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Utter, rank hypocrisy

Tuesday, Nov 16, 2010

* Back in October of 2009, Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts told the Tribune that his family saw the Boston Red Sox as a model for their organization. I’ve set the embed to start at that point in the conversation. Watch

But the Red Sox revamped their stadium without any taxpayer financing. The owner put $200 million of his own money into the place. And the investment has paid off…

Revenue has grown to $266 million today from about $180 million in 2002. The team’s market value has also risen, to $870 million from $617 million in 2005. All without building a new stadium or asking for a dime of taxpayer money.

* Yesterday, I showed you a video of Ricketts family patriarch Joe Ricketts deriding government borrowing as a “crime” and a Ricketts website that labels US Sen. Dick Durbin and others “hooligans” for supporting projects just like what the Ricketts family wants to do here.

The elder Ricketts, who controls the family cash, is also a board member of the American Enterprise Institute. Ironically enough, an article published a couple of years ago in AEI’s magazine derided publicly financed sports stadiums. The conclusion

Of course, even if the benefits of stadiums and arenas cover the subsidies, the subsidies still may not be sound policy. First, there may be enormous variation in the distribution of the consumption and public-good benefits. It is clear that not all citizens in a community benefit equally from the presence of professional sports franchises in their city. Indeed, because the tax revenues used for the subsidies are often generated from lotteries and sales taxes whose burden falls disproportionately on the poor, while the consumption benefits go mostly to relatively wealthy sports fans, the net benefits are distributed regressively.

Second, we should consider the net benefits to the community of alternative uses of the funds spent subsidizing sports facilities. Good policy means using the money where the net benefit is greatest, not simply where the net benefit is positive. That’s something state and local governments should keep in mind before pledging millions of dollars to fund the next new stadium project.

This proposed Wrigley Field deal is so anathema to the Ricketts family’s political and ideological history that it just reeks of rank hypocrisy.

Taken as a stand-alone, the renovation plan has plenty of merits. But this family has literally spent millions of dollars stoking hatred of government subsidies for just about everything. To see them now eagerly run to Big Brother with an out-stretched hand kinda makes me ill.

* Meanwhile, an added dynamic is injected into the political debate whenever a sports team wants something from the government. Sports columnists become part of the mix, and they’re far more brutal than political columnists

Can’t you see the Cubs’ lightweight battle for stadium financial support shaping up like the Bears’ mess did? I don’t know if the respective pols will act the same, but the respective owners are stumbling along similarly, not to mention the way Ricketts has seemingly adopted McCaskey’s elfin voice.

Except, the Bears actually got their stadium rehab. It wasn’t everything they wanted, but they did get something. Right now, the Ricketts family isn’t faring nearly as well.

Still, though, “elfin voice”? Oof.

* The other thing that happens is city reporters are often given the assignment to cover the story rather than Statehouse reporters. From the Sun-Times

The mayor said he likes the concept of a stadium renovation plan that would keep the Cubs at Wrigley for at least 35 years and free up the money the Ricketts family needs to develop a triangle building promised to Wrigleyville residents in exchange for a bleacher expansion.

But Daley said he’s not about to saddle his successor with a deal that requires Chicago taxpayers to forfeit 35 years of amusement-tax growth needed to bankroll basic city services

Daley is a lame duck. His Statehouse power is pretty much gone. And the bill will preempt his home rule powers, so he’s been written out of the script.

* Admirably enough, the Tribune editorialized against the Ricketts plan, but as usual they got their facts wrong

Perhaps the strongest argument of all: The Civic Federation’s Laurence Msall warned against taking on debt for non-essentials with a $15 billion deficit looming. “The state of Illinois faces an enormous financial crisis and will be needing all of its borrowing power just to pay its bills and continue to operate,” he said.

The bonds won’t be backed by the state whatsoever, so it wouldn’t impact the state’s borrowing abilities.

* The governor’s petulance at not being consulted is completely understandable, but perhaps he ought to tone it down a bit

“They haven’t shown it to me. Apparently they don’t think I’m as important as some others, and I am important in this matter because I’m a goalie for the people of Illinois to make sure they get their priorities addressed.”

All true, I suppose, but the bill will require a three-fifths vote, meaning that even if he vetoes it the General Assembly will have enough built-in votes to override.

* Whatever the Ricketts family did, this would probably not go well. People are naturally averse to using tax money of any kind to build stadiums.

