Thursday, April 3, 2014

EXTRA: Want a piece of the Cubs?

Have you ever fantasized about owning a piece of the Chicago Cubs?

Helping to pay to fix up Wrigley Field could get you a minority partnership in the ball club?
Personally, I can’t comprehend why anyone in their right mind would want to. But to each his own, and now it seems there’s a chance you might actually be able to buy a bit of the ball club that represents Chicago in the National League.

NOT THAT YOU’D get your chance to do anything in the way of changing the way things work at Clark and Addison streets.

For, as reported by Comcast SportsNet and Crain’s Chicago Business, nothing is definite yet. But the Ricketts family that owns majority control of the team reportedly is considering selling a few shares of the team.

Their intent is to come up with the $500 million it is estimated it will cost to do a series of renovations on Wrigley Field to ensure that the building will be structurally sound enough to be in use for several more decades, while still having amenities that will allow it to compete with the newest stadiums and all their special (cash-generating) features.

The Ricketts family is wealthy. And my guess is that part of the reason they got so much money is because they don’t go around spending it if they can get someone else to.

SO THE FACT that the Rickettses want a remodeled stadium doesn’t mean they’re going to mortgage the family fortune to get it done.

Get a series of investors to put up the cash, and reward them with shares of the ball club. Not enough for them to have control. But enough that they can go walking around with their chests puffed out saying, “I own the Chicago Cubs!!!”

I suppose it’s no different than the Chicago White Sox situation, where there are many people who own a part of the ball club – some of whom have been around since the days when Bill Veeck ran the team. But they’re all pledged loyal to Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, and they don’t try to run anything.

I suppose it’s the next step up from those personal seat licenses some professional sports franchises sell to people. You have to cough up a significant amount of cash in order to have the right to buy tickets to individual games.

SO THE NEXT time you venture to Wrigley Field (I want to say that the last time I went there, they played the Montreal Expos – it’s been awhile), just think. You may wind up finding yourself sitting next to an “owner” of the team.

You can guzzle back your Old Style-brand beer (why some people feel such a love for it that the ball club reached an agreement to keep it, despite the dominance of Anheuser-Busch products throughout the ball park is something I’ll never comprehend) while listening to him tell you what he’d do differently – if only he had a real say in the team.

Just something to think about, if you’re amongst those willing to put up with the predicted 48-degree temperatures and overcast skies just to see the Philadelphia Phillies give the Cubbies a Friday afternoon Opening Day pounding!


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