Tag Archive | "Ricketts Family"

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Wrigley Field “Upgrades” Underway – Will Be Ready for 2010 Opening Day

Posted on 12 February 2010 by Lou

The Chicago Cubs have been working on a few “upgrades” for the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field this winter.  Of the long list of things, my favorite one is the improvement of the rest rooms on the lower concourse level of the stadium.  The changes should help alleviate lines by creating more useful space for patrons.  I just hope they don’t eliminate the urinal “troughs”!

The most interesting change is the addition of a new season ticket area called the Executive Club.  The Executive Club is located down the left-field line where the Cubs have demolished 6 suites and renovated them into an exclusive season ticket holder club.  The cost is $24,300 per season ticket and the Cubs plan to sell 71 season tickets to the Executive Club.  Even with food and drink included, the $300 per game price seems a bit expensive, but I guess there are businesses and individuals who are willing to fork over that kind of cash.  The season ticket includes the 81 home games at Wrigley Field as well as any post-season games and other entertainment events, like concerts.

The other interesting change is the addition of a batting cage under the right field bleachers.  Fans will get to watch their favorites Cubs practice with hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo through a 1-way glass window.  Being able to walk under there the last few years was such a big hit that the Cubs decided to expand the capabilities in this manner as well with the batting cage.

Marketing Director Wally Hayward has also said that the team is working on new advertising endeavors for 2010.  The back of the left-field bleachers still needs a sponsor and the team has discussed selling sponsorship for the 2 on-deck circles on the field.  In addition to having hosting numerous concerts and the NHL’s Winter Classic, Hayward and his staff are exploring the opportunity to bring a college football game to Wrigley Field.  Rumors have it that local schools Illinois and Northwestern could make an appearance at Wrigley Field this November – that would be pretty sweet.

Sounds like some interesting moves by Hayward and the Ricketts Family.  I’m sure we will be hearing a lot more news about some of those innovative ideas from Cubs Management in the coming years…

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Ticket Prices to Remain “Essentially the Same” in 2010 at Wrigley Field

Posted on 06 December 2009 by Lou

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Chicago Cubs ticket prices will remain “Essentially the Same” in 2010 at Wrigley Field.

Given the economic climate, Cubs President Crane Kenney stated: “This isn’t the year to go crazy on ticket price increases.”

Thanks Crane – you care so much about the typical Cubs fan…

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Advertising & Marketing on the Cubs’ Minds

Posted on 23 November 2009 by Lou

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The Ricketts Family and the Cubs have added new advertising billboards to the back of the bleachers in left field.  The Cubs have yet to erect any signs there, but they are exploring opportunities that will be respective of the agreements that it has with the rooftop buildings on Waveland and Sheffield Avenues surrounding Wrigley Field.

The new billboards will limit the view of the roof the “Budweiser Building” – dubbed that because of the Budweiser sign that has graced the roof of the building for years and years.  There is no rooftop on that building but there is an indoor area where fans watch games for a price.  The owner of that building has indicated that Horseshoe Casino now owns the rights to advertise on the roof the building, but that has come into questions with the Cubs recent move.  That roof is always featured prominently on television broadcasts and now the Ricketts Family believes that it should have its own sponsor who will get that prime viewing area on broadcasts on the new left field bleachers billboards.


In related marketings, the Cubs also hired a new chief sales and marketing office – Wally Hayward – who will be in charge of the new position within the organization.  Hayward was instrumental in the City of Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympics.  Although it was ultimately a failed bid, the Cubs believe that Hayward’s corporate sponsorship strategy is one of the best in the business.  The Ricketts Family will welcome any sort of creative marketing ideas and corporate sponsorships it can get given the sale price they paid to buy the Cubs organization..

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Mesa v. Naples – Cubs Spring Training Battle Alive & Kicking

Posted on 01 November 2009 by Lou

The Chicago Cubs have called Mesa, Arizona their “home away from home” during the Spring since 1979.  But it looks like that could come to an end if the Ricketts Family decides to move the team’s spring training facilities from Arizona to Florida – and specifically Naples…

What the team is looking for – 120 contiguous acres; stadium with seating capacity of at least 15,000; 6 practice fields; sufficient parking; and a training complex that could be used 11 months out of the calendar year.

