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A key to achieving that goal, he said during an appearance Monday before the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce, is the preservation and improvement of 98-year-old Wrigley Field. Ricketts made his pitch for support for the team acquiring $200 million in public funds to make that happen.
“We need to improve it. When everyone is in their chairs, they’re pretty happy. When they have to get up to get in line for the washroom or food, then some of the shortcomings step up and you can kind of see them. So it’s definitely our goal to preserve the park for the next generation of fans, as well as improve the amenities for the people who come today,” he said.
...He said he believes “people are starting to get” that Wrigley Field is in a unique situation regarding the way it is funded, and he’s confident a solution can be found. When it is, he urged everyone to contact their local politicians for support.
“There’s 30 teams in baseball, and there’s really two ways that you finance your stadium. One model, which about 25 teams use, is that you have a public agency build and provide you a stadium and you pay rent and expenses and some sort of amusement tax,” Ricketts said. “The five other teams use a different model where they cover all of their expenses, but they don’t pay any taxes. Believe it or not, Chicago has a hybrid model where you cover all of your own expenses, remain totally private and pay the second-highest taxes in the league.”