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The Wrigley Field renovation story has grown cold over the last few months after the Chicago Cubs, city of Chicago, Cook County, and state of Illinois failed to come to an agreement on funding earlier this year (the biggest stumbling block, other than the general reluctance to offer up public dollars, was the Joe Ricketts anti-Obama campaign flap, to which I’ll link, rather than re-hash). No one seems to believe a deal won’t eventually get done, but neither does anyone seem to believe that construction will start in earnest this offseason, as the Cubs had originally hoped it would.

Now there may be a new wrinkle to the process, the implications of which are relatively hard to pin down. From the Sun-Times:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is exploring the possibility of raising the city’s 9 percent amusement tax and the “sin” tax on cigarettes of 68 cents a pack to chip away at a $369 million shortfall in the city’s 2013 budget ….

Chicago’s two-tiered amusement tax was last increased in 2009, to 5 percent from 4 percent for mid-sized venues and to 9 percent from 8 percent for large sporting events. The lower tax rate applies to live theatrical, musical and cultural performances in venues with more than 750 seats. Smaller theaters are exempt.

Until an ill-timed controversy over the conservative politics of Joe Ricketts, the patriarch of the billionaire family that owns the Cubs, team owner Tom Ricketts was still hoping to use 35 years’ worth of amusement tax growth to help finance a $300 million renovation of Wrigley Field.

Emanuel was prepared to sign off on that plan, a $150 million variation of a financing scheme he once called a “non-starter.”

So, how does this impact the Wrigley renovation plans? Maybe not at all, other than serving as a coincidental eff you to the Ricketts family, which maybe puts things back to square one at the negotiating table after the Joe Ricketts political flap took things off course. The tax increase could result in the highest ticket tax in the country. “You pissed me off and made me look like a fool politically, and now I’ve cost you some money. Let’s start talking again.” It’s possible, but let’s underscore the “coincidental” portion of things here: closing a city budget gap is a far greater concern than needling the Cubs. Heck, the tax increase would impact the Bulls, Bears, Blackhawks, and White Sox, too.

One thing is certain – the tax increase would mean that your $45 Cubs tickets would cost an extra $.45. Of course, that would also mean that, if the amusement tax growth is used to fund a portion of the Wrigley renovation, the city wouldn’t be beholden to the Cubs for quite so long. So … maybe it’s a net good thing for the Cubs?

Nah. I think that probably goes too far – higher taxes on Cubs’ tickets will never be a good thing, as they reduce the take the Cubs could theoretically get off of their product (not to mention the extra pain on Cubs fans). At least the tax isn’t Cubs-specific.

I don’t think we’ll hear much on the renovation plan until after the political season winds down. It has become a political grenade, and, in the context of an already struggling state and city (bubbling on the edge of socioeconomic riots, what with the teachers’ strike and all), I doubt anyone’s going to want to carry the banner for the Cubs right now. And that’s true regardless of what happens to the amusement tax. I reckon we’ll see the issue revisited at some point this Winter.

  • JB88

    I appreciate that Emmanual needs to explore all possible options for increasing revenue for the city (especially after Daley sold off half the revenue assets of the city), but between his very public lash outs against the teachers and now this, Emmanual is not even close to my top people list these days.

  • wilbur

    This whole issue is driven by City funding deficits. This Mayor wants the additional revenue. The Cubs and many others are all caught in the same net.

    A deal will get done, but my simple third grade mind says the City won’t put one cent into the deal. It will be all non-financials that will allow the Cubs more revenue potential. City can’t afford to lose any revenue now or over 35 years.

  • JulioZuleta

    Good to know that he remembers that Chicago exists. I guess he’s taking a break from being an Obama-puppet for a few hours.

    Sorry, first and last political-related post, just a little peeved that he spent a few days hobnobbing at the DNC 2 days before a rather important, rather lengthy teacher’s strike began…

    • Ogyu

      Sorry, first and last political-related post

      One too many.

      • JulioZuleta

        Well, it is a quasi-political article.

  • Ben (BG2383)

    Do the Cubs get anything out of the amusement tax? I don’t live in Illinois, so I am not real clear on the issue. I don’t understand why the Cubs have to tack on that tax while other organizations are not held to the fire. Do they get to use any of the revenue or do they (along with the fans) just get ripped off by the city?

    • cjdubbya

      It’s Chicago, man…tax early, tax often. :)

      • JulioZuleta

        Gotta pay the cronies somehow.