But there’s no doubt that they completely screwed up this process. It’s mind-boggling, in fact. And in the end they may get far less than the Bears did if they don’t make some adjustments very soon.

In that October, 2009 interview posted above, a Ricketts family member told the Tribune that “hope is not a strategy any more.”

He was talking about the team’s on-field play, but it could just as easily apply to this stadium revamp.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Mike Ins - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 10:54 am:

    My home desperately needs some repairs. Let’s freeze all my taxes at 2010 levels for the next 35 years so I can make the necessary upgrades. I happen to be the “economic engine” of my family, and it’s really a jobs program b/c I will be hiring contractors.

    But just for my house.

  2. - CircularFiringSquad - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 10:54 am:

    Tribune got it wrong!
    Capt Fax that is not news — as you know
    BTW anyone asking the Rickets if they slid any cash to the US Chamber, Crossroads, RGA?

  3. - Cheryl44 - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 10:54 am:

    Move the team and tear that eyesore down.

  4. - UISer - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 10:56 am:

    Rich Miller = Angry White Sox fan.

    Haha, I only kid Rich

  5. - Vote Quimby! - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 10:58 am:

    $300 million would be a good head start on a new ballpark…

  6. - Ghost - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 10:58 am:

    This is easy, the State should respect elder Ricketts wishes and decline the deal. The Rickets have the resources to do this on there own, so I am not sure why the State is even considering this. That the Rickets want swetners should be tossed out. Are we really so concerned about protecting the fortunes of the wealthy who lobby against support and programs to help others?

  7. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 10:59 am:

    It took decades for the Bears to get their stadium “deal.” Off the top of my head, I can think of about six earlier deals — Arlington Heights, dome at Mac Place, West Side stadium linked with the United Center.

    My favorite was Mike McCaskey’s threat to build a stadium in Gary. They were going to offer ferry service from Grant Park to their lakfront stadium (perfect for November and December!).

    The McCaskey’s had no leverage because all their wealth was wrapped up in the value of the team. They had no cash.

    If I recall, Wirtz and Reinsdorf were working with McCaskey on the West Side idea in conjunction withe the United Center. It went sour when Wirtz believed that McCaskey had gone behind his back with the governor. Wirtz sent his crew of lobbyists down to Springfield to pound lumps on McCaskey, and the Bears didn’t have a stadium deal for another decade.

  8. - Team Sleep - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 11:00 am:

    I read an article the other day indicating that many of the incoming TEA Party freshmen who are poised to be sworn in on Capitol Hill are talking some serious turkey on cutting defense budgets. While comparing defense budgets to sport stadium funding is certainly an apples-to-oranges comparison, the opposition to government spending is across-the-board with the TEA Party crowd. As such, we may be seeing the end of much sports team and stadium funding. Roger Goodell’s attempt to use the Super Bowl as a carrot to entice NFL teams to build new stadiums will be met with a lot of dismay. And although Bud Selig will surely put his two cents in and express his wish to see Wrigley Field repaired, the Cubs’ proposal comes at the worst time. The Ricketts need to step up and pay for the renovations themselves - or, gasp, build a new stadium.

  9. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 11:05 am:

    The Ricketts hypocrisy notwithstanding, either it’s OK to subsidize private sports teams or it’s not OK. Since we already subsidize the White Sox and Bears, why are the Cubs being held to a different standard? If it’s OK for the Cubs to send amusement tax revenue to the White Sox, how come the White Sox don’t have to reciprocate?

    What is the economic impact of Wrigley Field for the city? Is that worth supporting with the Amusement tax? Again, the hypocrisy certainly detracts (and distracts) from the message, but on public policy grounds, the Cubs make a good case for public support for renovations. Let’s try to keep that the focus of the debate, if possible.

  10. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 11:07 am:

    ===The Ricketts hypocrisy notwithstanding===

    I don’t see how you can possibly separate that out.

  11. - Mike Ins - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 11:09 am:

    Instead of subsidizing the stadium (which in this case is a private asset, not a municipal one), why dont we just subsidize the team itself?

    No, seriously, why not just pay for players directly? What is the difference? A nice stadium attracts business to the area, but you know what does even more? A great team. Look at the 90s Bulls, the Blackhawks of the past few years, and the Cubs in the 2000s (attendance has been increasing since 1984 but really took off in 2000s… which, all jokes aside, the Cubs were in the playoffs several times and in the running for same a few other years (ie., 2004, arguably 2001) yes yes they did have some spectacularly bad years too but…).

