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ricketts-family-wrigley-fieldIn case you missed it late last week, reports broke – and a source confirmed – that the Ricketts Family is considering selling minority shares in the Chicago Cubs, in part to raise cash to fund the Wrigley Field renovation and development project. Chairman Tom Ricketts has now, himself, confirmed that the possibility is on the table.

“Any time you’re looking at privately financing a big project like this, you’re going to look at all your different sources of potential financing,” Ricketts told Cubs.com. “Most teams are owned by dozens of investors. It’s unusual for anyone to own 95 percent of the team. We’ll look at whether or not that fits for us. It is non-controlling minority shares.”

This is, to me, both simple and obvious, but that hasn’t been the reaction from all corners. Since writing about the possible minority sale, I see an erroneous take repeated again and again: this means the Ricketts Family can’t afford the Wrigley renovation.

“Affording” the renovation, I suppose, means … paying cash for the project? If so, virtually no one in America – not even most billionaires – could “afford” a $500 million project. Why? Because they don’t keep their money in “cash”; they keep it in investments. Like stocks, bonds, real estate, and businesses. You know, businesses like the Chicago Cubs.

Would the Ricketts Family be “affording” the renovation project if they paid for it straight out of Cubs revenues? How about if they took on a huge amount of additional debt? Is that “affording” the project?

No. Instead, the Ricketts Family is selling a portion of one of their many assets – one that has appreciated massively in the last few years, and thus makes sense to sell off a little bit to capture that gain – and it just happens to be the Cubs. This is no different than if they were to sell off a chunk of TD Ameritrade stock, or a chunk of some other business or property they own. I suppose it’s the whole Cubs connection that is throwing folks for a loop, but don’t be confused here: yes, it’s interesting that the thing the Ricketts Family is considering selling to fund the renovation is the Cubs, but it is, in some ways, a coincidence.*

*(Knowing the ownership structure of the Cubs, of course, we can say that it’s not entirely a coincidence. But I don’t want to go too far down a misleading road. The only salient point here is that it really doesn’t matter what asset the Ricketts Family sells to open up cash for the Wrigley deal. They had to sell something, because people don’t just keep $500 million in Benjamins lying around.)

As Ricketts said, most MLB teams are owned by a wide variety of owners, so this move is pretty much in lock-step with the norm in the industry. It just so happens that it could be a good time to sell a portion anyway, with an impending need for cash. Were the Ricketts Family selling a portion of the team to pay off debt (or to get out from under the crushing weight of the Bernie Madoff scandal, as was the case with the New York Mets when they did this a couple years ago), this would be an entirely different discussion. As it is, the Ricketts Family is considering selling a portion of the team to get funds to then invest right back into a part of the organization.

In other words, selling a portion of the Cubs isn’t proof that the Ricketts Family can’t “afford” the Wrigley renovation. It is them affording the renovation. The “can’t afford it” narrative is literally backwards.

The other piece of this to keep in mind: should the Ricketts Family sell a chunk of the Cubs, and use the proceeds to pay for the renovation (rather than just pocketing it), the “value” of the Cubs and Cubs-related assets increases, right? The Cubs with a renovated Wrigley Field are more valuable than the Cubs with a dilapidated and antiquated Wrigley Field. So, in that way, all that’s really happening is the Ricketts Family, the Tribune Company, and whatever outside investors come into the picture, are investing in the Cubs and Wrigley Field, and expanding its value (probably just about commensurately with the investment). The Ricketts Family is no worse for the wear in the long-run, but, more importantly, neither are the Cubs.

The story here probably should have been some variation of, “see how serious the Ricketts Family is about using its own assets to fund the renovation?” Instead, it somehow became the opposite. Years of losing and dwindling payroll – however explainable those things may be – will do that, I suppose.

