(670 The Score) The Cubs have tried to land the MLB All-Star Game since chairman Tom Ricketts and his family bought the franchise from the Tribune Co. in 2009, but there have been various reasons for that failing to come to fruition.
Initially, the Cubs had been assured that the All-Star Game would come to Wrigley Field once the expensive stadium renovation was completed. That work was completed in 2019, but the timetable has been held up by the organization’s latest annex to Wrigley Field, which is the construction of a new two-story sportsbook in partnership with DraftKings.
The sportsbook isn’t projected to be completed until the second quarter of 2023, which the Cubs knew would prohibit them from hosting the All-Star Game until 2024 at the earliest. The All-Star Game will be held at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles this July 19, and it will be held in Seattle in 2023. MLB hasn’t yet named a host for 2024.
The Cubs haven’t hosted the All-Star Game since 1990.
"It seems like it is our turn,” president of business operations Crane Kenney said on Inside the Clubhouse on Saturday. “We last had it in 1990, and there are only 30 teams in baseball. During the reconstruction of Wrigley, it was obvious we wouldn't host the game until the ballpark was done. With the sportsbook the last major project on the schedule, that will be finished by the second quarter of (2023). It will put us in a good place to get the game with the league.”
Another factor that needs addressed for the Cubs’ desire to host the All-Star Game revolves around cooperation and coordination with the city of Chicago. A city needs to meet the security demands that MLB requires for an All-Star Game to be granted to a host city.
Proper barriers (such as concrete retaining walls and embankments) that meet MLB’s requirements must be in place around the outside of the ballpark to guarantee the perimeter is secure for the busy event. The city would also need to acquiesce and close off streets around Wrigley Field for the event.
“It’s up to the city, MLB and us to help get this done,” Kenney said. “There are some infrastructure and mostly security issues around Wrigley that the city needs to complete. We are working with (the city of Chicago) to get them done. Once we get those things done to the league’s satisfaction, we are hopefully one of the most deserving to get it.
"It's us, the league and the city involved in the process. What you are seeing is that cities are rewarded for significant investments in the facilities. An All-Star Game in the city of Chicago would likely generate $75 (million) to a $100 million in economic activity for the city. So that is a real nice boon for the city typically because all of the ballparks during the All-Star break except the host city are empty.”
When it comes to infrastructure, a city also needs a large facility to host a fan fest event in during the All-Star festivities and a large venue for a gala. MLB must approve the venues that will be used for those.
MLB has received many inquiries from the Cubs about hosting the All-Star Game when their sportsbook is completed at Wrigley Field.
"There are numerous factors when considering an All-Star bid from a potential host club,” MLB chief communications officer Patrick Courtney said. “A club must submit a proposal with a plan and commitments that demonstrate appropriate coordination with the host market, a venue to be able to stage numerous fan events. They must have ample hotel space for the thousands of visitors from around the world. They must show that the team, city and MLB can jointly execute a successful event. MLB strives to make every All-Star event game a first-class event that is tailored to the host market. The clubs’ preparation and research go a long way in the ability to deliver on that goal.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.