        • Ben (BG2383)

          Wow, that is unfortunate but does not surprise me. Thanks for answering my question.

    • mudge

      Is it tacky to attack them for tacking on a tax?

      • Ogyu

        tactless

    • Dave H

      Instead of Amusement tax it should be the Reinsdork tax.

  • Stu

    What other options does Ricketts have but to pony up his own cash to renovate Wrigley Field? The only reason that the Cubs still outdraw the White Sox with an inferior product on the field IS Wrigley Field. The City has to know that or they are dummer than a box of rocks.

    Would any of you clones would go see a Cubs team in its present condition if it were being played in some random stadium? Less likely I would assume.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Actually, the Cubs outdraw the ChiSox on the road by a huge amount, too. So, it has more to do with the fact that there are several Cubs fans for every one ChiSox fan. (Only the Yankees and Sox have more fans nationwide than the Cubs do, at least by most estimates.)

      • wilbur

        I’ve always thought it was just a numbers game and that for several reasons there are just more Cub fans locally, regionally and nationally.

        As for going to see the Cubs in a random stadium, I have when I could catch them on the road and would continue. Candidly, the whole Wrigley thing is nice, but if they were the Hoffman Estate Cubs I’d be there just as much.

    • Cubbie Blues

      Yes, I would go see them play in a different stadium. I would watch them with fox, I would watch them in a box. I would watch them in a house. I would watch them with a mouse. I would watch them here or there. I would watch them anywhere.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        I would watch them in a dell!
        I would watch them with a belle!
        I would watch them in the 7th hell
        But I would not watch them in the Cell…..

        • Cubbie Blues

          Ha!

        • Dave H

          Classic!

        • Ogyu

          I would watch them, ‘though they smell…

  • Stu

    Take away the “ghosts” of Wrigley; goats, Bartman, 1969…and the luvable loser mindset starts to fade. Ricketts has to know that since he paid such a premium for the Cubs.

    He has much more to lose if the City tells him to f@@@ off with using taxpayer money to support his playground. The myth of that those “entertainment” dollars will leave the local economy has never been proven. People will just transfer those costs to some other form of entertainment.

    • Sandberg

      Tell that to the Wrigleyville bars.

      • Noah

        But that’s just a question of the individual winners and losers within the City. The only question from the City’s perspective really would be what number of people that otherwise would come to Chicago will not if the Cubs leave Wrigley (see a bit below for my more full analysis of his). If they won’t really lose those people coming to Chicago (and every study done on the subject has said it just doesn’t have a significant impact monetarily), would the Wrigleyville bars take a hit? Of course. But those dollars would instead by spent in other venues in the City.

    • Cubbie Blues

      Your not taking into account those of us who travel to Chicago for the games. Per Chicago University, roughly 37 percent of fans at Wrigley are from out of state. If you figure $45 per ticket and $20 in concessions (I think that is really low) and using 3 million attendance (I realize we aren’t going to make it there this year) that is $72,150,000 a year Chicago would not be able to tax. Amusement taxes alone on the out of towners would be $4,495,500.

      • Noah

        But the question is how many of those people would specifically not be making trips to Chicago because the Cubs were no longer at Wrigley Field. So you have essentially three groups you’re looking at:

        Group A: Make special trips just to Chicago to see the Cubs, but will only do so at Wrigley Field

        Group B: Make special trips just to Chicago to see the Cubs, independent of ballpark

        Group C: Will go to a Cubs game if coming to Chicago anyways, but Wrigley Field existing or not would not play a part in their choice to go to Chicago or not.

        From a City perspective, the real question is just how big Group A is? Groups B and C are coming to Chicago anyways. And my bet is that Group A, people who are big enough Cubs fans to make the trip to Chicago especially to see the Cubs but ONLY if the Cubs are in Wrigley is pretty small.

        From the Cubs perspective, and this is why I think the City can hold them over a barrel if they want to, you also have to be concerned about Group C. Because that family of four that comes to Chicago, goes to a couple museums, catches a show, and goes to a ball game at Wrigley now might fill that time at Wrigley with something else if the Cubs move away from the Wrigley, and especially if they move out to the burbs.

        • Cubbie Blues

          The same article site 10-15% of Cell patrons are from out of state. So, lets say 5% of those 10-15% go to Chicago specifically for a ballgame. That would bring the Cubs 37% down to 27-32%. That is still a pretty large portion of the Cubs (and City’s) patrons.