A final point to reiterate: what’s being consider are minority shares that would not entitle the buyer to a real “voice” in the way the organization is run. From where I sit, that’s the most important part of this whole story. The last thing we’d want to see is the Ricketts Family come in, finally start seeing through a long-term plan, only to then have multiple voices come in and disrupt things. If you read my financial piece, you know that I’m extremely bullish on the long-term future of the organization both from a baseball and business perspective. The sale of minority shares in the team will not impact that view, for me, in any way.

  • http://www.w2wn.net Cerambam

    The world is split into two types of people, the ones that get it and the ones that are super scared and paranoid and don’t know what’s gonna happen and OMGEVERYTHINGISOVERRUNFPRTHEHILLSWHILEWESTILLCAN!!!!!!

  • abe

    If anything this will help the Cubs. Any additional money earned from the signage and like can be used for payroll and not to build the stadium.

  • Funn Dave

    Hm. Strange but interesting take on the news.

    One thing I remember reading is that the Ricketts are looking for a small number of big-money buyers, rather than a large number of smaller investors. Why is that? Wouldn’t they rather share the wealth a bit, so that each investor has a smaller share, and by extension a smaller say in the goings on of the team? IMO, they should consider the Packers’ approach, and sell a bunch of mostly symbolic, virtually meaningless stock to raise funds without giving up any actual percentage of ownership of the team.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That actually sounds like a pretty douchey thing to do.

      • Jon

        What’s hilarious is the thousands mensa candidates that actually buy them. And they explicitly note that the stocks have zero value.

      • C. Steadman

        Why? Because of this:
        “the should consider the Packers’ approach” :)

        • C. Steadman

          *they…I quoted him wrong–I’d be a bad reporter.

      • Jason P

        I’ll confess. I own Packers stock.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Well, if it really does confer NO benefit and have NO value … I don’t think that was very nice of them to sell it to you.

          • DarthHater

            I have a deed to a nice lunar plot in the Sea of Tranquility that I’d be willing to part with at the right price…

          • DarthHater

            Public TV takes your money and sends you a tote bag. The Packers take your money and send you a certificate. It’s charity.

          • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

            Ya it’s pretty much the same as when the Cubs sold bricks outside Wrigley

          • Funn Dave

            I don’t think it’s douchey–and as the self-proclaimed Grammar Douche, I know a thing or two about douchiness. It’d be different if they tried to pass them off as actual stock, but they’ve always been upfront about the symbolic nature of the “shares.” Consider this: how much do people pay for sports memorabilia? I’ve seen things that were a lot more worthless (bloody socks, etc.) go for a lot more than $50. I think that the Wrigley bricks are a pretty good comparison. The stock lets you say, “I donated to contribute to my favorite sports team, and now I’ve got this certificate with which to remember my contribution.” And it’s not *entirely* worthless–you do get to go to the shareholders’ meetings, and get access to a shareholder phone line where you can say things like “release Crosby, dammit!” or “remember that time when I asked you to release Crosby? Yeah, nevermind.” One final note: I think the Packers’ approach has an egalitarian effect on the fanbase, and fosters an inclusive atmosphere that invites regular people, and not just millionaires, to feel a sense of proprietarity (ok that might not be a word) regarding their favorite sports teams.

            • Jon
              • DarthHater

                Great. Goodell always needs more people to fine.

              • Funn Dave

                Damn. Harsh penalty. I wonder if they’ve actually handed it down to anyone yet.

                • Jon

                  Fining someone that owns 1 share of packer stock that bet on a game the didn’t even involve the Packers seems so redicolous and petty…that I”m sure they have :)

                  • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                    You’d almost think the rule was created by the NCAA!

                    Seriously though, a collegiate athlete cannot bet money on any NCAA game. Yes, a division 3 women’s tennis player can be declared ineligible by joining a $5 NCAA March Madness bracket pool

          • Jason P

            I mean, you get to vote for the board of directors, for what it’s worth. But yes, buying Packers stock is mostly charity.

        • Funn Dave

          Good man.

