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Chicago Cubs strike Anheuser-Busch deal

MLB baseball team Chicago Cubs have signed a sponsorship agreement with the Anheuser-Busch brewery.

Anheuser-Busch will be the Cubs’ official marketing partner for beer and alcoholic drinks at its Wrigley Field home and spring training facility in Mesa, Arizona. The terms of the partnership were undisclosed.

The deal ends a long-running relationship with Old Style, which has held a marketing agreement with the Cubs for 62 years, and means signage promoting the Chicago beer will be removed from Wrigley Field for 2014.

Significantly, reports in the Chicago Tribune and Bloomberg Businessweek suggest the Cubs will erect a large sign promoting Anheuser-Busch’s flagship Budweiser brand at right-field that could obstruct the view for spectators on the Wrigleyville rooftops – where owners of the apartments adjacent to the ballpark charge fans to sit on top of their buildings.

The apartments have developed into a cottage industry, providing food and refreshments for fans. After being sued by the Cubs in 2004, the rooftop owners agreed to pay the franchise 17 per cent of their revenues if Wrigley Field promised to leave views unobstructed until 2023.

The proposed Budweiser sign is part of an extensive renovation at the 99-year-old ballpark, which includes the installation of a Jumbotron screen in left field – again obscuring the view from some rooftops.

"This is the time of year when every baseball team in the league is trying to renew corporate partnerships or go after new partnerships and sell all available assets to raise revenues for their ballclubs," Chicago Cubs spokesman Julian Green told the Chicago Sun-Times.

"This particular deal has absolutely nothing to do with the rooftops, and it has everything to do with us putting as much revenue back into this team to accomplish our goal of winning a world championship."