  • fearbobafett

    I think Rickett’s should just wait until the tv deals are up negotiate a sweet network deal and then move out of the City. Another town/county in the burbs will pony up the dollars to help fund it. The new revenue stream and jobs for thier area will be huge.
    Let’s see them how the mayor and the alderman and all those folks owning a house around Wrigley sh!t thier pants that they are leaving and ALL will lose a ton of cash.
    Sorry but as much as the City and those surrounding Wrigley are playing hard ball, in the end they are the ones who could end up losing the most.

  • cubs1967

    here’s a hint for the Pk McCaskey family; you bought the stadium; you fix it. Nobody is gonna fix my house if it needs it or someone’s business; so deal with it. Otherwise sell the team and let someone else take care of it. The city and state have no funds. Figure it out tommyboy. granted; the cubs bring more visitors and allow more businesses to stay open than the sox-bull-bears-hawks combined, but this is 2012; not 2000 to 2007. the handout of public monies ship has sailed.
    1st year tommyboy shaved 10M off the payroll from the high of 145M (where it should be for 3M plus fans and 2nd highest road attendance), last year he saved 25M off and this year 35M off; total of 70M. next year it will be a stretch to reach 90M; so another 55M saved. total of 125M. come 2014 not only will the WGN deal expire but all MLB teams will get another 25M from the national broadcasting deals. that makes 150M. which is what he wants. finance it yourself tommyboy. fans deserve it. stop pandering. you got mesa to pony up and won’t we all be excited in 2014 to see a new ST stadium with another crappy team while we wait for the “magical” year of 2016……….(like the past 104 magical yrs).
    here’s a hint tommyboy; tell the city we’ll finance it; just take the asinine “antique label” off wrigley as it’s not a landmark when it’s still be used. advertise the hell out of the stadium and i’m sure there is at least another 50M per year anyway. cubs fans deserve better than the sh*t team on the field while you pander away for public monies. find your balls and let’s go…………..tick tock…………..

    • hansman1982

      YARRRRRGH! GET THEE PITCHFORKS AND TORCHES AND TAR AND FEATHERS!!!

      • Cubbie Blues

        I think we should have just kept Josh Hamilton. That was the worst move ever trading him. If we hadn’t traded him to the Reds for $50k we wouldn’t be in the same mess that we are in today.

        • TWC

          guffaw

      • Ogyu

        I would watch them in hell or heaven
        I would watch them with or without leaven
        I would watch them with Andre Previn
        But I will not read another word by cubs1967.

    • Leo L

      You know, i once got a tax deduction for replacing my windows. I also know of TIF ditricts and other programs taht help for example restore downtowns of some towns that benfit local business. Maybe you should look a little harder for help with your house. OR do you rent?

      • Pat

        No, you got 10% back for giving money to the president’s friends businesses.

        If the Cubs want a 10% rebate on their taxes for what they spend out of pocket for union construction, they’re welcome to it. I doubt anyone would argue with that

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I’m pretty sure that’s been opposed, on a blanket basis, as well, by folks who are in the “no public funds for private entities” camp. I can’t understand it, myself. That tax revenue literally does not exist unless the construction takes place.

    • Chris

      In this economy, it’s more than fair for the Cubs to finance the stadium improvements on their own. Despite what the Bears, Whitesox, and Bulls all did to use public funds on their respective stadiums, it’s not the time to be dipping in to any tax funds for baseball stadium improvements. Any tax increase has to go to budget shortcomings that exist in city and state government. But the mayor should absolutely remove the landmark status from Wrigley. That was always a middle finger from Mayor Daley to the Cubs in the first place. The Tribune Co. and the Ricketts family understand that if they make major changes that are unappealing to fans, they’ll stop going to the beer garden that is Wrigley field. There is no reason to have legislation limiting what they can and can’t do to improve the park and create additional revenue sources via marketing.

    • JB88

      You do realize that Comisky and Soldier Field were built or renovated using public funds, right?

      You also realize that in order for the City and State to approve the United Center plan (and improve the streets around the Stadium), Wirtz and Reinsdorf had to agree to certain concessions?

      Government and sports teams have a symbiotic relationship. This idea that your situation and a pro sport team’s situation are analogous just isn’t the case.

      • JB88

        Doing a little research on this issue, it appears that among the assistance that the City offered the Bulls/Blackhawks in building the United Center included the following:

        (a) Collaborating on land acquisition;
        (b) Funding substantial infrastructure improvements;
        (c) Offering a 40 % break on amusement taxes;
        (d) Agreeing to tax 60% of the income derived from UC’s 216 skyboxes at a low 4 percent rate.

