Still Concerned About an Amusement Tax Hike and Other Bullets

wallet cashIn case you were wondering, yes, the BN Podcast is taking the week off. With the managerial search stuck on Girardi for most of the last week, there wasn’t a great deal for us to discuss during our usual recording time, so we’ll reconvene next week (complete with preseason predictions gone awry).

  • So, the Tigers beat the A’s last night, meaning that the four remaining teams in the playoffs are the four teams that feel the most likely/least Cinderella-y (yes, I know that the A’s actually had more regular season wins than the Tigers … but come on). I’m not rooting for the Cardinals because obviously. I’m not rooting for the Dodgers because SIGN ALL THE PLAYERS. I’m not rooting for the Red Sox because I’m still a little salty about how the Theo compensation stuff played out. I guess I’m rooting for the Tigers by default.
  • The Cubs made their deal with Ryan Sweeney official yesterday. You can read the details here, in case you missed it.
  • Yesterday’s AFL action saw Albert Almora leading off (and playing right field) for the Solar Sox, and once again raking – 2-5 with a triple. Armando Rivero pitched a scoreless 9th inning, allowing just one hit (but striking out none – a shock for him).
  • The City of Chicago continues to look for additional sources of revenue, what with the budgetary issues, but several possible tax increases have been taken off of the table, per the Sun-Times. Notably not yet taken off the table is a further hike in the amusement tax on large events, which is that ungodly 9% additional tax on your Cubs tickets, already one of the highest in the country. In a showing that he does recognize the economic value of the Chicago Cubs in his ward, Alderman Tom Tunney strongly opposes any further increase in the amusement tax because it could drive customers away.
  • Keep in mind, an amusement tax hike is effectively a tax hike on the Cubs, even though the tax is borne by ticket buyers. For every dollar of “tax” added to Cubs tickets, that’s one less dollar that the Cubs can charge. The market will bear whatever price it will bear – total price, including taxes – and when some of that price is going to the City/County, that’s money that the Cubs don’t get as revenue. It’s particularly problematic when the Cubs desperately need revenue (apparently), but are facing a continuing attendance decline in the wake of back-to-back-to-back awful seasons on the field. I’ve got to believe, when the various parties were having Wrigley renovation conversations, the problem of the steep amusement tax – let alone any increases thereof – has come up from time to time.
  • Miguel Cabrera and Juan Pierre on the 2003 NLCS against the Cubs. Make sure to kick yourself in the stones before you read – then their words can’t hurt you.
  • Lou Piniella coming back to the manager’s seat? Not in Chicago, and also not in Seattle. The 70-year-old told Ken Rosenthal he’s not in the running for the Mariners’ job, even though he did have a conversation with them.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

97 responses to “Still Concerned About an Amusement Tax Hike and Other Bullets”

  1. Spoda17


  2. C. Steadman

    i almost cried readin that 2003 NLCS article…i knew itd put me in a bad mood…ugh at least its Friday

  3. Diamondrock

    I have no intention of reading that article, as it will make me weep, no doubt.

    This article put me in a pretty good mood this morning and I don’t feel like bringing myself down:

    1. C. Steadman

      haha i loved that article

    2. mjhurdle

      That article has made the STL airwaves. Lots of butthurt about it here in STL, and righteous indignation that anyone could possibly think that about the Cardinals.

      1. Diamondrock

        The sad thing is that they really believe all that crap. They can’t seem to get it into their thick skulls that yes, a lot of people (and not just Cubs fans) really do hate them that much. Even my San Diego Padres-loving-Dodgers-hating friend is feeling conflicted about this series. That should tell you something.

        St. Louis and their fans truly believe that they’re underdogs and always are. If they were facing the Rays in the World Series they’d find some way of spinning it that *they* were the scrappy insurgents. It sickens me.

        1. roz

          I have a facebook friend who is a Cardinals fan and he posted that story on facebook. He then proceeded to talk about how everyone was jealous of the Cardinals because they were the most storied franchise in all of sports and they were about to add another World Series title to their collection. I then politely thanked him for reinforcing what was said in the article.

