping to offer them the next best thing: a baseball movie in the park.
At Thursday’s City Council meeting, Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) introduced an Oct. 1 exception to the ordinance that puts a 30-game ceiling on the number of night games at Wrigley to allow for a first-ever movie night at the shrine of Major League Baseball.
Earlier this year, a survey that has prompted the Cubs to redesign the long-stalled triangle building adjacent to the ballpark showed that 78 percent of Wrigleyville residents want the team to offer movies in the park at an open air plaza.
That got the Cubs thinking about another potential money-maker: inviting fans to pay a nominal fee to sit on the field — and in the stands, if enough people show up — and watch a baseball movie.
“We’re thinking about ways to help keep Wrigley Field alive. A movie in the park is something the community would appreciate. It could be a fun night at the ballpark,” said Mike Lufrano, Cubs general counsel and executive vice-president of community affairs.
“Wrigley Field is a great venue—the third-largest tourist attraction in Illinois. We do something like 50,000 tours a- ear. This would be a chance to come to an evening on the field, probably with free popcorn, and experience Wrigley Field in a different way.”
Lufrano said the Cubs have not yet chosen the movie, nor have they determined how much to charge or where to position multiple movie screens. But, he insisted that the fee would be “small” and that the real money would come from attracting a corporate sponsor.
“You’d make money — not from the ticket price, but from the advertisement” and concession sales, he said.
Until now, exceptions to the night game ordinance have been limited to outdoor concerts at Wrigley.
Tunney called the movie night idea a “great community amenity” that’s also “family-friendly.”
“I applaud them for building their good will in the community,” he said. Asked how many people might attend, the alderman said, “They’re thinking 3,000 or 4,000 people. It’s a first-time try. We’ll see how it goes. We’ve done a couple of movies in the park in our ward already. They’ve been very successful.”