Even the franchises most resistant to change are seeing the benefit of new video boards. The Chicago Cubs, which didn’t even install lights at Wrigley Field until 1988, were the only team in the league without video screens. The manually operated green scoreboard in center field was suitable for many years.
While that scoreboard still stands, the club added two HD video boards before the 2015 season: a 3,990-sf screen in left field and a 2,400-sf board in right field. The Cubs conducted surveys and held focus groups, and found that fans had a preference of what they wanted to see on the boards: replays of important moments of the game, relevant stats like pitch speed and the official scorer’s ruling, and videos of memorable Cubs moments.
“They didn’t want to see kiss cams or cartoonish effects,” says Julian Green, the Cubs’ VP of Communications and Community Affairs. “They wanted to make sure it was baseball-centric.”
The video boards are part of a much larger redevelopment plan, dubbed the 1060 Project, that is changing many aspects of the 102-year-old ballpark. The Building Team includes VOA Associates, ICON Venue Group, D’Agostino Izzo Quirk Architects, Harboe Architects, and Pepper Construction.
The team renovated its famed bleachers during Phase One last year, stripping away old seats and building anew. The seating configurations weren’t altered substantially—only 300 seats were added, and the rise and run of the rows remained the same—but the key was incorporating more space. The Cubs purchased sidewalks on Waveland and Sheffield avenues, the two streets beyond the bleachers, a move that allowed the team to build porches and standing-room-only decks.
New bathrooms with more fixtures are intended to keep the lines moving, and more concession stands will increase points of sales. A 100,000-sf multi-level sub-basement underneath a planned plaza will eventually house food preparation facilities. A new clubhouse was added this year.
Future stadium renovation plans include improving concourses, expanding the luxury suites, and constructing multiple clubs for season ticket holders.
“While there’s been constant change as part of the evolution of this ballpark over the years, it’s still the same structure that was built in 1914,” says Green. “I don’t think the architects or the builders ever imagined that three million people a year would be coming into this ballpark.”