A group of Wrigley rooftop businesses sued the Chicago Cubs and team chairman Tom Ricketts in federal court Tuesday, accusing the team of violating the terms of its revenue-sharing contract and trying to create a price-fixing scheme that would monopolize the market for game tickets.
The investors, led by Edward McCarthy, own the businesses at Lakeview Baseball Club, at 3633 N. Sheffield Ave., and Skybox at Sheffield, at 3627 N. Sheffield. They want a financial judgment as well as injunctive relief that prohibits the Cubs from blocking the views into Wrigley from the rooftops.
The Cubs have approval from the city for six advertising signs, including a large-scale video board in left field, part of a $375 million renovation project that began in the fall.
The 58-page filing purports to pull the curtain back on meetings and negotiations with Ricketts and team executives. In it, the investors allege that the Cubs told the rooftop businesses they were causing demand for Cubs tickets inside Wrigley to drop and sought a solution by creating a price-fixing operation. When the rooftop businesses declined, the team used the proposed signs to intimidate them into selling or have their views obstructed.
“We don’t like you competing against our bleachers and grandstands,” Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney allegedly told McCarthy last year after the city approved the team’s package. “How hard is it going to be to sell tickets when you have no glimpse of Wrigley Field?”