    I mean if the theory is there is a public good to a strong sports-franchise, and in this case the infrastructure is not publicly owned (unlike Soldier and Cellular), then let’s spend the money on the team, not the house!

    It’s hot stove time soon - let’s send our “leaders” down to the winter meetings with copies of MoneyBall!

  12. - wndycty - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 11:10 am:

    @47th ward I think we start with the fact that both US Cellular and Soldier Field are publicly owned facilities.

  13. - Living in Oklahoma - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 11:11 am:

    Seems like a lot of hyperventilating over nothing. A bit hypocritical, yeah probably, but we are talking about 300 million, not a big deal really and it would probably be a much better investment than 90% of the insanity the city funds.

    Must be a slow news day.

  14. - Mike Ins - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 11:12 am:

    @ 47th:

    The difference between putting public funds into a housing project and into the alderman’s house.

    Very, very different.

    Sure, both improve a physical asset which in the 100,000 foot view improves our world, but one is appropriate and the other is “criminal” (using the Ricketts words here).

  15. - shore - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 11:12 am:

    the patriots also built their new stadium without public money.

  16. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 11:13 am:

    ===A bit hypocritical, yeah probably===

    A bit? Are you kidding me?

  17. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 11:14 am:

    ===I don’t see how you can possibly separate that out.===

    The Ricketts have been very involved in politics and now it is biting them in the behind. I get it Rich. But the owner of the Cubby Bear, or Murphy’s, or any of the dozens of tax generating businesses up and down Clark Street are caught up in the middle on this one. In the absence of public funding, the costs of renovating Wrigley are prohibitive and it does not make business sense. The Ricketts are business people. They will make the best business decision available to them. How will that decision impact the city?

    Yes, they are easy targets and it’s fun to throw their own words back at them. But that doesn’t address the central issue, which is whether to help the Cubs stay in Wrigley for another 35 years or not.

  18. - EazyTurner - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 11:15 am:

    On a whim I checked out endspending’s US earmarks map, which shows legislative districts, their representative, the amount of money spent on earmarks, and a title given to a legislator: either Hero or Hooligan.

    Being from Mississippi, a pork-heavy state, I glanced at their numbers. Gene Taylor, a democrat, is considered a hooligan for requesting $550,000 in earmarks. Greg Harper, a Republican, requested 14 million…and is labeled a ‘hero’

    Given this logic, it’s no suprise the family would stumble over themselves with the Wrigley Field issue.

  19. - just sayin' - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 11:17 am:

    You know I got a bad feeling when in the ‘Undercover Boss’ show the Ricketts guy was working as a hotdog vendor and he threw 4 hotdogs away because he didn’t want to sell any more. He did pay for them (so one pocket into another), but when his supervisor found the discarded hotdogs in the garbage he asked Ricketts if he did it - and Ricketts just lied to his face and said no.

    Granted that’s a small thing and he later came clean to the supervisor, but I was struck by how easy the guy found it to lie about something he really had no reason to lie about.

  20. - EazyTurner - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 11:17 am:

    Even in Illinois, they have screwy definitions of hero and hooligan: Aaron Shock and Tim Johnson are Heroes, Phil Hare a Hooligan, even though Schock has twice as much requested in Earmarks and Johnson nearly three times as much.

  21. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 11:18 am:

    The Ricketts had a lovely courtship but the marriage has been a nightmare from the beginning.

    They started their romance in buying the team when the Cubs looked like they were a World Series contender and the economy was flying high.

    A year into the marriage, they have an awful, unlikeable team, expensive no-trade contracts for bad-to-medicore- players and no realistic immediate prospects for any success. For the first time in a long time last year, there were a lot of empty seats at Wrigley.

    And now, they are at the very beginning of what’s going to be a long and brutal PR pounding from all fronts. Whoever advised them on the timing and execution of their rollout has a devilish sense of humor. Worst ever.

    Careful what you wish for — and buy for $850 million. You might get it.

  22. - anon - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 11:19 am:

    3 things:

    1) It is not fair to attach the opinions & actions of the elder Ricketts to the children who are the actual owners of the team. . Now if they were apart of elder ricketts comments/actions, it would be different, but as far as I know they haven’t.

