SBD/Issue 234/FranchisesPrint All
Ricketts Family Will Have
Full Control Of Cubs
COVERING THE BASES: In Chicago, David Roeder noted Tribune Co. currently is negotiating with lenders over a $13B debt load, and "how the proceeds of the Cubs sale will be handled will be decided at future hearings." Tribune Co. Chair Sam Zell said, "The Ricketts family will be a great steward of the franchise. They have a strong respect for the team, for the fans and for what the Cubs mean to the city of Chicago" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 8/22). Meanwhile, the TRIBUNE's Sachdev cited sources as saying that WGN radio and TV will "retain long-term broadcast rights to the team under the deal." WGN Radio VP & GM Tom Langmyer said the station will "remain as the radio play-by-play home for the Chicago Cubs, and we look forward to our continued partnership with the club for many years to come." Sachdev noted the media rights "became a source of contention in negotiations," as the rights provide a "significant source of revenue" for team owners. But both sides "ended up compromising on media rights," lowering the purchase price originally set to close at about $900M (CHICAGOTRIBUNE.com, 8/21).
OVER-ZELLOUS: The SUN-TIMES' Roeder reported Zell's "long process" for selling the Cubs "probably cost his debt-strapped company at least" $150M. Sources close to the sale claim that Zell could have attracted about $1B for the team "if only he'd acted quickly a year ago." However, he instead "hatched a plan" to sell Wrigley to the state of Illinois, which "delayed the sale of the team for months, at a time the economy was worsening and lenders began cutting off promises of credit." By late '08, getting $1B in the sale was "out of the question" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 8/23).
Crane Kenney's Future As Cubs Chair Will Be
Crucial Decision For The Ricketts Family
Sources Indicate A $200-250M Project Will
Create New Bars, Restaurants At Wrigley Field
A FEW WORDS OF ADVICE: In Chicago, Mary Ellen Podmolik wrote Ricketts should "go into the community, be accessible, state a goal and back that up with the team's behavior." The team "isn't owned by a corporation anymore, and after so many months of uncertainty it's time for fans to get a feel for the personalities and the perspectives of the Ricketts family." Blackhawks Chair Rocky Wirtz said, "Go out there and talk to people. The fans need to know the owner." Univ. of Oregon Warsaw Sports Marketing Center Managing Dir Paul Swangard: "Ownership can set the tone for the operation. Fans do care that the owners are, in essence, committed to the same thing that they are" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/23).
Soriano Hopes New Owner Will Lead To
Better Team, More Shots At Winning
GONE WITH THE WIND: In Chicago, Dan McGrath wrote the sale relieves Chicago Tribune Sports Editor Mike Kellams of an "obstinate problem: how to provide fair, balanced and objective coverage of a team your parent company happens to own." McGrath served as Sports Editor from '98-'02, and he wrote, "'Covering' the team objectively hasn't been difficult." McGrath: "Colleagues past and present have followed the Cubs with a highly critical eye for the entire 28-year run of common ownership. ... It's the perception that we're soft on the Cubs or that we favor them over the White Sox -- that's what has given us all frequent heartburn." Former Tribune Sports Editor Tim Franklin said, "The larger issue was dealing with the public perception that the Tribune gave the Cubs favorable treatment. I heard complaints from senior people with the other pro teams in the city. More than that, though, I heard it from readers." But McGrath noted in his 12 years as an editor with the paper, there was "not a single instance of a top editor or a suit from the Tower suggesting we go easy on the Cubs or play down the White Sox" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/23). McGrath added, "It’s been hard for us, the joint ownership thing. No matter what we did, we could not convince people that we were neutral as far as covering the two teams is concerned" ("Chicago Tribune Live," CSN Chicago, 8/21). A CHICAGO TRIBUNE editorial stated, "The fact that the Cubs and this newspaper have been corporate cousins is a constant vexation for Tribune sportswriters and editors: No matter the coverage, some readers ... will accuse the paper of rampant favoritism. ... In future years, we'll miss the cousins" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/23).
Sansone Jr. May Soon Join
Barrie As Lightning Owner
TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE? The GLOBE & MAIL's David Shoalts cited sources as saying that Barrie is "likely to throw in the towel on his one-year run as co-owner ... next Saturday, clearing the way" for Koules to take over. It "looks as if Barrie has to drop out before his September deadline because he is fighting to save" his B.C.-based Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa. Barrie "needs to work out a new financing deal" on the development, as he and his investors have been "whipsawed by falling prices and the drying up of bank credit" (GLOBE & MAIL, 8/22).
Glendale Contends Moyes
Received Improper Payments
MELNYK UNHAPPY: The CP's B.H. McKenna reported Senators Owner Eugene Melnyk Friday took RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie "to task" and called himself the "victim of a Balsillie 'cheap shot.'" Melnyk, who Thursday issued a "lengthy statement responding to the latest court filings on behalf of Balsillie," said that Balsillie "simply isn't playing by the rules." Melnyk: "Yes, it's etiquette, but it's more than that. It's about fair play." Melnyk said that he has "spoken with Balsillie twice" since the court filing, but Melnyk "dismissed his response as 'unsatisfactory'" (CP, 8/21). Sources close to Balsillie said that he "never meant to embarrass Melnyk by bringing up his fines with the Ontario Security Commission." A source said that Melnyk's name was "brought up 'reluctantly' and only as a means 'to show context into how (Balsillie) has been portrayed by the NHL." The source: "We don't feel character is an issue at all" (TORONTO STAR, 8/22). In Toronto, Steve Simmons wrote among the "really stupid things Jim Balsillie has done in his attempt to secure an NHL franchise, nothing was dumber than taking a pot shot" at Melnyk, who was "one of Balsillie's few allies around" (TORONTO SUN, 8/23).
Writers Upset With How Coyotes
Situation Has Been Handled
Introductory Press Conference For Strasburg
Includes Fireworks, Jersey Presentation
KEEPING THE THRONE: Mets Owner Fred Wilpon Saturday, when asked about the future of GM Omar Minaya, said, "Am I going to bring Omar back next year? Absolutely. That's a fact." Minaya later said Mets manager Jerry Manuel "is my guy," inferring Manuel will return for the '10 season. In N.Y., Joel Sherman wrote Wilpon "just assured that the main faces of the 2009 humiliation will return next year." What will be "interesting now is how the Mets try to spin this; how they attempt to convince their fans that Minaya and Manuel are the best duo equipped to pull them out of this death swirl" (N.Y. POST, 8/23).
MAGIC CARPET RIDE: In Philadelphia, Michael Klein noted the Phillies last week started selling "old clubhouse carpet" from last season, cutting it into 18-by-24 inch pieces featuring player numbers, MLB hologram stickers and "World Series Champions" patches. The carpet featuring the number of a "bench player" will cost $150, while a patch for players such as 1B Ryan Howard or 2B Chase Utley is selling for $250 (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 8/23).
CLOSING TIME: In Ft. Worth, Jim Reeves reported the MLB Rangers in October will close their Legends of the Game Museum and "plan to redesign the space in hopes of better using it to generate" more revenue, "another sign of the times when it comes to the Rangers' financial distress." Rangers Exec VP/Communications John Blake: "We need to make it more financially solvent. As a stand-alone museum, it just doesn't generate any revenue." The team hopes to "have the new space ready" by the start of next season (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 8/23).