    • Bricklayer

      You should know that MLB does not allow for a Packers-esque type ownership model. In fact, since 1960, neither does the NFL. Article V, Section 4 of the NFL constitution—otherwise known as the Green Bay Rule—states that “charitable organizations and/or corporations not organized for profit and not now a member of the league may not hold membership in the National Football League.”

  • Indy57

    Perhaps somewhat related to this, while watching the CSN and WGN interviews with Tom Ricketts Saturday and Sunday, he seemed a bit subdued to me. He’s had such enthusiasm for what they are doing and I’m just wondering if all this bashing in the Chicago media lately is getting him down. Dave Kaplan asked him point blank if he’s still enjoying the job. He was a bit evasive at first, but answered, “How could you not love this job?” This discussion started in reference to the minority owner capital and you just have to wonder if the guy isn’t a little tired of getting pilloried in the media for trying to do the right thing. This is a perfect case in point.

  • waffle

    Starting the renovations, or being somewhat transparent as to where things stand would go along way I think.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Well, they’ve pretty much said why they can’t start yet. And they’re not going to divulge the specifics of confidential negotiations with the rooftops, so …

    • Coop

      I thought they have been transparent – they will not start until they have assurances of no new legal hurdles/shenanigans from the rooftops.

      • Coop

        Dang, can’t beat Brett on the trigger.

        • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

          That’s what she said??

  • Chet Masterson

    Steinbrenner owned only 55% of the Yankees.

  • Kyle

    I’m still not convinced that selling a fungible asset like publicly traded stock is the equivalent of selling a chunk of your baseball team.

    I’m willing to be convinced, and it probably isn’t a big deal either way, but so far that still seems like a meaningful difference.

    • Hee Seop Chode

      Kyle – talk me through your thinking here. Are you adding extra value to privately held assets because they can have a greater barrier to entry? I’d think that would just be priced into any sale.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        That is pretty much his point, yes.

        And, even if he’s right, I still don’t see how it matters (i.e., my comment just below this one).

        (Great meeting you, by the way – the swag fairy! But also a cool dude.)

        • Kyle

          It just feels like selling generic assets is something you can do back and forth as much as you want in perpetuity.

          Selling chunks of your MLB franchise is irreversible and something they can only do a few times, at most.

          • Kyle

            Which isn’t to say I think it’s a bad idea or proof that they’re broke or anything. It just seems like a little more than just the billionaire version of going to the ATM.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      As it pertains to the Cubs, the future financial state of the organization, and anything that would impact the fans’ enjoyment of the game or the product on the field, there is absolutely no meaningful difference.

      I, too, am willing to be convinced I’m wrong – but I’m pretty confident on this one.

  • Cubbie in NC

    Brett if they collect more than 500 million would that money be considered revenue that could go towards their debt ratio and other things for MLB purposes?

    I was just wondering if this could be used to add salary (if something worthwhile becomes available) or if this is a separate revenue stream.

    Day to Day it will make no difference like the Mets owners that got a parking space out of the deal.

    • Edwin

      It’s not revenue.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Correct. This is entirely separate (which is to say, there has been no indication that any of the proceeds will go toward paying down the team’s debt (which can’t really be paid down in a significant way right now anyway)).

  • aaronb

    I hope they sell the whole thing to a guy like Cuban. Somebody who can run this thing like his personal yacht.

    Go ahead and cash out Ricketts. Take your profits and move on to something else on your bucket lists.

    • Edwin

      That doesn’t make any sense.

      • aaronb

        What doesn’t make sense?

        They fulfilled a bucket list item of buying the Cubs. It’s proven to be a hassle. They can sell it and turn a tidy little profit.

        A guy can dream anyway.

        • Jon

          They would take a sizeable tax hit if they sold.

          • aaronb

            Sam Zell showed us there are ways around that.

            • Edwin

              If that’s the case, wouldn’t Cuban then be in the exact same boat the current owners are in?

              • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                Yes, and that’s the reason that Cuban bowed out the last time the Cubs were being sold, so 5 years later, why would he all of a sudden change his mind?

            • Jon

              “Sam Zell showed us there are ways around that.”