        So can we please stop with the notion that the state and city don’t assist sports teams with their stadiums? This argument should have long ago been debunked.

        http://books.google.com/books?id=iY6BK0FZS-EC&pg=PA264&lpg=PA264&dq=chicago+stadium+land&source=bl&ots=_6-FB7EdDl&sig=AvQb33q9NMI7cFlYOLkH6I7H5oo&hl=en&sa=X&ei=BbVcULPkGOaiywGeqoD4Dg&ved=0CBwQ6AEwADgy#v=onepage&q=chicago%20stadium%20land&f=false

        • Anon

          The argument is not that cities and states DON’T help renovate or build sports stadiums. The argument is that they SHOULDN’T. It’s nearly always a bad investment.

      • Chris

        Sound points. But given the current economy and government budget shortfalls, there will be NO public support for stadium enhancements being paid for by public funding, regardless of what the public source is. And maybe that’s rightly so. I’m not sure what the long term effects would be on the neighborhood if the Cubs left for the suburbs, but it seems like an empty threat at this point, so why would the Mayor even bother to consider the possibility? Ricketts paid such a high price purposely to acquire the building and land along with the team. Then he bought the McDonald’s land. Then his family bought one of the rooftop buildings(I may have the order on those transactions wrong). They aren’t planning to leave Wrigleyville. For the short term, if they decided to take some of the reduce payroll savings and funnel them to building improvements, I think I’d be fine with that. But I’d expect that they could only do this over the next 12-24 months. And if they take the extra money from the TV contract and put it towards debt or structural improvements, great. But it might be time to give up on the public funding request. They don’t have any real leverage, and the government doesn’t have a penny to spare.

        • JB88

          I am certain that you are wrong on all of these various points. The mid-1980s in the city of Chicago was a bad time to be building things. The Chicago Bears, two years off a Super Bowl victory couldn’t leverage that into a new stadium, yet the Bulls & Blackhawks eventually did in the early 1990s, which was in the midst of a nationwide recession.

          The answer was to eventually make concessions to various neighborhood groups. The state and city have the money, if they want to use it. Or they have the means of making money available, if they choose to do so.

          Also, I think that your view of how these type of government/business negotiations occur is overly simplistic and not how they typically occur.

          • JB88

            I will actually point out one thing that is interesting in your post is the fact that the Cubs have purchased surrounding land. This is interestingly the same tactic that Bill Wirtz employed with land around the Chicago Stadium for a number of years.

            Of course, Wirtz was buying depressed land, whereas Ricketts is paying a premium, but if you end up owning all the land around the stadium, it is hard for others to complain about your conduct ….

          • Chris

            I was alive and paying attention during the 80’s and 90’s. While the economic climate was also on a downcycle when the United Center was built, we were not in a global economic free fall. The Bulls had Michael Jordan, and were coming off a championship run. Plus, they received corporate funds to go along with the funding they received from the government, hence the name of the stadium. The Bears in the 80’s were looking for 100% financing from Chicago and/or the State of Illinois, given they didn’t own Soldier Field. They only got the stadium built when they took advantage of an NFL program to help with the financing. Not to mention moving Michael McCaskey out of the negotiation process with the city. The state does not have any money to spare for this endeavor at this time. They can’t even pay out money promised to school districts in a timely fashion, causing many school districts to demand teachers take pay cuts, furlough days, and pay freezes for several years. I’m a Cubs fan, and I want this to happen. But there are bigger concerns we have to consider as a society. And with the upcoming elections on everyone’s minds, I can’t see how the Cubs will be able to get enough political support to receive money for any stadium development funding. I’ve read Tom Rickett’s comments related to the city/state benefit of having a better Wrigley Field. I agree with all his points, and feel that it’s fair for him to ask for the funding. But the climate for making such a request is just bad. The political backlash against anyone that supports such a measure will be played up significantly in the media. The timing is just wrong. Add his Dad’s flap and you lose the one ally you had in the discussion, the Mayor.

    • D.G.Lang

      We must all consider wether or not the Cubs players have to pay a city income tax. If si that would be another great loss to the city if they leave to play elsewhere. Some cities tax the visiting team (all team members) for gaves played in the city as well as the home team. This is entirely legal if they tax the home team, they can not discriminate against them by not taxing the visiting team.

      Indeed, a players preferance for one team or another takes into consideration whether or not he has to pay income tax to either the city or state. Florida has NO state or city income tax and it is more profitable for a player to play in Florida than in most other states.

