Results tagged ‘ Ricketts family ’

11/27 Spring Training

Some members of the Ricketts family will travel to Naples, Fla., this coming week to review possible Spring Training sites in Collier County. Meanwhile, Mesa Mayor Scott Smith told the East Valley (Ariz.) Tribune that the city should know within a few weeks whether the Cubs will keep their Spring Training facility in Arizona. The Ricketts family, who took over ownership of the Cubs in late October, toured Mesa the first week of November during the Cubs’ organizational meetings and looked at possible sites.

According to the East Valley Tribune, Smith said the Ricketts family seemed pleased with several sites along the Loop 202 freeway in east Mesa. A new facility would likely cost $80 million and the project would be funded with yet to be determined mix of private and government monies.

— 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


10/28 Zell bids goodbye to Cubs

The Ricketts family will be introduced on Friday at Wrigley Field as the new owners of the Cubs. They purchased the team, Wrigley Field and a 25 percent share in Comcast SportsNet Chicago from Tribune Co. and Sam Zell for $845 million.

In an interview with Bloomberg Television, Zell was asked whether buying the Tribune Co. was the worst business decision he had ever made.

“It’s certainly the most amount of money I’ve ever lost in a single deal,” Zell said.

As for the Cubs, Zell apparently was unaware of Tuesday’s closing date. He did say he was happy for the Ricketts family.

“I think the team should be owned by somebody who is local, somebody who is really passionate about baseball,” Zell said. “I happen to be local. I’m not passionate about baseball, so I wish them all the best of luck. And maybe we’ll break the 101-year curse.”

— Carrie Muskat

10/13 Bankruptcy judge gives Trib go-ahead

The Ricketts family moved one step closer to being handed the keys to Wrigley Field. A U.S. bankruptcy court judge ruled Tuesday that the Tribune Co. and Cubs can proceed with the team’s $845 million sale to the Ricketts family.

“The Ricketts family is pleased that they’ve made another significant step toward taking majority control of the Cubs,” the family said in a statement. “They look forward to getting to work on leading the team to a championship.”

The bankruptcy judge had already cleared Tribune Co. to sell the team and Wrigley Field. The Cubs filed separately for Chapter 11 on Monday to protect the Ricketts so creditors in Tribune Co.’s own bankruptcy case would have no claim against the company.

The Cubs cited assets of $1.42 billion and liabilities of $1.26 billion, but the team’s finances weren’t in question. The bankruptcy filing was done to ensure the team can’t be hit with claims by Tribune creditors because the Cubs weren’t covered when Tribune filed for Chapter 11 last December.

The deal was expected to be completed by the end of October. The sale has been approved by Major League Baseball owners.

Tribune Co. filed for bankruptcy in December but the Cubs and related assets were left out of the case so it could continue the sale process. On Aug. 21, Tribune Co. reached a deal with the Ricketts family, which would purchase the Cubs, Wrigley Field and a 25 percent stake in Comcast SportsNet Chicago. Tribune Co. would retain 5 percent.

Tribune bought the Cubs in 1981 for $20.5 million from the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co.

The sale price will top the record $660 million paid for the Boston Red Sox and its related properties in 2002.

The Cubs’ bankruptcy filing is not the first for a Major League team. The Baltimore Orioles were sold in a bankruptcy auction in 1993 after owner Eli Jacobs filed for Chapter 11. The same happened to the Seattle Pilots after the 1969 season. The new owners moved the team to Milwaukee and changed the name to the Brewers.

The Phoenix Coyotes of the NHL filed for Chapter 11 protection in May.

— Carrie Muskat

10/12 Cubs file for bankruptcy

The Cubs filed for bankruptcy on Monday, a move designed to help the Tribune Co. transfer the team to its new owners. The Cubs are not in financial trouble; the move is connected to the Tribune Co.’s own Chapter 11 bankruptcy case that began in December.

Now that the Tribune Co. has finalized a deal to sell the team to the Ricketts family, it is passing the Cubs through bankruptcy court to give the new owners comfort that creditors in the original case have no claim against the company. The Tribune Co. filed for bankruptcy in December, and at the time, was $13 billion in debt.

The Cubs’ stay in bankruptcy is expected to last one day. The judge in the Tribune Co. case has scheduled a hearing for Tuesday.

The judge already has approved Tribune Co.’s transaction with the Ricketts family. Under the terms of the deal, the Cubs, Wrigley Field and 25 percent of Comcast SportsNet Chicago will be placed in a limited partnership, and the Ricketts will own 95 percent of that. Tribune Co. will retain 5 percent.

