Roof owners, Cubs reach agreement

Settlement would pay team $2 million a season

January 12, 2004|By CHICAGO TRIBUNE

CHICAGO - The Chicago Cubs and owners of rooftop grandstands overlooking Wrigley Field have agreed on a settlement that would require the owners to pay the team millions of dollars annually, officials said yesterday.

The 20-year agreement, which could take effect this season, calls for the owners of 11 buildings to give the Cubs 17 percent of their gross revenue, said Alderman Thomas Tunney. With an estimated 1,700 seats on the rooftops, it could cost owners more than $2 million a year.

Owners of two of the 13 rooftop buildings plan to take the issue to trial.

The Cubs sued the owners in 2002 after talks on the team's bleacher-expansion plan broke down. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago, accused the owners of stealing the team's product, copyright infringement and unjust enrichment at the Cubs' expense.

The Cubs' deal does not affect the team's desire to add about 2,000 bleacher seats, though a source close to the rooftop owners' side argued that by taking a healthy cut on each seat, the team is getting a de-facto expansion.

The Cubs are owned by Tribune Co., which also owns the Chicago Tribune and The Sun.

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