  4. cubfanincardinalland

    Think revenue has much to do with winning baseball. This years final four teams payrolls.
    Dodgers 2nd-216 million
    Red Sox 4th-150 million
    Tigers 5th-148 million
    Cardinals 10th 116 million
    I will be of course rooting for the Dodgers. Hopefully for another devastating come from behind series victory as the Giants did last year. And continue another year of what will become a long tradition of the “Curse of Albert” for the Cardinals, as they never return to the World Series again for decades after shitting all over their iconic slugger.

    1. CubFan Paul

      You listed payroll not revenue stream$. The Cubs are top 5 with an annual average of at least $270Million, more than the Tigers and Cardinals.

      The Cubs do not desperately need revenue.

      1. Cubbie Blues

        Not this again.

        1. CubFan Paul

          Yep. Truth hurts.

          1. Cubbie Blues

            Especially when it’s not the truth.

        2. MightyBear

          Love Allison Pill. She’s a cutie.

  5. bbmoney

    Living in Michigan precludes me from rooting for the Tigers. I’ve been reduced to rooting against the Cardinals. There are no good options remaining.

  6. ssckelley

    I remember how crazy it was and how my wife and I were making plans to go to Chicago so we could be at Wrigley for the first home game, even if we could not get into the stadium. The Cubs going to the World Series seemed like a sure thing and since it might have been a once in a lifetime moment we were not going to miss it. The Bartman thing was a “oh jeez, here we go” but when Gonzalez booted that ball it was that point where I started believing it was not going to happen for the Cubs. I honestly do not even remember game 7, I know I watched it but it was like I knew what was going to happen so nothing stands out. It was worse than watching Steve Garvey hit that home run in 1984.

  7. Spriggs

    I don’t understand why Cubs fans are so willing to relive that 2003 thing. Besides dealing with a few loved ones dying, this was the most painful thing I can remember in all my life. Now I see that TV special that Comcast is running and it just makes me sick.

    Not only that, but it just perpetuates the curse, the Bartman thing, etc. And it just adds to pressure that mounts on all Cubs teams. Stop!

    1. Kramden

      How can you not understand the pain? My generation lived thru the 1969 collapse, which was sliced, diced and lamented until Bartman managed to one up that heartache for a new generation to spend the rest of THEIR lives scratching their heads in disbelief.

      1. Spriggs

        I thought I was clear…. I do understand the pain. I understand the pain all too well. That is why I cannot and will not click on that link or watch any of that 2003 TV stuff. It is not good for anyone and it is not good for the team. I lived through all the 69 and the 84 stuff too. I haven’t recovered from any of it. I don’t need to see any of it again. It’s 100 times worse than watching the cardinals win

        1. Cubbie Blues

          At least you’ll always have 1908.

    2. Cub Fan Dan

      I would THINK/HOPE most Cubs fans don’t want to relive that. I for one do not & dont really care to watch 5 Outs. The 10 year anniversary seems to be getting pushed down our throats by the local media, CSN, et al.

      1. Spriggs

        Amen back! And remember that some of the media in Chicago is composed of Sox fans and other people who enjoy this immensely. Again, I just don’t get why Cubs fans eat this crap up. It kills me. It hurts the team and just builds on the pressure that they will some day be facing again.

        1. Eternal Pessimist

          I guess they’ll get some ratings from the Sox fans.

  8. Andy

    I would say Anibal Sanchez screwing over the Cubs last offseason is a good enough reason to not root for the Tigers.

    1. ssckelley

      He didn’t screw over the Cubs, he used the Cubs to screw over the Tigers.

    2. cubfanincardinalland

      I just feel sorry for a dude that has to go through life named Anibel. Thanks a lot Mom.

  9. OCCubFan

    I would think that the Cubs would want some kind of guarantee that the amusement tax won’t be hiked after they do the renovations and a move is effectively impossible

  10. MichaelD

    “Keep in mind, an amusement tax hike is effectively a tax hike on the Cubs, even though the tax is borne by ticket buyers. For every dollar of “tax” added to Cubs tickets, that’s one less dollar that the Cubs can charge. The market will bear whatever price it will bear – total price, including taxes – and when some of that price is going to the City/County, that’s money that the Cubs don’t get as revenue.”