The Ricketts family will contribute $823 million to the partnership. Tribune Co. will receive about $740 million after taxes and other adjustments.

Once the bankruptcy judge clears the Cubs’ case, the Ricketts family was expected to close the deal by the end of October.

— Carrie Muskat


9/18 Dunston has his say

Former Cubs shortstop Shawon Dunston has objected in bankruptcy court to the sale of the team because it owes him money to pay for a college education. In Dunston’s handwritten note, he said, “I, Shawon Dunston, being a former player of the Chicago Cubs from 4-9-85 – 10-5-95/4-5-97 – 10-4-97 am entitled to college scholarship funds obligated to me by the Chicago Cubs. To date, these scholarship funds have not been paid to me.”

Dunston was the Cubs’ first overall pick in 1982, selected out of high school.

The bankrupt Tribune Co., which owns the Cubs, has reached a deal to sell the team to the Ricketts’ family for $845 million. The deal must be approved by a bankruptcy court, and Dunston wrote to the judge to object.

Dunston, 46, who works for the Giants part time, told the Chicago Tribune Thursday night that a financial adviser told him to write the note.

“It was just a formality,” Dunston said. “When I signed the contract [in 1982], they said they’d pay for my college tuition if I ever went. It was part of my signing bonus but I never used it. My adviser asked me about it, and told me to send a letter by the 16th [of September], so that’s what I did. I have nothing against the Cubs.”

According to the Cubs, the contractural clause was standard for top high school players and amounted to $8,000 to $10,000.

“We are aware of Mr. Dunston’s concerns and are working to reach a satisfactory conclusion on this issue as quickly as possible,” Tribune Co. said in a statement. “We do not believe this will have any impact on closing of the Cubs transaction.”

Dunston told the Chicago Tribune the team doesn’t owe him anything. He missed two seasons because of a back injury and the team paid him well, he said.

“I love the Cubs and I’ll always be a Cub,” Dunston said. “If anything, I owe them something.”

— Carrie Muskat

9/9 Business matters

According to Crain’s Chicago Business, federal antitrust regulators have approved Tribune Co.’s sale of the Cubs to the Ricketts family. The approval appears on a Sept. 4 Federal Trade Commission list of pending mergers and acquisitions that have been cleared by antitrust officials. Analysts had not expected any antitrust challenge to the deal.

The clearance is another step in Tribune’s 2 1/2 year quest to sell the Cubs. It still needs approval from a bankruptcy judge and Major League Baseball owners.

The Ricketts family reached an agreement, announced Aug. 21, to acquire the team, Wrigley Field and a 25 percent stake in Comcast SportsNet for $845 million.

— 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

8/22 Lou: "I plan on coming back"

Lou Piniella plans on coming back for the 2010 season with the Cubs, but says the final decision will be up to the Cubs’ new owners, the Ricketts family.

“I’m an employee of this organization, and I don’t make those decisions,” Piniella said Saturday. “Those decisions are made by ownership. I am signed through next year and I do plan on fulfilling my contract. But, that’s not to say I’ll be back because I don’t make those decisions.”

Piniella, who turns 66 on Friday, acknowledged this has been a difficult season, but said he’s not the only manager who has had a tough year.

“We had expectations here,” Piniella said. “So far, they haven’t been as fulfilled as we anticipated. There are other teams that have had similar problems.”

He is signed through next season, and has said the Cubs job will be his last one.

“[After this] I’m going to go home and enjoy my life,” he said. “But I’m still competitive, I still come to the ballpark and the losses hurt. If the losses didn’t hurt, then I’d know it would be time to leave. That’s the biggest telling sign for me. If we lost a ballgame like we did last night and it wasn’t painful, well, then I don’t belong in this business. I care, I want to see this thing go. But I am an employee, only an employee. Ownership, the front office, they make the decisions on whether managers stay or come back more than the manager does.”

Since he began managing in 1986 with the Yankees, Piniella has never been fired.

“There’s always a first time for anything,” Piniella said.

However, the last six years he has managed, including Tampa Bay, the ownership has been in transition. The Tribune Co. announced on Friday the Cubs had been sold to the Ricketts family.

Piniella doesn’t understand why there’s been speculation that he would leave the Cubs after the 2009 season.

“I’ve never once said anything that’s different,” he said.

— 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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