    2) The Ricketts family has stated they would be investing an equal amount of their own money into this rehab. That conveniently gets ignored, even by Rich.

    3) Why is it acceptable for the White Sox & Bears to get free taxpayer money that they never pay back for their stadiums but it is horribe for the Cubs to ask for bonss that they plan to repay? Seems like a double standard and discrimination.

  23. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 11:20 am:

    ===who are the actual owners of the team===

    They are the officers. It’s the old man’s money.

  24. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 11:21 am:

    ===That conveniently gets ignored, even by Rich.===

    You apparently don’t subscribe.

    ===for their stadiums ===

    Those are publicly owned stadiums.

  25. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 11:23 am:

    ===the costs of renovating Wrigley are prohibitive and it does not make business sense. ===

    Then perhaps they shouldn’t have purchased the team?

  26. - Mike Ins - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 11:25 am:

    @ anon 11:19:

    Ok, here’s the deal then - the Ricketts sign over control and ownership of Wrigley Field to the public and we’ll fund it.

    I was opposed to the Bears and Sox deal as well.

    As a Michigan alum, I was opposed to public money going into Michigan Stadium to create boxes for the ultra-wealthy to watch games from as well.

    For an interesting take check out Gregg Easterbrook’s below from a few years back - Control F search or just scroll down to the “College Stadium Economics” portion.

  27. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 11:29 am:

    As an aside, the Green Bay Packers have been a publicly owned non-profit corporation since 1923.

  28. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 11:31 am:

    ===Then perhaps they shouldn’t have purchased the team?===

    That’s fair, but it doesn’t solve the problem. As for ownership, if the Cubs “sold” the stadium to a public agency and signed a long-term lease to play in the renovated park, would that make public financing OK or would we find another hurdle to put in their path?

    And it doesn’t take an economist to know that the value of Wrigley Field to the surrounding community is far greater to the city than the value of economic activity in the area surrounding U.S. Cellular Field. Is that value worth protecting or not?

    Maybe they shouldn’t have bought the team, but they did. They will find a place to play and my guess is they’ll find a way to get some taxpayer support. And if that happens to be in the suburbs, the White Sox are going to have to make do with half the Amusement tax revenue they currently receive. How does that factor into the equation?

  29. - Logical Thinker - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 11:33 am:

    I hate the Cubs. I hate Wrigley. Let me get those out of the way first.

    I have never agreed with 47th ward, until today. The Ricketts have the city and state over a barrel and they know it. They made a STUPID, STUPID business investment that they will lose millions, if not hundreds of millions on long-term. That is the cross they must bear.

    However, Wrigley Field is an economic engine for the northside of Chicago. There is no denying that. It has spawn 3 vibrant and rejuvenated neighborhoods around the park and the bars, restaurants, and business that thrive BECAUSE of Wrigley employ thousands. As long as Cub fans (and the city and state) want that revenue in the form of taxes and as long as people flock to Wrigley, the Rickett’s know they have the upper-hand.

    Look, Wrigley is crumbling. I give the ballpark 10-15 years EVEN WITH the $200 million in repairs. The economics of baseball (and sports) have changed too much and Wrigley doesn’t and can’t support the other opportunities teams have to make additional revenue. If they don’t get something from the state, I wouldn’t put it past them to start exploring their options.

    Finkl and Sons is closing soon and there is a LOT of land just west of Lincoln Park. It’s not a stretch to think that the dynamics of this conversation could change very quickly.

  30. - Draznnl - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 11:33 am:

    ====Why is it acceptable for the White Sox & Bears to get free taxpayer money====

    How many times do you stick your hand in the electrical socket before you realize the shock hurts? I’m a die-hard Cubs fan who understands that it would simply be compounding a mistake to dedicate public funds to renovating or building another stadium. Anon, I am sure there are budget line items you wish were eliminated. Would you raise an objection if those items were instead increased significantly?

    Rich, leave it to you to dig up something on which I agree with the American Enterprise Institute. When I read that part of your post, I felt like I needed to shower.

  31. - anon - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 11:33 am:

    You are right, I don’t suscribe. Sadly $350 is well beyond what I could afford as an individual.

    They may be publicaly owned stadiums, but that really doesn’t mean much in practical terms. The public makes no money from owning them. Ticket sales for White Sox games go to the Sox.

