The Chicago Cubs were greenlighted on Thursday by the Commission on Chicago Landmarks to build a proposed two-story sportsbook adjacent to the ballpark in partnership with DraftKings. This gets the MLB team closer to hosting legal sports betting at Wrigley Field.
The sportsbook would be located at Addison Street and Sheffield Avenue, at the southeast corner of Wrigley Field.
However, the project still needs the approval of the City Council, which has to sign off on a proposed ordinance enabling Chicago sports venues to get sports wagering licenses, as well as approval from the Illinois Gaming Board.
The team is already reviewing the proposed sportsbook design with the National Park Service, as it is a mandatory approval instance after the ballpark’s designation last year as a National Historic Landmark.
The 22,350-square-foot building replaces a previously approved but similar design earmarked for the corner as part of the $1 billion renovation in and around Wrigley Field.
According to the Chicago Tribune, at the Chicago landmarks hearing, Wrigleyville Ald. Tom Tunney, 44th, expressed concerns about potential logistical problems related to trash pickup, but did not have a problem with the proposed sportsbook from a historical preservation perspective.
All of the proposed changes have passed, and Wrigley Field’s designation as a National Historic Landmark last year was seen as an endorsement that the integrity of the 107-year-old ballpark had been preserved. It also makes the team eligible for millions of dollars in historic preservation tax credits.
“We continue to work to balance the interests of preservation and of our building, which we know is a treasure to the city, with continuing to make it an exciting destination for our fans and to be able to add amenities that allow them to continue to enjoy it,” Cubs Vice President Mike Lufrano said at the hearing.
“While the game of baseball has largely been the same for the last 150 years, the fans have changed,” said Cubs spokesman Julian Green as reported by The Chicago Tribune. “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.”
Last month, a proposal to allow sportsbooks at Chicago sports venues was introduced at City Council. According to the Chicago Tribune, Ald. Walter Burnett, 27th, who sponsored the bill, said Thursday a revised version of the proposed ordinance is being worked up and it may take a while to get it approved.
The Illinois Sports Wagering Act allowed the state’s 10 casinos, three horse tracks and the seven largest sports facilities to acquire a sports gaming license at an initial fee of no greater than $10 million each.
On Thursday, the Illinois Gaming Board opened up applications for three online-only licenses available at $20 million each, which were also authorized under the sports wagering act. The board will accept applications through December 3, and will announce the winning bidders within 90 days after that.