Results tagged ‘ Crane Kenney ’

12/4 Ticket prices, Spring Training, skating & more

The Cubs recognize these are tough economic times, so ticket prices for 2010 home games will essentially be flat for 50 percent of the seats. The “bronze” and “silver” level ticket prices will basically stay the same, while the “gold” tickets on average will increase about $2 and the “platinum” level will increase on average about $5.

“This isn’t the year to go crazy on ticket price increases,” Cubs president Crane Kenney said Friday. “The Ricketts [family] made it clear in their opening press conference that all of the profits in the business stay in the business.”

Kenney addressed some other Cubs topics at Wrigley Field:

* SEASON TICKETS: Attention anyone on the waiting list: There’s hope. Right now, there are about 120,000 people on the waiting list. The Cubs will have 700 new tickets available for 2010. Kenney said existing season ticket holders will be allowed to relocate to the now available locations if they chose. Stay tuned for more information on that.

* SPRING TRAINING: The Cubs should have an announcement in January about whether they will keep their Spring Training headquarters in Arizona or move to Florida for the 2012 season. The team has narrowed its list to two sites in Collier County near Naples, Fla., and two sites in Maricopa County, Ariz., including one linked to the Gila River Indian Reservation.

“The way we’re sizing this up is we’ve had a great 50 years in Arizona and they’ve been great partners,” Kenney said. “What [Cubs chairman] Tom [Ricketts] and the family is looking at is where should we spend the next 50 years.”

Naples has become a very viable option, and the Cubs do recognize that travel will be an issue in Florida. The closest teams are in Fort Myers, where the Red Sox and Twins both train. Kenney said he is considering all factors, including the demographics of the two states, to determine the best place to make a sizable investment.

“From the attractiveness of the business offers, it’s certainly even,” Kenney said.

The Cubs aren’t looking to build a smaller Wrigley Field, but replicate the Wrigley experience, he said. They want fans to be able to walk to the ballpark from their hotel and have restaurants, retail and golf nearby. Mesa Mayor Scott Smith has said he hopes the Cubs’ long tradition in the city will count, and Kenney said it does mean something to the Ricketts family.

“The deciding factor will be training for the players,” Kenney said. “Tom [Ricketts] has said at the end of the day, if it’s a push on all other fronts, where we can train the players to perform the best is where we’ll go.”

* WRIGLEY FIELD: The Ricketts family took a tour of the ballpark from top to bottom, examining everything from the washrooms to the players’ lounge to the scoreboard. There is currently some work being done to upgrade. Kenney said the family told him to “think long-term” in terms of improvements. Fans should notice better washroom facilities and concessions. Part of the process has been Kenney taste-testing hot dogs to find the best one.

The players should have a better weight room when they report in 2010. The umpires’ dressing room is being relocated. The back of the scoreboard is being repaired and updated. There are no plans for a video scoreboard, but the team is looking into having replays and stats available for fans at the ballpark to use on their iPhones and other hand-held devices.

The team is negotiating with businesses to find a sponsor for the billboards projected for left field. Kenney said the goal is to preserve the culture of Wrigley Field but also bring in revenue.

The team hopes to create a club on the mezzanine level where Suites 1-6 are currently located. About 80 tickets will be available for that location, and fans will have access to their own concessions and a bar. The tickets will be sold as season tickets. Expect an announcement sometime after Christmas.

* TRIANGLE BUILDING: The Cubs are interviewing architects and engineers to get the project going. The building, which will be located on Clark Street, west of Wrigley Field, could house offices, a restaurant and retail options.

* ICE RINK: The Cubs are building an ice rink in the parking lot west of Wrigley Field which will be open this winter. More details to come. It’s being done in conjunction with the Chicago Park District, and because of the interest created by the NHL Winter Classic played at Wrigley on Jan. 1.

– Carrie Muskat

12/1 Cubs brass visit Florida governor

Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts and team president Crane Kenney were in Tallahassee on Tuesday to meet with Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and other state officials. The topic of discussion is the Cubs’ possibly relocating their Spring Training facilities to the Sunshine State and Collier County near Naples. Ricketts and Kenney looked at several sites in September, and were believed to have narrowed the list to three. If the Cubs did re-locate in Florida, the project would primarily be privately funded.

The Cubs have not ruled out staying in Arizona, and looked at some possible locations in early November. Ricketts and Kenney also met with Arizona state officials at a dinner.

– Carrie Muskat

 

11/18 Mr. Ricketts meets the owners

New Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts will have a chance to meet the other Major League Baseball owners at a dinner Wednesday night. Ricketts, whose family took over the team in October, was not taking part in any of the owners committee meetings at the Chicago O’Hare Hilton. Team president Crane Kenney was at the hotel Wednesday for committee meetings on finance and revenue sharing.

MLB commissioner Bud Selig will address the owners on Thursday.

Kenney did say the Ricketts family will meet with Florida officials after Thanksgiving week as they continue to explore Spring Training options for the Cubs. The Ricketts family looked at several sites in Collier County, and were believed to have narrowed the list to three possible options. The Cubs have the option of buying out their contract in Mesa, Ariz., and moving after 2011.

