Although I find this report interesting just from a pure sports ownership perspective, there are plausible long-term implications for the Chicago Cubs, so, when I’m able to digest it all – if the deal proceeds – that’s where my focus will lie.
For now, I wanted to get this report in front of you:
DEVELOPING: The Ricketts family — not just Tom — have expressed interest in buying AC Milan, one of the three largest soccer teams in Italy, according to a source close to the deal. https://t.co/UTXhU5q3Qv
— Madeline Kenney (@madkenney) June 22, 2018
The family of Tom Ricketts, owner of the Chicago Cubs, has confirmed in a statement obtained by Sky Sport Italia that it is interested in acquiring a stake in AC Milan. Meanwhile, Milannews is reporting that negotiations are at an advanced stage. Here we go.
— Anthony Lopopolo (@sportscaddy) June 22, 2018
I’m not a soccer (er, football) dude, so I can’t proclaim to know the ins and outs of the various top leagues in Europe, but I can say that even a guy like me has heard of A.C. Milan. So that’s a starting point for whether it’s a big deal club. It is.
Should the Ricketts Family go down this road, the possible ways they could leverage owning two enormous pro franchises each with international appeal are numerous. And also a mix of exciting and nerve-inducing. And also nuanced. Probably too nuanced for me to intelligently shoot from the hip when I’ve only just read this report and started mulling the possibilities.
I tend to doubt there could be a relationship with the Cubs’ ongoing media rights negotiations, but that’s also on my radar as something to mull. (Remember: the Ricketts Family is a part owner of NBC Sports Chicago, which holds the rights to a little more than half the team’s games currently, and is presumably a bidder for the full rights when they become available after the 2019 season. Again, I don’t immediately see how there could be a relationship, but, given the timing, I had to at least comment. Also, no, in case you were wondering, Comcast/NBC does not hold the distribution rights for Serie A football in the United States. I checked. But what if the Cubs/Ricketts start a new regional sports network and specifically then sell the A.C. Milan rights to that network … see, I’m getting ahead of myself.)
Wrigley Field was host to an international friendly back in 2012, by the way, as Italy’s AS Roma played Poland’s Zaglebie Lubin.