    That is not exactly how this works. The bearer of the tax between the producer and the consumer depends on the elasticity of demand. If the demand is elastic then the producer bears most of the burden, and if the demand is inelastic then the consumer bears most of the burden.

    1. Eternal Pessimist

      That is very interesting…Aristotle would be proud.

      But really it is an additional 9% cost that the customer has to pay, and that the Cubs don’t get to charge. I guess you could argue that the customer often has no ideas what sort of taxes and fees are going to be added and the fact that the Cubs can advertise the lower price limits the effect of the tax.

      1. MightyBear


        1. Eternal Pessimist


          1. mjhurdle


    2. Brains

      It’s not clear to me why anyone would want to buy Cubs tickets for the next 3 years. It’s like paying Mercedes prices for a Yugo.

      1. Tommy

        Being a fan of the team comes to mind.

        1. Brains

          Absolutely, though our incentive has been severely reduced by willful depleting of the “team”.

  11. Frank

    I don’t like any of the teams left. As much as I can’t stand the cards,they are a model organization and do things the right way. I can’t see me rooting for the cards or the dodgers. I think I dislike the Red Sox least of all the remaining teams and I’m not crazy about them.

    1. cubfanincardinalland

      Yeah, and the Third Reich was a model for organization and efficiency. Eff the Cardinals.

  12. Eternal Pessimist

    Now the Cubs will have to wait for two things before starting the Wrigley rehab. They need assurances the rooftops won’t sue and a guarantee that the City won’t raise the Amusement Tax hike.

    The new strategy seems to be finding any business that is doing well and tax the “excessive” profit margin right out of them.

    1. Pat

      That not really a new strategy for the politicians (or for companies for that matter)

      1. Eternal Pessimist

        Yep. Of course when companies can move from a high tax to a lower tax area (without hurting operations) they will.

        I’m not sure what the net loss to revenue might be if they leave Wrigley, but Wrigley is awfully hard to get to from the Western suburbs and bringing it to a suburb adjacent to a highway/mass transit would lower the tax burden (and ticket prices possibly…or they will charge the same and keep the difference, and possibly plow that into player salary).

        I personally would be just as likely, and probably more likely to see a Cubs game in a more accessible location. I used to live in Wrigleyville and have great memories of my time there, but would definitely “forgive” Rickett’s for making this move now.

  13. Canadian Cubs Fan

    If I ever feel the need to start cutting, I’ll go read that 2003 article instead. Until then, I don’t hate myself enough to do it.

    I’ll be rooting or the Tigers as well. I have a friend that’s a huge Red Sox fan, and he become insufferable. I told him he’s worse than the Yankees fan he used to complain about. The Dodgers ARE the new Yankees. The Cardinals are Satan’s team.

    1. Spriggs

      And nobody will be able to stop Satan this year.

  14. BD

    As far as the amusement tax goes- do the White Sox have to pay it? And why or why not?

    1. Pat

      Yes, it is assessed on their tickets as well (although they do not break it out as a separate
      line on the ticket). All entertainment places have to pay it. It is less for movie theaters, bars and bowling alleys than for sporting events or major concerts, but it is by no means a Cub specific tax.

      1. BD

        Thanks! I didn’t think it was, but it seems like I only ever hear about it in relation to the Cubs.

      2. Eternal Pessimist

        Maybe the amusement tax can be replaced by a happiness tax. Anyone who is happy should be willing to share.

      3. OCCubFan

        Do the rooftops have to pay the amusement tax as well?

        1. OregonCubsFan

          Good question – I would hope that they do. They are selling tickets to a major sporting event.

  15. Kramden

    Hate to admit it, but the city of Chicago, the rooftop owners and Wrigleyville (for not standing up for the Cubs) are giving the Ricketts every reason in the world to move out of Chicago.