– Carrie Muskat

10/30 News & notes from Ricketts session

Tom Ricketts and his family were formally introduced Friday in a news conference at Wrigley Field that was spoiled only by the rain. The Ricketts family paid $845 million to purchase the Cubs, Wrigley Field and a 25 percent share in Comcast SportsNet Chicago.

Some highlights of the news conference:

* Tom Ricketts will be chairman of the board with his sister Laura and brothers Pete and Todd on the board of directors. Crane Kenney, who was Cubs chairman, now is team president.

* Tom Ricketts said there could be a “slight” increase in team payroll, and suggested there may be “slight” increase in ticket prices.

* Fans can expect changes to the concourse, restrooms and concessions to improve the experience at Wrigley Field. There has been no talk about PSLs (personal seat licenses) or selling the naming rights of the ballpark.

* They are exploring options for Spring Training, and emphasized that they want to have “world class facilities” for the Cubs. The cities of Mesa, Ariz., and Naples, Fla., are competing for the team. “We’re going to get the best facilities,” Tom Ricketts said.

* They want Lou Piniella to remain as Cubs manager. “I haven’t spent a lot of time with Lou personally,” Ricketts said. “We strongly believe he’s one of the best managers in baseball and he’s the right guy to take us to the next level in 2010.”

* They will explore developing the Triangle building on Clark Street, just west of the ballpark, with the hope of upgrading the facilities.

* The Ricketts family’s goal is to win a World Series.

“I’ll be honest, I think we have a team that can do it next year,” Tom Ricketts said. “I’m not going to promise anything; I don’t think that does us any good. The fact is, we have the talent and this team next season can go all the way to finish line. The key is, every season, to be able to stand up in complete honesty and say, ‘We believe we have enough talent to get it done.’ To do that, and be sincere about it and consistent with it, you’re going to get it done.”

– Carrie Muskat

 

10/25 Cubs look at Naples sites

Could the Cubs move their Spring Training site to Florida? A Naples, Fla., newspaper reports a group was formed four months ago for the purpose of making Collier County the Spring Training home of the Cubs. The Florida group has met with Cubs chairman Crane Kenney and Tom Ricketts, whose family is taking over as the team’s owner.

“The Chicago Cubs are exploring Naples, Fla., as a potential Spring Training venue and have been working with Chicago-based Esmark and Naples-based Fifth Avenue Advisors in that regard,” Kenney confirmed in a statement to the Naples (Fla.) Daily News. “Our site visits and discussions confirm that Collier County has a number of suitable locations for a world-class Spring Training facility.”

Cubs officials toured the area by helicopter to see what locations may be suitable. Craig Bouchard, who is a co-founder of Esmark Inc., said it was clear after their meeting that Ricketts and Kenney’s “objective is to do what is best for Cubs fans. They want to win a World Series. And they want to build the very best organization they can.”

The Cubs are believed to be looking for 120 contiguous acres. The Sports Management Division of Esmark is a principal sponsor of the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Bouchards are principal owners of the Naples Tennis Club. Craig Bouchard, is a Cubs fan, and was an official with First National Bank of Chicago. He still has a home in the Chicago area.

The price tag for the venture could exceed $80 million, the newspaper reported. Bouchard said they are pursuing every avenue, public and private, to finance the project and not raise property or sales taxes of the residents of Collier County.

“I committed to Crane that Esmark will invest and take a leadership role in the stadium project,” Bouchard said.

The Cubs’ 25-year lease with the city of Mesa expires in 2016. The team has an escape clause, which allows the Cubs to pay $4.2 million to the city next spring in order to leave Mesa in 2012. Recent studies have shown that the Cubs bring in more than $52 million to Arizona, and more than $30 million to the city of Mesa.

The Cubs have called Mesa their Spring Training home since the 1950s, and permanent home since 1979.

“We are still a long shot,” Bouchard said of Naples as a site for the Cubs, “but I agree with the mayor of Mesa that we are a serious threat. We offer an outstanding destination for families, award-winning beaches and a belief we can put together a proposal that is favored by the Cubs. Sometimes, long shots win.”

Collier County has never had a Spring Training team. The Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins play nearby in Fort Myers.

Ricketts was expected to tour four sites in Mesa in November during the Cubs’ organizational meetings.

– Carrie Muskat

9/15 Looking ahead

According to reports, Tom Ricketts, Cubs GM Jim Hendry and team chairman Crane Kenney met Monday night with Arizona officials to discuss possible improvements at the team’s Spring Training complex in Mesa, Ariz. Ricketts, the Cubs’ incoming owner, also has reportedly toured Fenway Park to see how the ballpark handles a video scoreboard. The Cubs have called Mesa their spring home since 1979. HoHoKam Park was remodeled for the 1997 season, but the team wants to update the facilities.

– Carrie Muskat

8/26 Kenney to stay

Cubs chairman Crane Kenney will continue with the team after the sale to the Ricketts family is completed. WGN-TV also will continue as the primary over-the-air broadcaster of Cubs games.

