More than 2,000 Cubs season-ticket holders will be without the seats they purchased until May 11 or later because of added delays to the Wrigley Field renovation project, Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney said Saturday.
The first phase of the multiyear project long was known to be
delayed, with bleacher-related reconstruction problems in October and November assuring that those seating areas would be unavailable by the season opener Sunday, April 5. But continued
issues with the weather and other factors have pushed back the opening of the left-field bleachers until May 11, and the right-field bleachers won’t be ready until at least the next homestand in May because of additional sewer work, Kenney said.
And forget about the center-field bleachers. Because of ‘‘ingress and egress’’ access related to the two other sections, they likely will be closed until at least May 11, too, Kenney said.
The most obvious question from fans and media seemed to be, ‘‘Wasn’t this foreseeable?’’
‘‘We always knew this [timeline] was going to be a challenge,’’ Kenney told fans during the business-operations session of the Cubs Convention. ‘‘We were hopeful we could find some time [to make up] in the process. We didn’t find the time.’’
Kenney said the Cubs are confident the bleacher opening won’t be pushed back beyond the May dates.
‘‘I hope everyone understands this is really the first major renovation anyone’s ever done to Wrigley,’’ chairman Tom Ricketts said of a project Kenney said will cost $575 million.
The Cubs outlined three options for affected season-ticket holders to be compensated:
1. A refund for all games before May 11 (or more, if applicable).
2. Credit on the ticket owner’s account for the lost games.
3. Relocation to another area of the ballpark for affected games.
Fans must notify the Cubs of their preference, via wrigleyfield.com, by Jan. 29; otherwise, credit will be applied to accounts as a
default choice. The notification date is tied to determining which seats will be available for single-game sales, which open in early March.
Cubs officials vowed no home games will be moved from Wrigley under any scenario. Kenney said that option was examined and dropped two years ago.
‘‘Listen, we’re rebuilding a 100-year-old facility,’’ Kenney said. ‘‘There are going to be inconveniences for everybody — for us, for you and for our fans — as we get this done. It’s just a reality.’’
What will be completed in time for the Cubs’ nationally televised opener against the St. Louis Cardinals is the larger of two planned videoboards, which will be located in left field. That doesn’t require the same level of support structure, the team said.
The support structure for the bleachers, on the other hand, requires monthlong curing processes at temperatures higher than 35 degrees for the massive concrete pours.
‘‘You might actually look out there and see the steps and risers [on April 5], and it’s going to look like it’s occupyable,’’ Kenney said. ‘‘But it actually has to sit for about 28 days.
‘‘We were hopeful that if we could get everything poured and the weather cooperated, it might be able to be cured by early April. And we’re going to miss it. The issue on this part is we’re going to do it right and thoughtful, like we try and do everything. And if we miss the month of April, we do. And that’s unfortunate, but that’s the reality we’re facing.’’