              Yeah That ultimately fuck the new owner and the franchise for 10 years

              • aaronb

                Not a new owner who is willing to dig into their own personal coffers. Ricketts running this with extreme austerity has little to do with Sam Zell.

                It’s just a 5 year and counting excuse.

                • bbmoney

                  You didn’t really read Brett’s financial piece real closely did you?

                  • aaronb

                    I read every word of it.

                    Still doesn’t absolve the Ricketts from blame. No matter how much some people here want to make excuses for them.

                    • roz

                      Blame for what? Blame for being forced to partake in a leveraged partnership as opposed to a straight sale?

                    • aaronb

                      Blame for hiding behind the MLB debt rules. If they even owned more of their subordinate debt they could spend much more freely.

                      They aren’t spending because they are choosing not to. Deal structure is just an excuse shield.

                    • DarthHater
                    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                      Then you don’t understand it.

                      MLB has told the Cubs they cannot spend more than X. Boom.

                      Now, Ricketts could choose to spend more than X but I’m guessing you missed out on what happened to the Dodgers right before they were sold.

                      Nothing Ricketts could do, outside of magically increasing the revenue could change that.

                    • roz

                      “Blame for hiding behind the MLB debt rules. ”

                      How can you possibly blame them for doing something that MLB is forcing them to do?

                  • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                    “You didn’t really understand Brett’s financial piece real closely did you?”

                    FTFY

                    • bbmoney

                      I can always count on you hansman. Always.

                    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                      I am going to pretend that this is a compliment of the highest degree.

                • Jon

                  Personal coffers are irrelevant. It’s like wanting to buy house, having the cash $$$$ to buy it outright, but the owner insisting you take a loan out instead.

                  • aaronb

                    Except in this case it’s wanting to buy a house. Borrowing the money from your father. Then hiding behind baseball Debt/Equity rules to force your dad to profit from loaning the money.

                    I’ve still not seen any evidence that the Ricketts trust must collect a profit. It’s basically nothing but a shield mechanism that puts an artificial spending cap on this franchise.

                    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                      Um…the Trust operating as an entity that wants to remain as an entity?

                      Just because the Rickets own and maintain the trust doesn’t mean that the Trust is there to solely fund the Cubs.

                    • BT

                      Dude, you are like Homer from the episode of the Simpsons when they changed his area code. Literally no amount of evidence changes your narrative.

                      Homer(/aaronb): What really burns me up is they didn’t give us one word of warning.
                      Carl: What do you mean? They ran those TV commercials about it, and that big radio campaign.
                      Lenny: Don’t forget the leaflets they dropped from the Space Shuttle, and the 2 weeks we all spent at area code camp.
                      Homer: Not a single word of warning.

                    • aaronb

                      Except the trust was conceived Specifically to purchase the Cubs.

                    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                      It may have been (and I haven’t seen anything that lists the start date of the trust) started at the same time as the Ricketts purchasing the Trust with the intent to loan funds to purchase the Cubs as a means to generate revenue for the Trust; however, that does not mean it is the Cubs piggy bank to smash any time they want.

                      Even then…any capital infusion by the Ricketts would probably be rejected under the covenants of the sale.

                    • roz

                      “Except the trust was conceived Specifically to purchase the Cubs.”

                      I’m almost sure that’s false. Almost.

                    • Patrick W.

                      This incessant rambling about why the Trust was formed is really so enlightening to the “I want to hate everything Ricketts because the Cubs are losing and I want to win! :::sobbing uncontrollably:::” mindset.

                      It cannot be explained any clearer why things were done the way they were. The details of the Trust are not relevant. How do you suppose setting up a trust and borrowing from it (to make the transaction 1:happen, 2: as inexpensive as possible) to buy the Cubs has an impact on current expenditures that paying cash for the Cubs wouldn’t have?

