A visit to the iconic Wrigley Field in Chicago, IL, could be very different in the future. The field is home to the Chicago Cubs, who teamed up with DraftKings last year, and the idea since then has been to have a massive sportsbook at the stadium. That dream moved closer to reality this week after the Cubs received one of the many approvals it needs to develop the facility.
DraftKings Coming to Wrigley Field
DraftKings started sponsoring the Chicago Cubs about a year ago and, as part of the agreement, the sportsbook introduced sports betting on game days. The ultimate goal, however, was to see an innovative sportsbook installed, even though both the Cubs and DraftKings knew that they faced an uphill battle. Not only is Wrigley Field, first opened in 1914 as Weeghman Park, a local icon, but it is also a national treasure.
The Commission on Chicago Landmarks (CCL) gave its approval yesterday for the sportsbook, potentially opening the door for the facility to be built. However, there are still a number of hurdles that will have to be jumped, not the least of which is that there is still no local law that allows sportsbooks inside sports facilities. An ordinance was submitted by a Chicago alderman last month to change that, but it is still with the City Council’s Rules Committee. That committee has to approve it before the City Council weighs in. Then, the Illinois Gaming Board has to greenlight the project, as well.
In addition to the local maze that lies ahead, there are still other, possibly more difficult, approvals needed. Most notably, the Cubs have to work with the National Park Service in order to get it to sign off on the project, given that Wrigley Field is listed as an official National Historic Landmark. That might prove to be an issue as federal politics come into play.
Cubs, DraftKings Plan Massive Sportsbook
According to the initial designs of the new book, it will be a two-story, triangular building spanning a total of 22,350 square feet. It is projected to be built at the stadium’s southeast corner, running along Sheffield Avenue and Addison Street. This area is where the statue of Harry Caray used to reside, as well as being the former home of the Captain Morgan Club. It comes with all the amenities expected of a first-class sportsbook, as well as a roof deck.
Receiving the first approval was a step in the right direction, but no one is ready to start celebrating yet. Everyone involved knows that there is a long road ahead; however, as the sports industry changes, it’s important to keep up. Chicago Cubs spokesperson Julian Green said in an email to the Chicago Tribune after the CCL gave its approval yesterday, “While the game of baseball has largely been the same for the last 150 years, the fans have changed. The way they consume baseball is different through emerging technology and content platforms. Sports wagering is becoming a big part of that change and this sportsbook will allow us to connect fans to the game in new ways.”