Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts Meets with Florida Governor Charlie Crist

Posted on 02 December 2009 by Lou

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Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts met with Florida Governor Charlie Crist this week to discuss the Cubs future spring training site.  The Cubs currently train in Mesa, Arizona, but are exploring the opportunity to relocate such facilities to the east coast in Collier County, Florida.  Three Florida businessmen presented a plan to Ricketts and Dale Brill – the head of Florida’s office of tourism, trade and economic development.  The group proposed building a brand new $100 million training facility for the Cubs near Naples in Collier County.  The Cubs would also move their Class Daytona minor league team to the new location.  The new location would also serve as the headquarters for the team’s entire minor league operations.  The group also proposed the development of a year-round “Wrigley Village” that would serve as a tourist “trap” all season long.

One of the businessmen – Craig Bouchard – had this to say about the economic jolt that a Chicago Cubs arrival would have on the entire state of Florida: “With the governor, we discussed the merits of having $50 million of incremental revenue flow into Collier County annually and the additional boost the Cubs would generate to other towns in Florida which host Major League teams.  Because the Cubs are the No. 1 draw of all Major League teams in the spring, attracting the Cubs would provide a boost to the economies of several counties in the state.”  Florida has lost the likes of several MLB teams the last few years – the Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds – so bringing in the Cubs would be a huge coup for the state.

While Ricketts has publicly said that the goal is to get “the best facility”, one would have to think that if the state of Florida offers incentives and tax breaks for the Cubs to re-locate to Naples, he would jump at that opportunity.  Arizona is still in the hunt too, so we’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear any further developments…

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