      Many states have at east a 3.5 state income tax along with a state sales tax to constitute a 7% total tax. Some cities also add in a city income tax to boot. Some cities and or states enforce those taxes on all income earned or paid within their dominion.

      I lived in Chicago most of my life before I moved to Florida about 20 years ago. I no longer pay a state income tax but I do have to pay a 7% sales tax on all non-food items I purchase.

      I was born and raised in Chicago and I even lived there a few years after I got out of the Army. I rermber that after moving to Cicero, I only had to pay a very small amount for my car sticker relative to the much larger amount I had to pay for the same car when I lived in Chicago. Here in Florida, I only have to pay for the state plates and no city sticker at all.

      I’d hate to have to pay for both state and city plates/stickers back in Chicago.

      • D.G.Lang

        Sorry about the typos, my screen has very small letters and I failed to see them.

        ‘If si’ should be ‘if so’ and ‘gaves’ should be ‘games’.

    • Anon

      Agreed. Ricketts needs to start working in the competitive free market that his conservative brethren are so fond of. Invest in the product to increase sales.

      Chicago is very competitive for anybody’s entertainment time and dollar. There are a thousand other options, for the local or tourist, die-hard sports fan or casual corporate group member. Many other options are equally as pathetic as the Cubs. Work on the product, Ricketts, not government cash.

  • cubzforlife

    “Let’s see them how the mayor and the alderman and all those folks owning a house around Wrigley sh!t thier pants that they are leaving and ALL will lose a ton of cash.”
    The home values around Wrigley are well established. Wrigley closing would be a blessing to everyone but the hat and souvenir stores and the bars that solicit the cubs fans. It is a great neighborhood supported on the east by Boystown. If Wrigley Field closed Boystown would expand and you would have young men peeing in your bushes at four AM instead of Cubs fans. And don’t forget The Mayor lives six blocks away and prob is driven by Wrigley every day.

  • Curt

    I still the cubs should tell the mayor to get bent and move to a suburb see how Rahm likes replacing tht money, he wants to play hardball see who blinks first.

  • TSB

    If the city doesn’t think they can make some bucks off of a new wrigley than they shouldn’t use taxpayers money. That said, they shouldn’t get in the way for the ricketts to get the best deal they can, be it in Chicago or the ‘burbs.

  • Stu

    Face it, Ricketts has no leverage in this situation. That is probably why the song and dance of building it up by breaking it down nonsense. He knows that that at the end of the day it is his property and business to deal with. Payroll will not be going up anytime soon.

    Does anyone really believe that the Cubs are going to risk not being in Wrigley Field when they will clearly have the cash next year and beyond?

    Enjoy the Cubs in any free way that you can.

  • BluBlud

    I love the Cubs, but it should be illegal for a city, or any government, to finance any ball park, or any business, even 1%, if the government doesn’t own it. I could care less about Republicans or Democrats, RNC’s or DNC’s, or even DMX’s(haha). I know it happens all the time, with numerous companies, but I’m 100% against the government funding anything it doesn’t own, nationally, or abroad. I don’t think states should be allowed to bribe companies to come in with money or tax breaks or kickback or anything else. It should be 100% uniform across the board. If you wanna own the business, cough up the money to run it. This renovation should be funded by Mr Ricketts and his investment partners/family 100%.

    • Njriv

      You love the Cubs? Man, I must be on the wrong site.

    • Ben (BG2383)

      The city should not be able to collect an amusement tax if they do not assist. I don’t even see how that is debatable. The Cubs belong to the Ricketts not to the city; therefore, they should not have to pay a tax not required of other franchises/businesses in the city

      • BluBlud

        The amusement tax is not Cubs specific. Its a city tax on all large venues. Thats like saying the government should not collect sales tax since it does not own the mall. Unfortunately, the government can pretty much tax what ever they want. You don’t want taxes, vote republican. For the most part, you’ll have low taxes. That’s your right. But the amusement tax was not designed to give kickbacks to the Cubs.

        • JB88

          It wasn’t designed to give “kickbacks” to any team, but the Cubs aren’t asking for a kickback. They are asking for a concession. A concession in the form of a bond that would be repaid, in part, by increases to the amusement tax being used to pay down the bond.

          Also, you do realize that the City also offered significant amusement tax amnesty to the Bulls/Blackhawks when they built the UC, right? What the Cubs are asking for isn’t unprecedented.