  32. - Mike Ins - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 11:41 am:

    @ 47th - 11:31 am:

    Look I am reasonable, I do understand and “get” what you are saying. But to me, yes, it DOES make a difference whether the asset into which public money is channeled is publicly or privately owned, absolutely. I understand you see that as a detail in a larger picture. Perhaps you are right. But in X number of years when the Ricketts go to sell their asset, they are taking with them the benefit of what we put into their home. To me that is fundamentally different. But we can agree to disagree there certainly.

    To me the bigger issue is simply one of priorities. Yes, there are benefits to spending public money on Wrigley. Sure. But to me those benefits do not trump other areas the $300M could be borrowed for, be it school infrastructure at the University level or at the grammar school level, etc. Yes, Wrigley is a nice thing to have and it certainly supports a thriving bar scene, which is also nice.

    Let’s get the basics covered first then worry about Wrigley field.

  33. - Living in Oklahoma - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 11:44 am:

    - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 11:13 am:

    ===A bit hypocritical, yeah probably===

    A bit? Are you kidding me?

    No, not kidding. I see the hypocrisy, but this is a non-story. Or in the very least it is just another story that falls under the heading of “with all the problems we have in this state, and we are all worked up over ____________________.”

  34. - This Little Piggie - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 11:47 am:

    Trade the Cubs to Milwaukee for Talgo. Illinois gets manufacturing jobs, Milwaukee gets a major league baseball team. Everyone wins!

    (As an aside….How much will the state kick in to get Talgo? Anyone know? Think of the jobs that will bring!)

  35. - Ghost - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 11:50 am:

    === In the absence of public funding, the costs of renovating Wrigley are prohibitive and it does not make business sense. ===

    This is incorrect. They costs are not prohibtive. If somone bought a house which needed repairs, so the value of the house and the price paid were reduced…. woudl you really then say ixing the house picked up cheap was cost prohibitive?? They have the assets to cover repiar or building new.

    They are not just vocally opposed to Govt support in general, they have invested money in stopping such decisions. Since they are investing finacialy in stopping govt support for any program, why ignore that fact?

    more improtanly your entire premise that they cant afford this is just wrong. Lets go another way, say they get this deal and the Stadium is fixed at a cost of 300 million. 3 years from now the Cubs and stadium are valued at say 1.5 billion. They paid 800ish million. They turn around an sell the asset with the increased value provided by the govt and pocket the profit. So all the Govt is doing is adding value to a privately held asset whose selling price reflected the value with a rickety stadium. Free fix ups are just a con mans way to reclaim the value and pocket the profit while decrying support for the unemployed, hungry andthose fighting drug addicition or neighborhood violence.

  36. - Pat Robertson - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 11:51 am:

    ==saw the Boston Red Sox as a model for their organization==

    How dare they? Our curse goes back a dozen years before the Boston curse, and we’ve lived up to ours!

  37. - Plutocrat03 - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 11:56 am:

    Just because the State screwed up and put money in for the White Sox and the Bears, it does not mean that they have to double down and support the Cubs.

    First of all the State is much broker now than when those deals were cut. Nonetheless, the deals should never have been made. Based on attendance figures, the Cubs can add a $1 per ticket stadium fee which would generate more than 2.4 million dollars per year. That amount is more than enough to service a 200M 35 year bond.

    Tempest in a teapot. Taxpayers have no need to accept any costs or risks.

  38. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 11:56 am:

    Annual visitors to Wrigley Field: 3.1 million.

    Annual visitors to Lincoln Park: 20 million.

    Someone please explain to me why $200 million…actually, a quarter of that…wouldn’t be better spent on improving the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Notebaert Nature Museum, Conservatory, Lincoln Park’s theatre, history museum…etc?

    Or imagine $200 million in school infrastructure improvements.

    Put your resources into your biggest opportunities, not your biggest problems.

    That’s not to say there isn’t a middle ground solution.

    Chicago has hundreds of millions in surplus TIF money. This is a TIF district by another name. Wrigley should line up for TIF funds like everybody else. I have no problem with declaring a 100 year old building “blight” and an “eyesore.”

  39. - Sweet Lou - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 11:59 am:

    anon @ 11:19 says: ==3) Why is it acceptable for the White Sox & Bears to get free taxpayer money that they never pay back for their stadiums but it is horribe for the Cubs to ask for bonss that they plan to repay? Seems like a double standard and discrimination. ==

    This is often conveniently left out — Jerry Reinsdorf EXTORTED the state out of money to build a new stadium. Actual ownership is irrelevant — new Comiskey was build solely for the White Sox because Reinsdorf threatened to move the team if they didn’t.

