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Friday, October 30, 2009

New Cubs owner Ricketts aims for Wrigley redo, Series win

The Cubs finally have a new owner. This historical National League team is no longer a Tribune Company outfit. It's now the property of The Ricketts family. Crain's lets us know some of their plans:
Making the rounds with Chicago media for the first time since his family’s $845-million acquisition of the storied franchise and ballpark, the new Cubs chairman made clear that the Ricketts era will be a departure from Tribune Co.’s 28-year run as owner. He plans to plow profits back into the organization, from paying top players to fixing the 95-year-old ballpark’s cramped concessions, clubhouses and commodes.

“There are a couple differences between the Tribune owning the team and the family owning the team,” Mr. Ricketts said in an interview Thursday. “We’re committed to reinvesting the profits into preserving and improving the stadium. We’re going to be delivering on that over the next few years.”

The family’s goal is to win the Cubs’ first World Series championship in 101 years. “When that happens, it’s going to be special,” he said. “That’s the goal. Undoubtedly it will happen on our watch.”

But fans shouldn’t expect Mr. Ricketts to throw money around like the New York Yankees’ George Steinbrenner, whose payroll tops $200 million. Mr. Ricketts said there would likely be a “slight increase” of the Cubs’ $140-million payroll next season, but noted that it’s already the third-highest in baseball.

He’ll cede all personnel decisions to his general manager — for now, Jim Hendry, whom he said has done “a great job.”

Fans can expect “slight increases” in ticket prices for next season, and “inflation-like” increases thereafter. That would be far less aggressive than the price hikes Tribune has pushed through in recent years, some of which exceeded 30%.

It's gotta be a baseball fans dream to own the team you're already a die-hard fan.

That reminds me, how long was Reinsdorf the owner of the White Sox and was finally able to bring home a World Series in 2005? Probably close to 25 or so years before he made that happen. Let's hope Ricketts and the Cubs will not take nearly as long.

Crain's also have a video on this so check it out!


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