Those moves were confirmed in court documents filed by Tribune Co. Kenney, now in his 16th season in the Cubs organization, will return, but his role was not spelled out.

The contract also says the Cubs will continue to broadcast games on WGN through 2022, though the Cubs are likely to shift more games to Comcast SportsNet. The Ricketts also received 25 percent of CSN in the deal to buy the Cubs and Wrigley Field.

– Carrie Muskat

8/21 Crane Kenney on Cubs sale

Cubs chairman Crane Kenney on the sale of the team to the Ricketts family: “The Cubs are encouraged Tribune and the Ricketts family have reached agreement on the transaction and see this as a very positive step toward the ownership transition.”
 
The Ricketts family signed a definitive agreement with Tribune Co. to acquire a 95 percent interest in the Cubs, Wrigley Field and Tribune’s approximately 25 percent interest in Comcast SportsNet for $845 million. Tribune will retain a 5 percent ownership interest.
 
The sale still must go through bankruptcy court and also be approved by Major League Baseball owners, who have a November meeting scheduled for Chicago.
 
– Carrie Muskat 


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8/13 Cubs, Victorino file complaint

The Cubs and Shane Victorino have filed a complaint against the fan who doused the Phillies center fielder with beer in the fifth inning Wednesday night at Wrigley Field. Cubs chairman Crane Kenney met with Victorino on Thursday and apologized for the fan’s behavior.

“I said, ‘Listen, we’re sorry, it shouldn’t have happened here,'” Kenney said. “‘It’s not a good reflection on our city or our organization and we’re going to do whatever we can to make sure that things are made right here.’ And [Victorino] said, ‘Listen, I know you are and I appreciate your help.'”

The Cubs do have security in the bleachers and Kenney said he wasn’t sure what other steps the team could take.

“What are you going to do?” Kenney said. “We serve beer and people sit in the bleachers. If you think about how many years we’ve gone with no issues of any kind, including situations where we had our fans in some way animated about our own players, where they weren’t favorable towards them, so this is an isolated instance. [We'll] handle it the right way, we think, with the police.

“The Phillies have been great,” Kenney said. “We apologized to the Phillies. Shane’s been terrific about it, and he’s cooperating as we are with the [Chicago Police Department], and we’ll let them take it from here.”

A fan was immediately ushered away after the incident — Victorino was showered as he caught Jake Fox’s sacrifice fly in the fifth inning — but the person apprehended was not the right one.
 
“It should never happen,” Kenney said. “I don’t care if we’re down 20-1. It’s not right ever and nothing excuses it. So I don’t really have a feeling about whether it’s because we were losing. It should never happen.”

The guilty fan could be charged with assault. Think about that the next time you feel like throwing your beverage on an opposing player.

“You think about it, the obvious one is he threw some beer on him,” Kenney said. “But let’s say the beer was in his eyes and he got hit in the head, and then what’s the next thing that gets thrown from the stands? It just can’t happen, for safety reasons, and because, listen, it’s not right. It’s not the kind of sportsmanship our organization tries to put on the field, and 99.9 percent of our fans would agree, that’s not the way to behave. We had one person who didn’t follow the rules.”

Cubs manager Lou Piniella apologized to Victorino after Wednesday’s game.

– Carrie Muskat

Sale, concerts, Mesa and more

Cubs chairman Crane Kenney briefed reporters on Wednesday about the pending sale of the team to Tom Ricketts. They’ve made progress but Kenney said, “I think it’ll be a challenge to make Opening Day.” Major League Baseball owners meet in May, and the sale could be finalized by then.

In other news:

  • The Cubs are exploring other options for Spring Training sites. Their contract with Mesa expires soon, and they could exit after 2012. Kenney was to meet with the Mesa mayor and others to discuss their options. The team wants a state of the art facility, such as the ones built in Goodyear and Glendale. The team also is not in favor of a two-team venture, but wants its own facility. And, Kenney said Florida officials have contacted the Cubs about moving there.
  • On Opening Day, expect a new restaurant on the corner of Sheffield and Addison at Wrigley Field. There will be both indoor and outdoor seating. People without tickets to the game can enjoy the area, which will be run by Harry Caray’s restaurant.
  • Wrigley Field is being entirely re-sodded and will be ready by Opening Day. The NHL paid for the new grass.
  • Kenney said they are not actively discussing more night games or Friday night games with the city of Chicago.
  • There will be new advertising on the outfield doors. Under Armour is no longer a sponsor.
  • There will be three concerts at Wrigley Field this year. That revenue helps pay for such ventures as international scouting. “You see people opposed to concerts and they’re Cub fans, and it sounds odd but Elton John is going to help us win ballgames,” Kenney said. “It’s a weird way to look at it … but the CBOE auction last year paid for Rich Harden. The ‘Road to Wrigley’ game sponsored our Asian scouting operation. All of these elements really help our business move forward. From my point of view, if you’re a Cub fan, you should enjoy the concerts whether you’re an Elton John fan or not.”
  • The Cubs will retire No. 31 for Greg Maddux and Fergie Jenkins on May 3.

– Carrie Muskat

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