Cubs Reportedly Seeking $30M to Upgrade Wrigley Security for ASG Bid

Looks like the White Sox aren’t the only team seeking public money for a ballpark upgrade, though this isn’t quite the same as asking for $1 billion or more. According to a report in Crain’s Chicago Business, the Cubs are planning to ask Mayor Brandon Johnson for $30 million to increase security around Wrigley Field as part of the club’s bid for an upcoming All-Star Game. They’ve been mentioned in connection to the Midsummer Classic for several years now and the next opening is in 2027, giving them plenty of time to get ready.

There was hope that the Cubs could land the event in 2025, but it’ll instead head to Atlanta between stops in Arlington and Philadephia. Despite the massive differences in total cost, there are some similarities between the Cubs’ perpetual ASG bid and Jerry Reinsdorf or other owners tacitly threatening to move elsewhere. It’s all just a big bargaining chip, albeit one the Cubs haven’t used very effectively.

They were constantly at odds with local alderman Tom Tunney and their sparring sessions with City Hall really picked up when Mayor Rahm Emanuel was in office. The sides have wrangled over access to amusement taxes generated by games, alcohol sales outside the ballpark, and street closures during day games. Back in 2017, Emanuel’s administration demanded the team comply with a six-part plan to upgrade security around Wrigley that included the addition of 30 new cameras that were integrated into the city’s network of 29,000 public and private cameras.

“In the past year alone, we have committed more than $1 million to expand OEMC’s (Office of Emergency Management and Communications) camera network, invested millions of dollars into additional security personnel, provided canines and metal detection screening capabilities, and added off-hours security on the streets of Lakeview,” Cubs spokesman Julian Green wrote in a statement.

Man, cameras must have gotten way more expensive over the last few years. Or it’s that the $30 million is what it’ll cost to install crash-rated metal bollards — security barriers — around the ballpark for an event like the All-Star game, as Green confirmed to Crain’s.

This is obviously one of those situations in which the Cubs are pitching the big revenue boost as justification for an expenditure that will end up looking paltry by comparison. But as with so many things on the organization’s business side, the timing here leaves a bit to be desired. Even if they’re entirely unrelated, you have to admit it’s a pretty funny coincidence that this news came out a day after the Cubs agreed to a new deal that will pay Cody Bellinger [checks notes] $30 million this season.

If I’m the mayor’s office, I’m throwing the same logic right back at Tom Ricketts and Crane Kenney. Given how much of Wrigleyville is owned and operated by Marquee Development and Hickory Street Capital, it stands to reason that the Cubs will bring in more than enough over the course of the All-Star festivities to cover all manner of bollards and still have enough left to buy or build another bar.

Even though it’s not a big deal one way or the other, it sure feels like there are plenty more deserving causes to which the city could allocate $30 million in public funds.

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