Chicago’s Landmarks Commission approved a Wrigley Field agreement that will allow the Cubs to display advertisements on the clock that serves as a fixture of the center field scoreboard.
This is an item that has “flown under the radar” amid public debate over what renovations will be made in Wrigleyville.
The mass media has paid a lot of attention to the proposed controversial video screens that could occupy a total of 7,000 square feet in both left and right fields. In June, the Commission approved a “master sign program” that outlines plans to use “45,000 square feet of advertisements on the ballpark’s interior and exterior, roughly double what’s there now,” according to an article in the Chicago Tribune.
This is consistent with the Ricketts family’s promise to generate as much revenue as possible from Wrigley when they purchased the Cubs. And they could be following the example set by the Boston Red Sox, who have recently increased their ad revenue by increasing the amount of ad space in the historic Fenway Park.
Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic for the Tribune Blair Kamin has openly expressed his disapproval of using the scoreboard as ad space.
“If Wrigley Field is a baseball cathedral,” Kamin wrote in the Tribune, “the scoreboard is its culminating apse and the clock is the apse’s crowning flourish. Yet the clock has no Gothic filigree. Just a minimalist circle with white dots and hands on a forest-green backdrop.”
He said that the idea “plunges us into the usual Chicago mix of bossism and bureaucratic ineptitude.”Blair expresses surprise that the Landmark Commission approved this measure and points out that the organization is clueless just as the Cubs team is brazen.
Will advertising detract from the viewer’s aesthetic experience of the historic park, or will the benefits of ad revenue far outway that? Only time will tell.