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A Cubs Win In Court Against Rooftop Owners

By Danette Chavez in News on Apr 3, 2015 4:00PM

A rendering of the proposed sign in right field that has been a issue of contention between the Cubs and the rooftop club owners surrounding Wrigley Field. (Image provided by the Chicago Cubs)

We're now in the home stretch for the Chicago Cubs' opening day and a federal judge has ruled that rooftop views are not in the clear for two Wrigleyville businesses.

The Cubs have been battling it out with Skybox on Sheffield and Lakeview Baseball Club over new Wrigley Field signage and ticket revenues for months now, and all three parties had yet another day in court on Monday. The rooftop clubs originally sought an injunction to prevent the team from erecting Jumbotrons and advertising signage, arguing that these installations would obscure views for their clientele. But U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall denied them the temporary restraining order back in February, finding that the businesses had failed to demonstrate how they would be negatively affected by the construction.

Judge Kendall's decision, handed down on Thursday, puts the kibosh on this particular dispute and allows the Cubs to move forward with construction, giant screens and all. In her 35-page ruling (which was, delightfully enough, "littered with baseball puns"), the judge dismissed the rooftop owners' concerns over potential declines in revenue due to limited views of the baseball games, stating "that the patrons who go to the Rooftops do not really go to watch the game at all, and when they do, they see very little of it anyway." (Somewhere, a Chicago White Sox fan is having a really big laugh.)

The plaintiffs do have one last resort: their lawsuit against the Cubs, which claims the north side team violated the revenue-sharing agreement with "unethical" and "unfair" practices, including the Cubs' purchase of other rooftop clubs, is still alive. The suit also alleges there is a "price-fixing scheme" in the works that would favor the Cubs-owned rooftop stands.

The Wrigley Field renovations, which have been beset with problems for their duration, will likely require extra time to be completed. But for now, the Cubs and their owner, Tom Ricketts, are breathing a little easier in advance of their home opener against the St. Louis Cardinals on April 5.