    Meanwhile, the Cubs ask for a LOAN to fix up a state LANDMARK and the White Sox fans have a coronary. It’s pathetic.

  40. - State Sen. Clay Davis - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 12:06 pm:

    Plutocrat03 +1

    The Ricketts own the stadium, they pay for the repairs, they get the profit.

  41. - Whatever - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 12:07 pm:

    Brilliant strategy by Crane Kenny and Mike Lufrano — two more Cubs team members who need to be traded.

  42. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 12:08 pm:

    Over the last 30 years, the Cubs have been over the 2 million mark more often than not, with a couple of lows in the 1.7 million area but a nice run over the last few years ranging from 2.5 to 2.75 million.

    So yes, there are options out there for these uber-capitalists other than tapping tax-backed bonds. A dollar surcharge leverages a lot of private financing.

    The Cubs sell out. They’re profitable. They’re a going concern. Remember, Wirtz and Reinsdorf built the United Center — the House that MJ Built — with private money when their teams were hot.

  43. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 12:10 pm:

    YDD, I love parks and totally support giving them the resources they need to thrive. But that’s a straw man you raised last week, so give it a rest. This isn’t an either-Wrigley-or-new-parks question.

    The revenue stream to pay for the bonds in question is the existing Amusement tax. Parks don’t generate the direct revenue that supports revenue bonds like what is being proposed for Wrigley. It’s apples and bananas.

    For the sake of argument, let’s say the Cubs sign over the deed to Wrigley for $500 million, which is probably closer to the full cost of demolition and building of Wrigley II. $300 million comes from revenue bonds, $200 million from some combination of city, TIF, park district, state and ISFA bonding power. The Cubs agree to a long-term lease that guarantees they remain in Wrigley until the original bonds are paid off. Then the public is on the hook for maintenance and can generate revenue from tours, events and other non-baseball operations. If managed properly, the deal could come very close to paying for itself without any new tax money.

    There is a way to make this work if we want to keep the Cubs in Wrigley. If we don’t want to keep the Cubs in Wrigley, we can make that decision too. What the Ricketts offered was a starting point, not a take it or leave it proposal.

  44. - colby - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 12:10 pm:

    “That’s fair, but it doesn’t solve the problem.”

    Nor is it the government’s problem to solve- unless you actually believe the empty “We’ll just take our team SOMEWHERE ELSE!” threats.

  45. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 12:11 pm:

    ===Remember, Wirtz and Reinsdorf built the United Center — the House that MJ Built — with private money when their teams were hot.===

    Didn’t they get about 20 acres of free city land next to the old Stadium?

  46. - colby - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 12:13 pm:

    “Look, Wrigley is crumbling. I give the ballpark 10-15 years EVEN WITH the $200 million in repairs. ”

    Then why bother? If Wrigley is, either way, living on borrowed time, then we’re gonna lose that “Economic engine” one way or the other. Just rip the band-aid off.

  47. - Mike Ins - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 12:16 pm:

    47th Ward:

    Completely seriously - would you support putting money into players contracts directly (not that it really matters b/c money is fungible and money going into the stadium is money the Ricketts have to spend on players, yada yada… but just for the sake of argument)?

    Every argument you make about the engine of the northside, etc. etc., would apply to fielding a team that was like the Yankees - a perennial powerhouse / world series contender.

    Yankee Stadium was rebuilt and the Yankees still draw - the value wasnt entirely in the house that Ruth built.

    So, why not just put the money into buying the best team possible? I dont see the distinction between which asset you put the $ into in this case if the only concern is driving the neighborhood bars?

  48. - Jo - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 12:16 pm:

    What I think is hilarious is the Tribune editorial railing against the plan when they were aiming to do nearly the same thing in their deal with Blagojevich.

    My, my…

  49. - Leroy - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 12:18 pm:

    Jeez…deep breaths please, Rich.

    He’s not out of line for asking. The precedent has been set: the state picks the winners and losers.

    The Cubs have a lot of qualities of past ‘winners’ picked, I do not think broaching the subject warrants the reaction you are having.

    And Piggie above raises a good point: the state subsidizes a whole lot of stuff. God only knows what is going on in the black box we refer to as ‘TIF’s

    If the state has a historical precedent of picking winners and losers, no one should be outraged when someone asks to be made a winner.

