Stop the presses! Ricketts considering selling minority shares to finance Wrigley reno!

Wrigley Field opens its 100th anniversary season today (or, as it’s known to Associated Press URL writers, “Thursday“), and the forecast is for quarter-sized hailstones, no doubt in tribute to the announced retirement of David Letterman. Anyway, they think they’ll get the game in, but regardless of whether or not they do, it’s an excuse for every Chicago news outlet to be talking about what the heck is up with those stadium renovations that have been put off until 2015, oh come on, there’s got to be something to say here, or we’re going to have to write about the actual Cubs, seriously:

The Ricketts family is considering selling minority stakes in the Chicago Cubs to help finance its $500 million plan to renovate Wrigley Field and redevelop the surrounding area, according to a source close to the team.

Okay, I guess that qualifies as something, sort of. Nobody is saying how much of a stake the Rickettses are thinking of unloading, or how serious they are, but it’s one way of raising cash if they want to do it. Or they could just ask their dad for some money, or borrow it from a bank and then repay it from revenues from all the new ad signage they’re hoping to erect, but selling a small slice of equity is a time-honored way to raise capital and not at all something that anyone is likely to get alarmed

Raising cash will invite comparisons to the New York Mets selling minority ownership stakes in wake of the Bernie Madoff scandal.

Ah, corporate web media, what would we do without you?

Meanwhile, across town, nobody is going to White Sox games because seriously, have you been outside in Chicago in April? Deadspin cracks a joke about how this doesn’t mean that the White Sox should be contracted, but it’s only a matter of time before somebody writes that they need to build a new stadium or move to Schaumburg or something. Probably the next time the Cubs have a hail-out and there are pageviews to fill.

And finally, on a happier note, here’s what Wrigley Field looked like in 1914, when it was home to the Chicago Whales of the Federal League. It’s pretty cool that you can still go to this place and watch baseball, even if it sadly no longer includes a detachable seating section 30 feet behind the first baseman:

6 comments on “Stop the presses! Ricketts considering selling minority shares to finance Wrigley reno!

  1. I’ve sat in New Comiskey on cold damp April days like that, it’s not fun. The dampness cuts right through you. It’s even worse when there’s winds off the lake. The way these jerk batters work deep every count & all that scoring, yesterday’s game lasted almost 4 hours. Never again. There’s 81 home games a year, no need to waste money on stupid early April games.

  2. really they need money! c’mon they haven’t spent jack on players unloaded a bunch of big contracts, got the highest priced tickets to watch a bunch of AAA players and now they want us to help fix their remodeling job? how bout spending some money on the team’s restructuring. I give em a few yrs after they make huge amounts of money then turn around and sell the team at the fans expense.

  3. @pissedoffcub fan
    What exactly do you expect? The Cubs organization had among the WORST farm systems in baseball, only 3-4 years ago, and they now have one of the best in baseball. The WORST, STUPIDEST thing they could have done would have been to throw huge amounts of money at free agents during the off season, when this team is still a season or two or three from being competitive. As a Cub fan, I’m happy there is an actual PLAN in place (develop the farm system, develop Dominican Republic facilities, et al), is my patience, and most Cub fans patience coming to an end? Absolutely…and that’s why we don’t attend games now, but to claim they are “not spending money on restructuring,” is patently wrong.
    And I totally get the Rickett’s frustration dealing with the rooftop owners…the Ricketts bought the team and inherited a contract with the rooftop clubs that was negotiated by Tribune company, who at the time owned the Cubs…they are now hamstrung in what they can do, with regard to signage IN THEIR OWN BALLPARK…that is asinine, and the rooftop owners are destined to lose…maybe later rather than sooner, but the views from the rooftops are destined to fundamentally change for the worse. When the Cubs finally are able to reconstruct Wrigley Field in the ways that they want, it will allow more revenue to come in, and should be reinvested in helping the team.
    I’m just happy the Chicago & IL taxpayers didn’t get screwed to the degree (Cubs still getting tax breaks) that the citizens of Miami & Florida did by the Marlins ownership on their monstrosity of a stadium…or even how we got screwed in Chicago on the US Cellular AND United Center AND Soldier Field, AND upcoming DePaul basketball stadium bad for the taxpayers deals…

  4. These owners have yet to spend their own money on anything. Well maybe the academy in the D.R. but not spring training or minor league parks paid by taxes. These bozos couldn’t sell out opening day even though local TV and radio have spent entire giving the Cuba 24/7 free promotion. Now they want to sell water down shares for losers who want to hang with these bozos. They must think they’re Beckham. BTW less than 2k at Comisky park.

  5. Dan M wrote: “The WORST, STUPIDEST thing they could have done would have been to throw huge amounts of money at free agents during the off season, when this team is still a season or two or three from being competitive.”

    Too many “baseball fans” are really just football fans in disguise. They’re used to the NFL’s system where you have one-way guaranteed contracts and can turn things around very quickly via free agency. Rarely has spending a lot of money on free agents been successful in turning around a baseball team. We live in a time when most folks aren’t happy about having to wait until next season – much less waiting 4 or 5 seasons.

  6. The funny thing is that Ricketts WAS one of the Rooftop partners when that deal was signed.

    The Cubs made an agreement with the rooftop owners. I don’t think they should have done it, just like I don’t think the city should have allowed rooftop grandstands, but they did. And the Cubs have to live with it or buy out their contract with the ‘partners’. That’s how business works.

    Ricketts, as a part owner of one of the rooftop businesses, would absolutely have known that (in fact, I’m betting he and his Dad’s lawyer were keen on including the ‘obscured view’ clauses in the contract). The only reason the Cubs are “screwed” is that they want to build something that their own contract precludes (signage that obscures the view of their partners). They could build all kinds of other things that don’t obscure the view and give them equal revenue, or they could buy out their partners and build whatever they want.

    This is an issue of contract and nothing else.