Cubs Get Ricketts
By Benjy Lipsman in News on Jan 23, 2009 5:20PM
Following a search that has taken almost two years, the Cubs may finally have their new owners. The Tribune Co. selected the bid from the Ricketts family as their favored bid yesterday. It's by no means a done deal, however, as the Ricketts will have to secure financing and pass hurdles with MLB and other team owners. But hopes are to have the deal closed by Opening Day.
The bid is said to be about $900 million and includes the Cubs franchise, Wrigley Field and the team's 25 percent stake in Comcast SportsNet. Not quite the $1 billion many predicted when the sale for the storied franchise was announced in April 2007. But given the Trib's financial state, it's better than no deal.
The Ricketts clan, primarily from Omaha, made their fortune from Joe Ricketts' founding of what is now internet brokerage firm TD Ameritrade -- we guess, given the stock market's losing streak recently, it's only appropriate for them to be buying the Cubs. The family's point person is Tom Ricketts, who has resided in Chicago for over 25 years. Presumably, he'd become the team's chairman once the deal is finalized.
When the Ricketts climb into the owners box, they'll have lots of work ahead of them. They will assume ownership of one of baseball's most storied, if starrcrossed, teams. The fans remain restless in their desire for a World Series title. And Wrigley Field is perhaps the most beloved landmark in all of sports. But the park needs lots of work. How do they balance the legacy of Wrigley's history with the needs for a safe, comfortable and revenue-generating stadium? Stay tuned.