Arizona’s edge – the team is comfortable in Arizona having been there since the 1950’s.  Their current home has been the team’s site since 1979.  Mesa city leaders have indicated that they will do everything possible to keep the Cubs in Arizona.  They have highlighted a large-scale development area near the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport where Gaylord Entertainment Co. plans to builds a resort and conference center within the next few years.  The Cubs new facility would be nearby that center.  Travel times between Cactus League teams average just 30 minutes – travel time among the Grapefruit League teams in Florida is much longer with an average of 3 hours between sites.

Florida’s edge – it would be something new.  Florida has proposed developing a “Wrigley Village” that will be a “destination spot” for Cubs fans all across the country.  The Florida group has started a website called floridacubs.com but they said that they will not get into a bidding war with Mesa.  Florida reps have indicated that Arizona has had to build 3 facilities for the Cubs in 50+ years and they now have to build another for the team.  The site in Florida would be a state-of-the-art facility that would hold the Cubs operations for years to come.

We’ll keep you posted as this all plays out over the next few months…

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Chicago Cubs Press Conference Today @ Wrigley Field

Posted on 30 October 2009 by Lou

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I know we have been reporting a lot about the completion of the sale of the Cubs to the Ricketts Family, but the Cubs held a press conference at Wrigley Field today introducing the Ricketts Family as the new owners of the franchise.

The Ricketts family also released a statement to Cubs season ticket holders today – we’re still trying to get our hands on a copy of the letter, so we will post it to the blog as soon as we can redact certain information from the letter.

Tom Ricketts will lead the new ownership group as the Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Cubs franchise.  Ricketts emphasized the fact that his family is a family of Cubs fans and that they will maintain the integrity and tradition of Cubs baseball and Wrigley Field.  That being said, they are also committed to making sure that the Wrigley Field structure itself remains around for years and years to come, and in order to do that, there might be some changes that need to be made in order to reach that goal.  Ricketts mentioned nothing about raising ticket prices in 2010.  Given how bad the team performed during the 2009 schedule, it would be hard to imagine the Ricketts family raising prices.  But then again, I wasn’t the one shelling over $845 million bucks to become the new Cubs owner.  You gotta make your money back somehow…

Here are a few quotes that we have dug up from Tom Ricketts:

“It’s been a dream of mine for a long time to own the team, but it’s not the kind of thing that frequently comes true.  This is a dream come true, literally, for me and for the family, too.”

“I’ll be around [Wrigley Field].  I’ll be at almost all the games.  I’ll be with the fans more than the players… We only have a little time between now and Opening Day [2010], and we’ll do a few things to the stadium.  The real key is that we’ll spend all of next year planning the next five years, the changes we make to the stadium that bring it through to the next generation.  I think that will [involve] looking at all the options and trying to figure out what’s the best use of all the space, and both the space in the stadium and outside the stadium.”

“There are a lot of dollars committed to players for 2010, so a lot of the financial felxibility is limited for next year.  That said, there’s a great nucleus and great core team that’s coming back, and hopefully if Jim [Hendry] can find some of the right people to bring in and round out the team, we’ll have a great team next year.”

Let’s just hope they bring a championship to these loyal Cubs fans sooner rather than later…

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Cubs Ownership Timeline – Pretty Cool Information

Posted on 29 October 2009 by Lou

Check out this cool ownership timeline courtesy of the Chicago Cubs.  1905 – $105,000?  Unbelievable.  Now the Ricketts Family just paid $845 for the franchise, well more than the $660 million sale price for the Boston Red Sox franchise back in 2002… Enjoy!

1876: The Chicago White Stockings, owned by William A. Hulbert, become one of eight charter members of the National League. Hulbert is one of the founding fathers of the National League and its first president. The team would not be known as the Cubs until 1902.

April 1882: Former player, sporting goods tycoon and team president Albert Spalding takes over as owner of the Chicago team after Hulbert dies.

