Sale of Cubs May Be Completed Before End of Civilization

Some more news has trickled out on the impending sale of the Cubs and Sam Zell is hinting that the Ricketts may not be the new owner afterall (emphasis added).

"These are very difficult times. These are difficult
times to arrange financing," Zell said in an interview, adding that if
the Ricketts deal falls through, he is confident the media
company--which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in
December--will find another buyer for the ballclub.

"We’ve made it very public that the Cubs don’t fit into the long
term picture of the Tribune," he said. "So if the Ricketts deal doesn’t
get done, I’m sure there will be other ones.

Sure, a lot of people have $900M or so lying around to spend on the Cubs as evidenced by the three legitimate bids Zell actually received. Of those three bids, Ricketts was supposedly not the highest but offered the most money up front, so if financing is the issue, a deal that would require even more to be financed is probably not going to have much more luck than the Ricketts are having now.

Of course...financing really isn't the issue it appears. According to this story dated May 19th, the Ricketts already secured a little over $850M of that $900M original bid; $403M from the sale of stock in Ameritrade and another $450M secured in bank loans (Clarification: Technically $753M is secured with a $100M coming from a private placement by Barclays which we do not know the status of, although the Ricketts claim they can cover it if it falls through). There was that story of Ricketts looking for 10 or so investors at $25M a pop, including celebrities like John Cusack, Bill Murray and Jim Belushi, but that round of financing was supposedly not critical to get the deal done according to "sources". Crain's Chicago Business also echoes that the financing is already in place and explains the real delay.

Thomas Ricketts, who is leading his family’s bid for Tribune Co.’s Cubs, has lined up financing for the deal, but a dispute over price is delaying the transaction.

The Ricketts family, whose original bid was close to $900 million, now
believes the real price should be closer to $850 million, a source
said. The sides disagree over the value of the team’s multiyear
contract to broadcast games on Tribune’s WGN network.

At issue is about $40 million to $50 million — roughly 6% of the
original bid, which also includes Wrigley Field and a 25% stake in
regional cable channel Comcast Sports.

So the Ricketts are either short $50M in financing and trying to talk Zell down or they really are unhappy with the broadcast rights. I'm going with option B here. It appears the Tribune made sweetheart deals with WGN radio and television to broadcast the Cubs games at below fair market value for a contract up to 10 years sometime last fall. Ricketts isn't buying any stake of WGN, but is supposedly getting a 25% stake in the Comcast sports channel that already broadcasts about 80 games a year. So naturally, if he owns the cable company he'd like more games to go on there or be sure he's getting paid the appropriate amount in any licensing deal to WGN.

So don't believe the Zell lies, the money is there for Ricketts, Zell just isn't liking the terms.

Hat tip to waxpaperbeercup that has been all over the sale process, also check out Mark Cuban's blog on why he bowed out and wasn't going to pay anything near the $1 billion asking price at this time. End of the world coming Decemeber 21st, 2012...John Cusack (Cub fan) is starring. Coincidence? I think not.




according to SI, Z gets 6 games...hardly worth appealing, imo. confirms 6 game suspension. Says Z won't appeal.

Z should shut his trap and appeal. Then when Lou wants him to serve his suspension, he can just drop the appeal.

I agree that's a soft penalty. Kind of makes sense, though, I mean he yelled and threw the ball, but the ump bumped z...

Any suspension for the ump? Didn't that guy who put his hand on Ordonez get suspended?

It looked to me like Z had blocked the plate and he was out, but was watching it at the bar. What's the official TCR opinion on the call?

Consensus seemed to have been that the ump made the right call.

He was safe.

Z blocked the plate nicely and sort of pushed Morgan back, but he did get his left hand in right before the tag or as the tag was being applied...tie going to the runner of course. I believe the Ordonez ump did not get suspended.

And the Soto slide later? I thought that was a makeup call for blowing the Z play.

Soto was safe, he definitely got his hand in before the tag.

Thanks. I was sure he was gonna be out. He needs to go back on that 2007 diet. He's hella slow.

Good Lord. Fuck you, Sam Zell.

It doesn't really bother me. It's not like the new owner is going to be throwing around cash after having dropped $.9 billion on the team. I actually expect payroll to go down over the next three years, unless the Cubs win a WS (hahahaha).

This is ridicules even by Cubs standards that is is taking this long to sell the team. 2.5 years? It would funny if it wasn't so sad. But I wouldn't ultimately care if it wasn't effecting the team and comments from Hendry seems like it is causing at least some problems. I just hope the sale goes through soon, so they don't continue to keep Hendry on for continuity sake.

hendry? really?

c'mon already got a hand full of straws, no need to grasp onto more to tie him into this as a problem.


"comments from Hendry seems like it is causing at least some problems"

c'mon...his comments on the situation were light at best...guy has a 140m team to handle.

i get where you're coming from, though.

Yeah, not blaming him in the slightest. I am sure it has been an uneasy few years in the front office with all the uncertainty.

i came down harsh vs. what i was trying to say anyway...sorry. i blame the government.

all things considered...especially considering the 140m payroll and how hands-off Zell has been...i'm pleased with his ownership so far.

Yeah, I think the team is already being run like a 'real owner' would run it. With the possible exception of making an allowance for one big contract at the deadline - but that hasn't been a problem for the last 6 years, so I don't think it's a foregone conclusion that it will be this year. The people at the Trib know they make money when the Cubs ratings and jersey sales go up.

Lineups posted...

CHC - Umpire, Umpire, Umpire, Umpire, Umpire, Umpire, Umpire, Umpire, Umpire
LAD - Umpire, Umpire, Umpire, Umpire, Umpire, Umpire, Umpire, Umpire, Umpire

I am sure there's a great joke in there, I just don't get it.

Baseball these days is all about the umpire.

i would question why soto was just watching zambrano explode
he should of got his pitcher outta there.

Ask Michael Barrett or the Gatorade machine why he didn't get in there.


good one!

I blame Michael Barrett for the Gatorade machine.

Recent comments

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  • it's day old news, and it's got nothing to do with the cubs, but ichiro signed a $2m deal with MIA (with a $2m option for 2017).

    neat. 41 years old and damn close to 3000 hits.

    also, rain delays suck.

  • take that giants

  • I think that if a team objects to the 1-game wildcard playin game so much, they could just win the pennant and avoid themselves the trouble.

  • Per Jesse Sanchez at, Cubs reportedly have signed 20-year old Cuban OF Eddy Julio Martinez for $3M bonus. 

  • BLOCK: Of course any advantage is an advantage. An MLB, NBA, or NHL team getting the extra game at home in a seven game series is an advantage, I just don't think it is enough of an advantage for winning a division and/or having the best record in a conference or league over the course of an 82-game season (NBA and NHL) or 162 game series (MLB).

  • TEX takes the opening game from TOR (@TOR) 5-3.

    TOR lost bautista + donaldson in-game due to injuries...TEX lost beltre...dunno if any will be lingering issues leading to missed games.

  • Ride the Kid Magic! Schwarber hadn't homered in a long time before last night.

  • Greg Maddux was 8-18 in his rookie season. Kyle has the 8 wins down pat.

    Think Baby Maddux.

    Prof. Harold Hill's THINK system at work.

    Kyle is on the far left.

  • I support this. Hendricks has not only looked better lately but seems to start struggling after a few innings which is better than the 1st in the playoffs.

  • Just tweeted via Jesse Rogers: Hendricks starting Game 2. Wow. Just wow.

  • That was good!

  • Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.

  • My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
    1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.

  • Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.

  • Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.

    How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?

    Call me lost.

  • Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.