          • BluBlud

            Never said it unprecedented, just that I personally don’t like it. I think tax money of any kind should be used to run the government. I don’t think our government should borrow or take money from any country, nor should they loan or give money to any country or business. If it means anything, I’m also 100% against welfare, social security, food stamps unemployment or anything else the government does like that, minus healthcare. I think the government is operating as a business, and that is not the point of the government. I actually don’t think the amusement tax should be legal either. I think a person’s money should be taxed on payday, and that’s it. If we got rid of all this crap, the government would be smaller, we have less taxes paid on payday, and the government would be so far in debt.

            • BluBlud

              * the government would not be so far in debt

            • Ogyu

              Most un-American statement I ever read. ;-)

              • BluBlud

                I just think people should be responsible for themselves, including business owners. Ricketts, or somebody in his family, made their billions. They chose to buy the Cubs. They should pay whatever money to run it. All businesses should. That’s not un-American, that’s pro American. This country was originally built on those principals.

                • BluBlud

                  Ogyu, how are yall putting smiley faces on a post.

                  • Ogyu

                    semicolon, hyphen, right parenthesis – smiley gets automatically substituted

                    • BluBlud

                      ;-)

                    • Ogyu

                      :-D

                • Ogyu

                  This country was originally built on those principals.

                  If only that were true, but it isn’t. The economic expansion of the US–from beginning to end–has been premised on close partnership between private entrepreneurs and government subsidization – see Alexander Hamilton, turnpikes, canals, trans-continental railroads, etc.

                  • BluBlud

                    True!!!. I guess with me, while I agree our government is essential to our well being, I believing in a very tiny government. Just not what I view as a government issues.

                  • Matt3

                    see ‘fascism’

                • DocPeterWimsey

                  This country was originally built on those principals.

                  Actually, none of those principles were remotely relevant to life among late 18th century gentry. Remember, those guys would have opposed both sides of our modern sociopolitical spectrum. (Their great-grandchildren certainly did!)

                  And in terms of history, that just about takes us up to the last Cubs WS win!

    • JB88

      It’s just a silly argument. Businesses could completely relocate to other countries that don’t have the type of labor laws the US utilize. It is their right to do so, so why shouldn’t they? Businesses like the Cubs attract hundreds of thousands of people to the city every year. That translates into additional revenue for hotels, restaurants, transportation, and other retail establishments. The idea that a City or State would want to increase the number of people coming into the city/state that pay additional money (and, thus, are additionally taxed) is seen as a means to more revenue, not less.

      Look at it this way. Assume for a second that the Cubs did not play in Chicago. Suddenly, the City would lose millions of dollars in amusement tax revenue, millions of dollars in sales tax revenue, millions of dollars in hotel tax revenue. You see where I’m going? Now, assume that the Cubs renovate Wrigley would guarantee the city an additional 20 to 30 million in tax revenue per year from the number of people coming into the city (the economic impact of the city hosting the last ASG was $60 MM according to Baseball-Almanac.com). Now, if the city invests $150MM in bonds, it would recoup that money in additional tax revenue within 8 years, at most. Plus it gets repaid on the bonds as well.

      At the end of the day, the economic impact on a renovated Wrigley is financially beneficial to both the city and the Cubs. So why should the Cubs be the only ones footing the bill?

      • BluBlud

        Why do I disagree with it? Because it often times, leaves 2 cash strapped cities, fighting for a company, offering millions and sometimes billions in government kickbacks. In the end, the company benefits, getting off a lot of time without paying any taxes without the kickbacks while the city gains nothing.

        • Anon

          Yup. Government subsidies to attract or keep businesses ends up being a zero sum game, if you extend your view of the “game” to include the whole country. When sports teams keep threatening to move out, they can force governments to compete away whatever tourism tax surpluses they get from the team. But only if the governments keep playing along with this asinine game. If governments would stop doing this, then teams would stay when fans are loyal and supportive, and leave when they are not (or make changes to get the loyalty back). End of story.

      • Chris

        I don’t think it’s unfair for the Cubs to ask for the money. I just think the timing is very bad. They have no leverage to force the issue. They’re not leaving Chicago. Ricketts himself basically said the only recourse is to not do the major renovations that Wrigley needs anytime soon without government funding. They Mayor was their only ally within the government, and he’s been alienated with the Joe Ricketts flap. If they wait 6 months and try again, maybe they’ll get traction. I just don’t see it happening soon though.

  • TSB

    I’d hate to see a club named “The Rosemont Cubs.”Or even worse, “The Chicago Cubs of Schaumburg.”

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