                      It’s very simple: Nobody could have become owners of the Chicago Cubs without borrowing a substantial amount of the purchase price. The Ricketts thought it was so important to them to buy the team they agreed to the terms, taking the long view that in year 11, many of those annoying little problems will go away. They were willing to take the hit for 10 years in order to get the love for the rest of their lives.

                    • Brocktoon

                      Then I intend to hit them for those 10 years. You don’t get to hide behind “but I really wanted the team” to absolve you from criticism for acquiring he team under conditions that severely handicaps it

                    • bbmoney

                      Which of course completely ignores the fact that these were the only terms under which Zell was willing to accept an offer based on ever single report on the sale at the time.

                      Damn facts. Frankly, I much prefer criticizing and offering opinions about situations entirely ignoring facts and circumstances. But darn it all if that’s a pointless endeavor.

                    • Brocktoon

                      And Ricketts was the only mark willing to go along with the terms. I forgot, no negativity about Ricketts ever though.

                    • mjhurdle

                      I almost admire the dedication it takes to stoically and repeatedly ignore any and all facts necessary in order to create arguments with which to beat on Ricketts for.

                      It seems to me that it would be easier and more productive to highlight some of the things he actually has done a poor job at instead of creating fictional ones, but maybe im just not dedicated enough to understand.

                    • Brocktoon

                      I’m sorry, did prospective buyers not back out because of the restrictive terms of the sale? Is it your theory that Zell sold to Ricketts over higher bidders just because he’s such a nice android?

                      I don’t know what it’s like to have such Stockholm syndrome, but I don’t envy it.

                • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                  “Not a new owner who is willing to dig into their own personal coffers. Ricketts running this with extreme austerity has little to do with Sam Zell.”

                  If the Ricketts places more personal money into the Cubs that would change the ownership structure and I am sure the Tribune would have a thing or two to say about it (if they don’t have a built in right to veto).

                  Right now, MLB has told the Cubs they have to keep $48M for EBITDA. The Cubs are somewhere in the $30-35M range.

                  If Ricketts wanted nothing more than to squeeze every dime out of the Cubs, EBITDA would be at $48M.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    I honestly don’t care what millionaires and billionaires do with their money. What I do care about is a big maket franchise operating like a small one due to restrictive conditions tied to the sale. After nearly five years of ownership this has come to light. And I am beggining to believe that it may remain this way until the 2019 season when the debt is retired and they are finally free to negociate a TV contract worthy of mention. All the talk of new revenues and the plaza etc. are just talk at this stage. Somebody has got to make a move at some point since it seems like it isn’t going to be resolved amicably. I don’t follow the details of the renovation plan, but I imagine that it will take more than one year to complete it. And we have already started a six month season so the best case scenario is that we may see work start in October. A trip to court and you can add another year to that minimum. I would love to be a fly on the wall in the upper echelons of Cubdom. All anybody can do at this point is hope that a few of the guys from this current group will show promise as pieces we can build the prospects around and hope that next December at the winter meetings that Theo has more than words or chump change to throw around.

  • Sect208Row8

    I have a customer that is a minority investor in the Sox. He is quick to hand out a Sox business card with his name and owner written prominently. And of course 2005 Champs. Nice guy, careful with his money when it comes to buying cars.

  • Cizzle

    To finance a project (or selling assets in general), wouldn’t one sell the asset that they believe has reached its peak price, or the asset that they think will increase in value the least? They have LOTS of other assets (Stocks, Real Estate, etc.), why not sell those? Are they essentially saying that their other assets will appreciate more than their stake in the Cubs will during the years of the renovation? Or do they not have enough controlling interest in their other assets in order to fund this, so they are willing to give up stock in the Cubs to not lose control elsewhere?

  • Hee Seop Chode

    “The other piece of this to keep in mind: should the Ricketts Family sell a chunk of the Cubs, and use the proceeds to pay for the renovation (rather than just pocketing it), the “value” of the Cubs and Cubs-related assets increases, right? ”

    Not really. Assuming you’re consolidating the various entities, moving owners’ equity (stock) into fixed assets (the statium) has no effect on the aggregate value of the enterprise. The Cubs and its related entities have been gaining equity over the past 4 1/2 years as TV revenue and MLB team values increased. “Just pocketing it” would be akin to a cash distribution and would decrease the organization’s value.