1902: James Hart was the club president since 1892, but takes over as majority owner in 1902 when Spalding steps down.

July 1905: Cincinnati Times-Star owner Charles Taft finances Charles Murphy’s purchase of the Cubs with a loan of $105,000. Murphy becomes team president.

February 1914: Taft buys the Cubs from Murphy. Murphy had invested $15,000 in the Cubs in 1905, and sells his share of stock for $503,500.

December 1915: Charles Weeghman, a team owner in the defunct Federal League, and nine others purchase a controlling interest in the Cubs from Taft for $500,000, and moves them to Weeghman Park (future site of Wrigley Field) at the corner of Clark and Addison. William Wrigley Jr. becomes a minority stockholder, purchasing a share for $50,000.

1919: Wrigley purchases enough shares to have complete control of the Cubs. He re-names Weeghman Park to Cubs Park. In 1926, Cubs Park becomes Wrigley Field. In 1932, Phillip K. Wrigley assumes control after his father’s death. In 1977, William Wrigley takes over the club after the death of his father.

June 16, 1981: The Wrigley Family ends its 65-year relationship with the team, selling the Cubs to Tribune Co. for $20.5 million.

December 2007: Real estate entrepreneur Sam Zell completes purchase of the Cubs’ parent organization, the Tribune Co.

April 2, 2007: Tribune Co. announces it has accepted a buyout offer from Zell in a deal valued at $8.2 billion, and plans to sell the Cubs. “I told the ballclub it’ll be business as usual,” Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said when the announcement was made prior to the season opener in Cincinnati. “It will not be a distraction.”

“It doesn’t make a difference to me,” Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee said of the news. “With the Tribune, I didn’t really know who the owner was. He wasn’t around. … As long as they’re committed to winning, that’s all we are concerned about.”

March 7, 2008: In a “state of the team” chat with beat writers in Mesa, Ariz., Cubs chairman Crane Kenney said the team was close to getting the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority to buy Wrigley Field and operate it. Kenney also said the team had been approached by at least three companies interested in purchasing naming rights. “We’re not going to leave resources that would go into the payroll and go into our restoration plans on the table to appease people who say, ‘I don’t think you should do it,'” Kenney said.

May 13, 2008: Zell rejects the ISFA plan to acquire Wrigley Field and says he will package the ballpark and Cubs together.

June 13, 2008: Nine potential buyers who were preapproved by MLB receive financial books on the Cubs. Interested buyers are believed to include a group headed by John Canning, chairman of private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners LLC; Internet billionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban; and the family of TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. founder Joe Ricketts.

July 19, 2008: Tribune Co. receives at least seven bids to buy the Cubs. On Aug. 26, Zell says the company has narrowed the list to five. “We hope to have a deal to MLB by the end of the year,” Zell said.

Dec. 1, 2008: At least three groups submit offers to the Tribune Co. in the latest round of bidding. The three finalists include the Ricketts family; a partnership of private equity investors Marc Utay and Leo Hindery Jr.; and Chicago real estate executive Hersh Klaff.

Dec. 8, 2008: Tribune Co. files for bankruptcy protection to deal with $13 billion in debt. The Cubs are not included in the filing.

Jan. 14, 2009: At the owners meetings in Paradise Valley, Ariz., Kenney says he hopes to have the sale completed by Opening Day 2009. “We’re anxious to get the season started and have a new owner in place,” Kenney said.

Jan. 22, 2009: The Tribune Co. selects the Ricketts family as the winning bidder to purchase the Cubs, with the price reported to be $900 million. That includes the team, Wrigley Field, and a 25 percent share in Comcast SportsNet Chicago. “My family and I are Cubs fans,” Tom Ricketts said in a statement. “We share the goal of Cubs fans everywhere to win a World Series and build the consistent championship tradition that the fans deserve.”

Feb. 23, 2009: Tom Ricketts resigns from TD Ameritrade’s board after his family sells $403 million of its stock in the online brokerage to help finance its bid to buy the Cubs.

March 7, 2009: MLB Commissioner Bud Selig says he is not certain the sale can be completed by Opening Day 2009. “It’s moving forward,” Selig said.

