SBD/April 11, 2014/Franchises

Cubs' Ricketts Expounds On What Family Is Looking For In Minority Investor Hunt

Ricketts said that Wrigley Field attendance is fine, but amenities need to be upgraded
Cubs Chair Tom Ricketts on Thursday said if his family "can find a handful of guys that are great partners and value-added people ... that'd be the best answer" to their search for minority investors in the team. But Ricketts, appearing on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street," added, "It's really early. We don't know how exactly it's all going to go down or what the plan is. But we do know that we've got to start planning for it." He said of finding financing, "Most baseball teams have several dozen limited partners. ... I think for us, it's a matter of just finding the right partners." Meanwhile Ricketts noted the Cubs' payroll has "definitely come down." Ricketts: "Part of that is a lot of those contracts that we had a few years ago have rolled off and part of it now is we've assigned a lot of dollars for the Major League Baseball payroll, (but) this year we couldn't find a lot of great places to put them. So the payroll is where it should be for where we are. It'll grow over time." Ricketts said Wrigley Field attendance "is fine." But the "amenities at Wrigley Field just need to be upgraded." The Wrigley renovations could cost "well over" $300M and save the ballpark "for the next generation" ("Squawk on the Street," CNBC, 4/10).

MORE THE MERRIER: In Chicago, Phil Rosenthal wrote he cannot figure out why "anyone cares if the Ricketts family takes on minority shareholders" for the Cubs. Rosenthal: "Why wouldn't they? ... It's practically free money, and it's not as though the family must give up any real control of the team or its assets. Minority shareholders don't have a voice." Assuming the franchise "follows through on its plan" to start the renovations and build-out of Wrigley when this season is over, it "wouldn't hurt to have some extra money lying around" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 4/9).
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