    A private sale would, however, provide a current market value of the organization (as opposed to Forbes estimates) – something we’d all like to see.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Cubs + crappy Wrigley = $1.2 Billion (or whatever)

      Cubs + renovated Wrigley = $1.7 Billion (or whatever)

      I’m not saying that the $500 million came out of thin air (the other investors had to reach into their pockets). I’m just saying that the Cubs’ value has increased, because it just had value injected. (The point here is to combat the idea that the Ricketts are somehow taking “away” from the Cubs.)

      • Hee Seop Chode

        Ah – I get what you’re saying. That’s completely correct.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    I guess from my limited perspective the person that frustrated fans should really be takiing their rath out on is the Commisioner of baseball Mr. Bud Selig for allowing Zell to broker a deal like that. A deal that in essence would limit the clubs ability to be competative over a 10 year period without additional revenues. And honestly I think Ricketts is probably a nice man and really does care about the fans and the team. Obviously he miscalculated when it came to the implementation of the business plan, which in turn would provide the additional revenues.. But to know that the team suffers and operates like a small market club for ten years to save a skin flint billionaire on his taxes just gets my undies in a bunch. And for my part I hope that someday Selig is investigated and taken down. His hands can’t be clean of this steroid stench that hangs over the game. People want to picket Beth Murphy’s place of business when they should be outraged by the deal that was made. That’s my two cents worth for now.

    • aaronb

      It’s especially egregious in that it happened so soon after Frank McCourt was allowed to buy the Dodgers.

      Truth be told McCourt and the Ricketts have/had almost identical business models.

      Does anyone think the LA fans want him back?

      • cms0101

        McCourt spent gross amounts of money on his partying lifestyle, culminating with his wife finding out about his mistress. When the MLB too a closer look at his finances, they put the squeeze on him until he sold. He was actually taking money out of the team to support his day to day lifestyle. Completely different business models.

        • Brocktoon

          Ricketts conveniently(Thanks to the terms of the sale, and MLB’s debt load rules) gets to finance his purchase of the team through its revenue.

          • Edwin

            That’s incorrect. I don’t think you undertand how finance works.

            • Brocktoon

              If there wasn’t a significant debt load as part of the sale, the Cubs would’ve gone for a much higher price. Instead, the price came down, higher debt load, paid off by Cubs revenues in the interim.

              • Edwin

                The reason the deal had the amount of debt it did was to mask the deal as a partnership, instead of the deal being considered a sale. That way Zell doesn’t need to pay taxes on the considerable gain he would realize from selling the Cubs.

                • Brocktoon

                  Yes, and because of the partnership aspect of it, Ricketts paid less money than he would if the sale was structured as an outright sale. They’ve essentially bought the team on an installment plan due to Zell’s requirements, only the final 300M of installments are coming out of the team’s revenues.

                  • Edwin

                    If they would have bought the team outright, they’d be basically doing the same thing. They’d sell some stock or other investments for some type of cash payment, and then finance the rest, most likely through debt. They’d be making debt payments either way. That was just how the deal was always going to be set up by Zell. If the Ricketts would have backed out, it would have been a different buyer facing the similar circumstances.

                    • Brocktoon

                      There were no other buyers at that price level under those circumstances, that’s why Ricketts got the team.

                      If they bought it outright, through whatever means, and then paid themselves back for the next 10 years for said means, would you have an issue with it?

                    • Edwin

                      They didn’t have the option of buying the Cubs outright. So saying “But if they did” doesn’t really get us anywhere.

                      Also, I believe the Ricketts won a bid to buy the Cubs, so at the very least there were other interested buyers. I’m not sure how the price would have changed. Either way, the structure of the sale would have remained the same, and it’s the structure of the sale that is causing some problems.