June 18, 2009: The Tribune Co. reopens talks with another bidding group led by New York investor Marc Utay because of the slow pace of negotiations with the Ricketts family. Talks stalled when the two sides could not agree on some issues, including how to value the team’s broadcast rights.

July 6, 2009: Reports surface that the Tribune Co. has reportedly reached a deal with the Ricketts family. The news is premature, but Cubs players have some suggestions for the new owner. “What about an indoor swimming pool in here?” shortstop Ryan Theriot said.

Aug. 21, 2009: Tribune Co. signs a definitive agreement to sell 95 percent of the team, plus Wrigley Field and a share of Comcast SportsNet Chicago to the Ricketts family for $845 million. Tribune Co. will retain a 5 percent ownership interest.

Aug. 31, 2009: The judge presiding over Tribune Co.’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case approves an expedited process for court action surrounding the company’s sale of the team.

Sept. 24, 2009: A federal bankruptcy judge in Delaware approves the Tribune Co.’s sale of the Cubs, securing the first of a two-step approval process in bankruptcy court.

Oct. 6, 2009: Major League Baseball announces it unanimously approved the transfer of the Cubs to the Ricketts family following a conference call vote by the teams. “We’re extremely pleased that the sales process is drawing to a close,” Selig said, “and we are confident that the Ricketts family will be great owners and custodians of the Chicago Cubs. All of us at Major League Baseball are grateful to the Tribune Co. for their years of stewardship of this proud and historic franchise.”

Oct. 12, 2009: Cubs file for bankruptcy to ensure that the team won’t be hit by claims from Tribune creditors.

Oct. 13, 2009: A U.S. bankruptcy judge rules Tribune Co. can proceed with the sale of the team. The Cubs’ bankruptcy filing was not the first for a Major League team. The Baltimore Orioles were sold in a bankruptcy auction in 1993 after owner Eli Jacobs filed for Chapter 11. The same happened to the Seattle Pilots after the 1969 season. The new owners moved the team to Milwaukee, and changed the name to the Brewers.

Oct. 27, 2009: The Ricketts family announces the sale is official, and they have taken a 95 percent controlling interest in the Cubs, Wrigley Field and 25 percent of Comcast SportsNet after a financial closing

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Cubs Convention Tickets Go On Sale November 4th

Posted on 28 October 2009 by Lou

Get your Cubs Convention tickets next week – the 1st one under the new Ricketts Family owners.  Tickets go on sale through cubs.com at 10AM on Wednesday, November 4th.  Each Cubs Convention pass costs $60.00 plus applicable fees.  The Cubs Convention will be held from Friday January 15-17, 2010 at the Hilton Chicago on 720 South Michigan Avenue.  The hours are as follows: Friday January 15th from 3PM until 6PM; Saturday January 16th from 9AM until 12 midnight; and Sunday January 17th from 9AM until 1PM.  The Cubs Convention benefits the Cubs Care charity organization, which has been the beneficiary of almost $4 million from the Cubs Convention over the years.

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It’s Official – The Ricketts Family Owns the Chicago Cubs Franchise

Posted on 27 October 2009 by Lou

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It’s official – The Rickets Family’s purchase of the Chicago Cubs is finally done.  Hip Hip Hooray!

The Ricketts Family now owns a 95% stake in the Chicago Cubs franchise, Wrigley Field, and 25% of Comcast Sportsnet.  The deal was worth approximately $845 million.  The Tribune Co. will still retain a 5% interest in the Chicago Cubs franchise, and after applicable taxes and fees, will bring in approximately $745 million.

Joe Ricketts – the patriarch of the Ricketts Family – is the founder of TD Ameritrade, an Omaha, Nebraska based brokerage firm.  Tom Rickets, one of Joe’s sons, will serve as the Chicago Cubs new Board Chairman.  Rickets wrote in a statement release to the press that the Board “will go to work building the championship tradition that all Cubs fans so richly deserve.”

The Chicago Cubs have scheduled a Friday news conference at Wrigley Field announcing the closing of the sale to the Ricketts Family.  At last…

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