SBD/September 5, 2013/Franchises

Cubs' Tom Ricketts Does Not Promise Splashy Moves To Reverse On-Field Woes

Ricketts said the Cubs need more revenue lines to improve financial flexibility
Cubs Chair Tom Ricketts yesterday "promised no splashy, expensive moves to reverse four consecutive years of losing on the field and at the gate," and he made "no assurances that the third-highest ticket prices in the sport would get ­reduced for next season," according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. While Ricketts "acknowledged the team’s lingering purchase debt is a factor in spending ability, he said it’s 'a lot less than you think.'" He added that baseball budgets set by ownership are not "holding back anything" President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein and Exec VP & GM Jed Hoyer "are trying to do with the club." Ricketts: "On the business side, we have to continue to develop more revenue lines so that we can have more financial flexibility in the future, and we’re doing that with stadium renovations and other media contracts that are coming up in the future.” He added that the clubhouse and training facilities planned for underneath the existing clubhouse and workout room are “'probably not going to' be ready for the 2014 opener as originally planned, 'but it’s a priority for us.'” Wittenmyer notes what remains "clear is that the baseball practices one sport economist described as 'mid-market' figure to continue until at least the Jumbotron revenues or Class A prospects starting coming in -- maybe both." Ricketts said, "In terms of attendance, the way I look at it is we have to win. We have to get a more exciting team. We’re not disappointed with this year’s attendance. We’ll be in the 2.7 (million) range. But obviously, it’s incumbent upon us to make sure we put a more compelling team on the field, and attendance will take care of itself" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 9/5).

RAISE THE ROOF: In Chicago, Fran Spielman notes Chicago alderman Tom Tunney yesterday "ruled out resolving the dispute between the Cubs and rooftop club owners standing in the way of renovating Wrigley Field by allowing a deck that would hover over and darken Sheffield Avenue." Tunney said that he "opposes the nearly block-long Sheffield deck for the same reason he nixed a proposed pedestrian bridge over Clark Street" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 9/5).
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