SBD/Issue 236/Franchises

Ricketts Reportedly Plans To Keep Cubs Chair Crane Kenney

Not Yet Known If Kenney Will Keep Current
Role, Or Be Named Cubs President Instead
Cubs Chair Crane Kenney will "continue with the Cubs after the sale to the Ricketts family is completed," according to Paul Sullivan of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. How long Kenney will remain with the club and "what role he will assume" is unknown. Meanwhile, the Cubs are "likely to shift more games" to CSN Chicago, despite an agreement for WGN to "continue as the primary over-the-air broadcaster." Kenney earlier this year said that cable TV "is the future of the Cubs" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/26). ESPN CHICAGO's Bruce Levine cites sources as saying that Kenney will "continue as the team's point man under Ricketts." It is not known if Kenney will retain his title or be named team president (ESPN.com, 8/26). ESPN CHICAGO cited a source as saying that the Ricketts family is "placing a good deal of importance on keeping 'continuity' at the top of the organization." Kenney has been a "lightning rod of criticism lately, with reporters and columnists criticizing him for everything from inviting a priest to bless the Cubs dugout during the playoffs last year to inappropriate fraternizing with the players." But he has served on the Cubs BOD for a "number of years" and provides "some sense of stability in the organization" (ESPN.com, 8/25). However, CRAIN'S CHICAGO BUSINESS' Ed Sherman writes Ricketts might ask Kenney to "help facilitate with the transition, but that's it." The new era "likely won't include" Kenney. Keeping Kenney "represents business as usual," and that is the "last thing Cubs fans want" (CHICAGOBUSINESS.com, 8/26).

BEST-CASE SCENARIO: CSN Chicago's Steve Stone said the Ricketts are "going to be the best thing that ever happened to the Chicago Cubs." Stone: "I don’t know if they’re going to win right away, but they will win, and one of the things that you can be ensured of is that they’re in it for the long haul, and that’s important. ... There’s always been a face attached to every team that won the World Series. I think that’s the way it’s supposed to work” (“Chicago Tribune Live,” CSN Chicago, 8/25).

Wrigley Field Renovations Not Expected 
For A Couple Of More Years
WRIGLEY RENOVATIONS NOT UPCOMING: CRAIN'S CHICAGO BUSINESS' Mike Colias wrote Cubs fans "shouldn't expect major changes anytime soon" to Wrigley Field, as sources said that a "major overhaul of the 95-year-old park is probably four or five years out." One source added that "even then, the job likely wouldn't exceed" $250M. Colias noted that total "would be far less ambitious" than the $450-600M renovation "envisioned by state officials when they attempted to buy the stadium from Tribune Co. last year." Meanwhile, a source said that the Ricketts family views the "development of the so-called 'triangle building' on the stadium's west side ... as perhaps its biggest new moneymaker." The development "would likely include a restaurant, shops, parking and other amenities," but the source said that the Ricketts family "doesn't yet have firm plans for the project" (CHICAGOBUSINESS.com, 8/25).

DESERT STORM: In Arizona, Sonu Munshi reported Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, City Manager Chris Brady and state House Speaker Kirk Adams are "headed to Chicago mid-September to do whatever they can" to keep the Cubs for Spring Training. The timing of the trip is "no coincidence," as Mesa officials see the sale to Ricketts as a "way to proceed with negotiations on improved spring training facilities for the Cubs" (EAST VALLEY TRIBUNE, 8/25).

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