MLB Teams Sports Business

You Gotta’ Know When To Hold Em’, Know When To Fold Em, Know When To Walk Away

The NL leading Chicago Cubs are up for sale.  The surging Cubs have looked great lately, despite the team’s unlucky history over the past 100 years…making their stock the highest it has been at in a while.  The owners of the Cubs, the Chicago Tribune company, is in HUGE debt from taking their many companies private, along with a recent spree of high priced signings. They are now looking to crawl out of that hole by selling off their assets: which are the Chicago Cubs baseball team, Wrigley Field and the Tribune’s share in a Sports Channel.

The Tribune owns 23 television stations and 11 newspapers in total.  Officials at the Chicago Tribune have said that they would like to sell their entire company before selling off individual pieces.   The company is looking for at least a billion dollars for the three aforementioned assets.

Sports fanatic and billionaire Marc Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, is one of the many individuals that are extremely interested in purchasing this package from the Tribune.  Many MLB owners have expressed their dissent with Cuban purchasing the team.  However, the Tribune has not rejected Cuban as a possible owner.  He already has offered the tribune over a billion dollars, but has not heard any official word yet.

Although Cuban seems to be the lead candidate so far, many others have expressed their interest.  Donald Trump’s name has even been rumored as a possibility.  Another potential is a group including Hank Aaron, Former GOP VP candidate Jack Kemp, and Andrew Murstein, a NYC taxi mogul who is the engineer behind the groups collaboration.

Here are some other potential owners, according to Sports Business Digest and ESPN.

  • Bill Murray, Actor
  • John Canning Jr. who heads up a private equity firm

  • Joe Richards from Ameritrade

  • Don Lewis, Owner of the minor league Hockey club Chicago Wolves

  • Rocco Landsman (owns several Broadway theaters)

  • Leo Hinday a private equity firm head and the former head of the YES! Network
  • Jerry Colangelo, former D-Backs, Suns owner
  • Don Levin, Chicago Wolves owner (minor-league hockey)

All of this has only been talked about so far.  No side has accepted an official offer yet, and with the success of the Cubbies this year, anything is possible. Selling could be a good option for the owners, while the team is doing well.  On the other hand, holding onto a solid team like the Cubs  could work out better for the Tribune in the long run.  A final decision is not expected soon, as the Cubs are in first place and look like a potential World Series team this season.  If the Tribune Company is smart, they would wait until the results from this season are in the record books before making a final decision.