Sam Zell Still Selling Naming Rights, Cubs
By Margaret Lyons in News on Feb 27, 2008 8:29PM
Sam Zell said yesterday that he'd be down with selling the naming rights to Wrigley. Which isn't news exactly. He's been saying that for a while. But he said it again and louder.
Zell was on CNBC yesterday (argh, make that video embeddable) talking about his plan to sell the Cubs, among other things. Zell's selling the team and the naming rights to the stadium separately and says he already has a handful of buyers being vetted by Major League Baseball. "Perhaps the Wrigley Co. will decide that, after getting it for free for so long, that it's time to pay for it," he said. Perhaps you've heard? Zell? He's kinda glib? He also said
Wrigley is an obvious world-wide icon and Wrigley Field is world-wide known. But, in the world of economics, when I bought the Tribune, I didn't get a discount because I wasn't going to use the naming rights that field represents.
And now the Sun-Times is freaking out. "How would you like the sound of Depends Field? Or Preparation H Ballpark?" they pant. Considering how often the Cubs play like ass, would that be so bad? [S-T, AP]
Transcript of the Cubs part of the interview, via CNBC, after the jump....
Cut and pasted from the transcript:
CNBC's Becky Quick: SAM ZELL IS WITH FOR ANOTHER "SQUAWK" EXCLUSIVE. HE'S THE CHAIRMAN OF THE EQUITY GROUP INVESTMENTS. MR. ZELL, THANK YOU FOR BEING WITH US TODAY.
Zell: MY PLEASURE.
Quick: LET'S START OFF TALKING ABOUT THOSE CUBBIES, HOW ARE THINGS GOING SO FAR? ARE YOU FINDING A BUYER FOR THE STADIUM AND TEAM?
Zell: THIS IS A SITUATION WHERE WE OWN THE CUBS. AND WE INTEND TO SELL
THE CUBS. AND WE INTEND TO SELL THE CUBS ON OUR TIME FRAME. AND IN THE
MANNER IN WHICH WE CHOOSE TO DO SO. AND THE FACT THAT OTHER PEOPLE HAVE
OPINIONS AS TO WHAT WE SHOULD OR SHOULDN'T DO IS VERY INTERESTING, JUST
LIKE I COULD HAVE OPINIONS ABOUT WHAT YOU SHOULD DO.
Quick: I AGREE WITH THAT. SO WHAT'S A MANNER THAT YOU THINK -- WHAT'S A
MANNER THAT YOU THINK IS A GOOD TIME FRAME AT THIS POSITION?
Zell: WELL, I THINK THAT WE'VE WORKED ON A STRUCTURE WHERE WE SEPARATE WRIGLEY FIELD FROM THE TEAM. WE THINK THAT'S BEST FOR US. WE THINK THAT'S BEST FOR ANY OWNER AND MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL, WE THINK IT'S BEST FOR THE CITY OF CHICAGO.
Quick: ALTHOUGH THAT HAS STIRRED UP QUITE A BIT OF A DEBATE. WHAT ARE
PEOPLE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THINGS SAYING AND WILL IT SLOW DOWN THE
Zell: EXCUSE ME FOR BEING SARCASTIC, BUT THE IDEA OF A DEBATE OCCURRING
OVER WHAT I SHOULD DO WITH MY ASSET LEAVES ME SOMEWHAT QUESTIONING THE INTEGRITY OF THE DEBATE. I THINK THERE'S A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO WOULD LIKE
TO BUY THE CUBS AND WOULD LIKE TO BUY THE CUBS UNDER THEIR TERMS AND
CONDITIONS. AND UNFORTUNATELY, THEY HAVE TO DEAL WITH ME.
Quick: ALTHOUGH MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL IS A LITTLE BIT OF SOMEBODY WHO
GETS TO GET INVOLVED WITH THIS AS WELL. IT'S DIFFERENT THAN OTHER DEALS.
THEIR GET TO HAVE A SAY, THE OWNERS OF MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL?
Zell: THE WAY THE PROCESS WORKS, MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL APPROVES A
SERIES OF POTENTIAL CANDIDATES. SO IN THIS CASE, I THINK WE'VE ALREADY HAD FOUR OR SIX GROUPS THAT HAVE BEEN APPROVED BY MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL TO BE AN OWNER OF THE CUBS. SO I DON'T THINK THE MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL ELEMENT IS GOING TO BE MUCH OF AN ISSUE. BECAUSE ANY ONE OF THOSE GROUPS,AS FAR AS I KNOW, WOULD BE FINE.
Then the conversation turned to economics and finance stuff and we stopped caring.