                      But, if the Ricketts had bought the Cubs outright, and then chose to keep payroll and other expenditures low soley to improve profits and pay down debt, then yes, I’d be very dissappointed. I have yet to see a convincing arguement that this is what the Ricketts family is doing.

                    • Brocktoon

                      Hard to know who else was out there, by time the sale went to Ricketts, because it’s MLB and everything has to be done under 8 shrouds of secrecy, but my recollection was the biggest names had all backed away.

                      Regarding your last paragraph, obviously, they aren’t doing that because they didn’t buy it outright. I just think it’s incredibly disingenuous to tell people every dollar of revenue is going back into the team, when (while technically true), it’s going into paying down debt. It’s a (required)shell game that they’ve benefited from.

                    • Edwin

                      I agree somewhat. I think saying that all revenue earned from the Cubs is going back into the Cubs is a little misleading if some of that revenue is being used to pay down debt. To me, the debt service is an expense to the Rickets for financing the Cubs, not a direct expense to the Cubs.

                      As far as the Ricketts benefiting from the current debt/ownership structure, I’m not sure that they are. The combination of being forced to carry a certain amount of debt to avoid the transaction being classified as a Sale, while also having to maintain a certain EBITDA level to comply with MLB rules has basically handcuffed some of their options when it comes to spending on the Cubs. Unless they can open more revenue streams, it’s tough for them to just go out and spend like crazy, even if they wanted to.

                      I’ve actually enjoyed this convo thread somewhat. Thanks.

  • Medicos

    Checking out the NL Leaders I discovered something that may have never happened before:

    After 1-week the Cubs have Bonifacio leading the NL in BA, SB and hits. I wonder if any Cub player has ever accomplished that???

    The sad thing about this entire 2014 season is that it really doesn’t matter what the Cubs record is during April, May, June and into July because the FO is going begin flipping players to contending teams in 4 1/2 months for future prospects just like they have done during the past 2 seasons.

    • Kyle

      For a season? No Cubs player has ever led all three in thesame year.

  • ClevelandCubsFan

    Would the Cubs be willing to sell to fans? I could imagine d be easy to find 10,000 fans willing to buy a $1,000 stake in the Cubs, generating $10M. That’s not chump change, and it’d be a lot of fun, and the fan base would love it.

  • OCCubFan

    I have a few questions.

    (1) If the Ricketts Family Trust adds cash (from selling stock or whatever) for the renovation to the Cubs, that increases their equity in the Cubs. Would that be okay with regard to the sales agreement and the IRS? Wouldn’t that reduce the Tribune’s share of ownership?

    (2) If a minority share in the Cubs is sold, would it come from the Ricketts Family Trust (in which case they have indeed “cashed out” part of their holding)? I think not because that would not add cash to the Cubs for the renovation.

    (3) If a minority share in the Cubs is sold, would it come from newly issued shares of the Cubs (with the proceeds going to the Cubs), thus diluting both the Ricketts’ and the Tribune’s equity? Would that be okay with regard to the sales agreement and the IRS?

    (4) If the Cubs raised the cash for the renovation via a loan, wouldn’t MLB have a problem with the resulting debt (since the Cubs debt already appears to be at or near the maximum that MLB will allow)?

    (5) Could the Ricketts Family Trust finance the renovation outside of the Cubs in exchange for ownership of a portion of Wrigley Field? This avoids IRS and MLB limitations at the expense of separating two assets that Ricketts seems to think should be together. I assume they could recombine the assets after 2019 when the limitations of the sales agreement expire.

    I don’t expect anyone to have all the answers to these questions, but I think some additional info would be useful.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Ricketts are doing what smart rich people do to improve their product and infrastructure, and expand their brand. OPM. Business school 101.

  • SenorGato

    < 3 Ricketts

  • SenorGato

    <3 Ricketts fam

  • Diehardthefirst

    Wonder what the VIG is on $10 mil ? Tony Soprano would likely charge $10000 week-

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