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Cubs draft Budweiser for right-field sign in Wrigley beer deal

An artist's rendering show right-field positithwill be occupied by Budweiser logo 2014.

An artist's rendering show the right-field position that will be occupied by Budweiser logo in 2014.

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Updated: October 8, 2013 6:08AM



Out with the Old Style, in with a new Budweiser logo set to adorn the controversial right-field sign planned for Wrigley Field.

The Cubs announced Friday that they’ve reached a deal to make Anheuser-Busch their “exclusive marketing partner” for beer and malt beverages at Wrigley and the organization’s new spring training facility in Mesa, Ariz.

The new agreement means a Budweiser logo could adorn the new sign as early as 2014, said Cubs spokesman Julian Green.

It also means Old Style signs Cubs fans have been accustomed to seeing in the ballpark will be removed.

“As a result of these agreements, our marketing relationship with Old Style will not continue in 2014,” the Cubs said in a statement. “This was a very difficult decision following a decades-long relationship we enjoyed with this great brand. We will continue to offer Old Style and Old Style Light to our fans for our remaining games.”

The Cubs haven’t announced their beer lineup for next season but promise to have “a diverse beer portfolio that complements Cubs Baseball.”

The Cubs announced the Budweiser deal even as a dispute with rooftop owners continues over the planned right-field sign and a video scoreboard in left field. The team has previously threatened to put up the right-field sign immediately if the disagreement wasn’t settled, and the sponsorship announcement appears to add more heft to that warning.

Earlier this week, Ald. Tom Tunney (44th), whose ward includes Wrigley, rejected a Cubs plan to install a deck hanging over Sheffield intended to limit the impact of the right-field sign on the views from the rooftop seats. The Cubs say the plan — building on a suggestion from the rooftop owners — is intended to help resolve the ongoing dispute.

But Tunney said he opposes the nearly block-long deck because he doesn’t want fans drinking liquor over a public street.

The rooftop owners have threatened to sue the Cubs if the new signs block their views.

Green disputed a suggestion that announcing the Budweiser deal now is a slap in the face to the rooftop owners.

“This is the time of year when every baseball team in the league is trying to renew corporate partnerships or go after new partnerships and sell all available assets to raise revenues for their ballclubs,” Green said. “We are no different in that regard. This particular deal has absolutely nothing to do with the rooftops, and it has everything to do with us putting as much revenue back into this team to accomplish our goal of winning a world championship.”

Green would not discuss the financial terms of the Budweiser deal.

Email: sesposito@suntimes.com

Twitter: @slesposito



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