  16. North Side Irish

    MLB Trade Rumors ‏@mlbtraderumors 1m
    Yankees Expected To Aggressively Pursue Tanaka #mlb

    “The Yankees will have competition for Tanaka — one talent evaluator told King that the Red Sox, Dodgers and Rangers will be in the mix as well “

    1. macpete22

      Of course the Dodgers are in the mix. They are supposedly going to be the most aggressive team in pursuing David Price too. Although, not so sure what the Dodgers have to give up to acquire Price

  17. Rick 21

    How is the AFL in terms of talent? High A talent or AA talent? How happy should we be to see our guys perform at a high level at this level?

    1. bbmoney

      Hitting talent is usually > pitching talent out there. But it’s largely AA guys and higher. Although that’s changed a little bit this year.

      Either way, as inexperienced as Almora, Bryant and Soler are at the professional level in the US I think it’s ok to be quite happy.

    2. BWA

      My Understanding is that similar to the Cubs AFL players, the AFL has a lot of elite hitting talent. The pitching is weaker because most teams elite pitching prospects have hit their innings limit. The pitchers tend to be rule 5 eligible or coming off an injury and trying to get in some extra innings.

  18. Hee Seop Chode

    What’s all of this talk about doing it the right way. We think too much. I want the Cubs to be a top 5 payroll and win the freaking World Series. When all of those contracts look bad because the players are old & broken, I want the Cubs to go buy new players and pay them a ton of money.

    I don’t want to hear about Rickets money problems, or how the government is slowing his proposed revenue streams. I want him to spend a ton of money anyway. I want Theo to go HAM. And before you say “well there weren’t any good free agents the last two years anyways. Who did you want them to sign?” I”ll retort I don’t know, but the Dodgers sure figured it out. As did Boston. As did Detroit.

    Spend, Win, enjoy more revenue. Or at least enjoy winning.

    1. mjhurdle

      In this business model, where does this endless stream of money to constantly pay new players and old, broken players not on the team coming from?
      I know where the Dodgers got their money stream, i know where Boston gets theirs….where does the Cubs revenue stream come from to support your model?

      1. Hee Seop Chode

        RIckets pocket.

        1. Eternal Pessimist

          …or he could just get what’s under the couch pillows. (hah)

        2. CubFan Paul

          Because of the weird purchase agreement, the Cubs can’t out spend their revenue stream, as in, Ricketts or his Dad can’t throw in more millions to the annual $270M pie. Bruce Levine talked about it last night with Kaplan:

          What the Ricketts can do and probably won’t do is stop paying $40plus million in debt services out of the Cubs’ revenues and pay for it out of his own coffers. But i’m not sure if the purchase agreement would allow that

          1. bbmoney

            I don’t think we’re sure about any of that. Unless of course you have access to the documents. I’m quite sure Levine doesn’t.

            1. CubFan Paul

              Don’t say “we”. I am sure. You can stay in denial though.

              1. bbmoney

                Ok I’ll agree to stop misusing the word ‘we’ if you’ll agree to stop misusing the word ‘sure’ and save it for situations when you actually have real information and facts and not media and personal speculation.

                1. CubFan Paul

                  Or you could stop replying me…

          2. hansman

            “paying $40plus million in debt services”

            Where has this ever been proven?

            1. CubFan Paul

              It’s the math on the purchase agreement: having to pay a minimum on the loan

              1. hansman

                So the $40M is from where? I have read they are obilgated to pay into the debt servicing but I’ve always assumed it was in the $15-20M range.

                If the Ricketts are paying that much to debt servicing AND have ramped up amatuer spending AND have spent on facilities AND kept end of season payroll at $95M these past two years, that is impressive.

      2. James

        The Chicago Cubs were the most profitable baseball organization last year according to Forbes magazine, and top five this year (even with the drop in attendance). Their revenue comes from multiple sources; tickets, food & beverage, apparel (from MLB down to lowest level of the minors), they also make money on investments too. A franchise that is ‘hurting for money’ doesn’t spend 500 million of stadium renovations. The organization is just using media outlets to hint that they don’t have the resources to go out and get better talent, thus placating the fan base. I understand it’s a business and Ricketts & company can run their business however they want, but don’t lie to the fans and tell us you can’t afford to get better talent for the MLB club. It’s an insult to the intelligence of all Cubs fans.

