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Cubs Taking Longer To Sell, Too

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Jan 21, 2008 5:51PM

It's not just your suburban-bound friend's condo that's taking longer to sell -- the Cubs sale is proceeding slower than Sam Zell predicted due to real estate uncertainties as well.

2008_01_sports_cubs_conv.jpgDuring this past weekend's annual Cubs Convention at the Chicago Hilton & Towers, management addressed the biggest concerns for fans this year. Among those was the sale of the team and the future of Wrigley Field.

A seminar with Cubs management was standing-room-only as Cubs Chairman Crane Kenney, vp of business operations Mark McGuire, and director of ticket operations Frank Maloney answered heated questions from fans.

Among the news they divulged: the attempted sale of Wrigley Field to the state's Facilities Authority is lengthening the timeline for the Tribune Co. to sell the team. Their stated reason for wanting the state to purchase the stadium is to ensure that the team stays in Chicago and stays in Wrigley Field. "We'd like to bind the new owner to play at Clark and Addison for the foreseeable future," said Kenney.

Really? Because we're pretty sure it's just to maximize the total sale proceeds by splitting up the assets. Does anybody really think that the new owner is going to pack up the team and move them so much as two blocks away? Wrigley Field is what sells the tickets -- in good times and bad.

Of course, who knows if it'll even still be called Wrigley Field by opening day. Fans asked about the publicly mentioned possibility of selling naming rights, at which point McGuire claimed that management "feels a certain amount of angst as we talk about every change and how to do it the right way."

Yet just a day before, Kenney issued not so subtle threats at the Wrigley Co. He told the media earlier in the weekend, "Nobody wants to see the name change. And in my perfect world, the Wrigley Co. would step up and start paying for what they've been getting free all these years." And if they don't will it become -- as one fan feared -- Pepto Bismol Field? Or even worse, Macy's Stadium? Should certainly be an interesting winter to see how this whole stadium issue shakes out...

While the focus of concern for fans this year was clearly on the business issues, Cubs fans did have some worrying to do about the team on the field, too, in spite of the team's playoff appearance in 2007.

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