  19. Chad

    Dear Cubs, Please move. It will be better for you and 99.9% of the fans won’t care, especially if it is a nicer park and easier to get to. (won’t happen I know)

    Also, I was 0-4 in rooting interests in the divisional series after going 2-0 in the 1 game play ins. I have no team left to cheer for. By default it has to be the Tigers, I guess. My best scenario would be Dodgers beating the Cards in 7 on a come from behind bases loaded walk, only to get swept by the Tigers in the WS.

  20. mjhurdle

    Im defaulting to rooting for the Tigers
    Can’t root for the Cardinals because….they are the Cardinals.
    Can’t root for the Dodgers/Red Sox because the media hype train of Ortiz/TitleTown/BostonStrong or Puig/LA/Magic Johnson will never end.

    If the Tigers win, the hype and coverage will be done in a couple weeks and i will be able to visit all my normal baseball info sites without being bombarded by hype stories.

    1. OregonCubsFan

      You have other baseball info sites other than bleacher nation?!?!?

    2. C. Steadman

      yeah I’m rooting for the Tigers, and I am more rooting for the Cardinals to lose, rather than the Dodgers to win…

      1. YourResidentJag

        Tigers are my choice as well.

  21. Stevie B

    Hmmmm…why on earth would Chicago need more revenue?

    Is it because even though it’s home to my beloved Cubs, it’s an actual shit hole of Democrats which depend mostly on government entitlements?


    1. OregonCubsFan

      So cities that lean Republican don’t need more revenue? Interesting.

      Why don’t we leave political stuff out of it.

      1. mjhurdle

        If only we had elected Ross Perot, then this would all be taken care of. :)

  22. North Side Irish

    KLaw on the Cubs hitters in the AFL so far…

    “Moving on to hitters, the Cubs’ trio of impact hitting prospects all looked good on Tuesday and then went off at home on Wednesday afternoon. (I was only at the Tuesday game, but was at another game on Wednesday.) Jorge Soler has filled out significantly since I last saw him in late 2012, now making louder contact during a very impressive BP, but looked rusty at the plate in that first game.

    Kris Bryant also looked strong in BP with plus-plus raw power and had no problem handling bigger velocity on Tuesday, squaring up a 97 mph fastball for a hard-hit single. Albert Almora had the game of the Fall League so far on Wednesday, falling a triple short of the cycle, and has filled out nicely as well since he first signed after the 2012 draft. “

  23. C. Steadman

    Interesting fact, which really means nothing except for praising what Almora has already done in the AFL, but he already has half the hits Baez had last year and he only has played 2 games (6 hits to Baez’s 12(14 GP last year)

  24. Kevin

    It’s kind of weird that some posters here on BN have friends who know somebody with knowledge that the Cubs are gaining leverage with offers from other locations to move the Cubs but follow it up that the Cubs will never move out of Wrigley. I would sure like to be a fly on the wall during a Cubs board meeting.

    1. chrisfchi

      And don’t forget the cubs are for sale as well. Would live to know where that stuff is coming from

  25. TOOT

    ” Make sure to kick yourself in the stones before you read – then their words can’t hurt you.”

    Bartman was a scapegoat, no doubt. The Cubs lost the 2003 series in the sixth game against the Marlins because:

    1) Aramis Ramirez went 1-4
    2) Alex Gonzalez bumbled and easy ground ball
    3) Kyle Fansworth just plain blew up the Cubs(13 pitches, 3 strikes, 3 earned runs)
    4) Dusty Baker just plain sucks under pressure.

  26. MichiganGoat

    the Cardinals FARK FARK FARK

  27. Die hard

    My sense is that Daddy Ricketts is getting fed up with this Chicago investment and would sooner sell and take his lumps rather than hold and face bigger losses– may be time for the grown ups to take away the toys- kids play time may be over

  28. Die hard

    Maybe tax is last straw causing Cubs to move ….. to Florida

  29. Die hard

    Jacksonville Cubs could be for real

  30. Rafael

    Cubs fans should get together and send a message to the mayor. “You raise tax and we all vote for whoever goes against you in the next election”!

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