  50. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 12:20 pm:

    ===He’s not out of line for asking.===

    Yes, he is. That you can’t see the ultimate hypocrisy in this is beyond belief.

  51. - Jo - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 12:20 pm:

    Also - another question:

    I figure you could pay off any $200 million bonds with $20 million/year. That’s a Soriano.

    As a Cub fan, I would love to see an “enhanced” Wrigley Field experience (keeping the charm and atmosphere) at the price of a Soriano…

  52. - Irked in the Right Field Bleachers - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 12:29 pm:

    Dennis Culloton and Culloton strategies are the Cubs/Ricketts PR maven advising them now.

    You may remember him from his days working for George Ryan. He’s quoted in some of the news coverage but remarkably hasn’t had time to feature this project on his firm web site.

    They may, or may not, ultimately have a business case for state involvement on Wrigley rehab, but the thinking behind this pitch was FUBAR.

    At least they could’ve prepared the debate by leaking some independent engineering surveys about the stadium.

  53. - Irishpirate - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 12:30 pm:

    This is like one of those “family values” pols who gets caught with a hooker.

    The only problem is the taxpayer is the hooker and isn’t even going to get paid.

    Rich is right. The hypocrisy in this mess reeks.

    The Ricketts bought the team. They can use their own money to renovated the stadium. If they paid too much for the team that’s there problem. I think they will manage to survive.

    Personally, I’d prefer they tear Wrigley down and build a new stadium. However, the idea of Bob Sirott throwing himself in front of the wrecking ball, while waxing lyrically about peeing in a trough in 1950 doesn’t appeal to me.

    Also the idea that the Cubs are going to abandon Wrigleyville is absurd. Build it and they will come doesn’t apply here.

    The Cubs are successful because of Wrigleyville and not because of the fine product they put on the field. I live just north of there and it’s Mardi Gras around there every day they play.

  54. - Irked in the Right Field Bleachers - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 12:33 pm:

    And for all the “They can move and make a New wrigley” - Mr. Miller made the business case for keeping Wrigley where it is, and close to how it is, right in his feature - it’s what the Red Sox already did.

    “But the Red Sox revamped their stadium without any taxpayer financing. The owner put $200 million of his own money into the place. And the investment has paid off…

    Revenue has grown to $266 million today from about $180 million in 2002. The team’s market value has also risen, to $870 million from $617 million in 2005. All without building a new stadium or asking for a dime of taxpayer money.”

    If even noted baseball weasel and Red Sox owner John Henry didn’t knock down Fenway and move to the suburbs, it’s hard to see the Ricketts making that maneuver work.

  55. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 12:33 pm:

    Mike Ins, I understand your point, but let me answer it this way: I’d support subisidizing a player or players who would draw fans to Wrigley for a minimum of 35 years, or until the subsidy was paid for. How many players do you think might qualify? Plus, all Cubs fans know that Wrigley draws the ticket buyers, not the product on the field. Wrigley is the engine, not the team. Wrigley field is past its retirement age. It needs to be replaced.

    The Ricketts paid something like $850 million for a team and its stadium. The stadium in its present condition is a liability. Under the right circumstances, moving to a modern facility and leasing it might make more sense if the Ricketts hope to someday get $850 million when they sell. Depending upon zoning and landmark restrictions, selling Wrigley to a developer might give the Cubs the incentive they need to depart Chicago.

    These people are from Omaha for crying out loud. Do you think they really care if they stay in Chicago or move to a suburb? They’ll find the best deal and act on it. That’s what investors do.

    But if they want to negotiate with the public, let’s try to make this a win-win. That’s all I’m saying.

  56. - Jaded - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 12:40 pm:

    Is Rahm a Cub fan? Maybe they should wait.

    Actually I am against publicly funded stadiums of any kind, so I am both with and against the Ricketts family.

  57. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 12:41 pm:

    ===But if they want to negotiate with the public, let’s try to make this a win-win. That’s all I’m saying.===

    How about an up-front admission that all the money they’ve spent on anti-government efforts was misguided and wrong-headed?

    Just sayin…


  58. - anon - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 12:42 pm:

    Rich, nearly everyday you point out when the media is missing the real story or missing the point or focusing on a minor detail. But with this hypocracy thing, you are doing the same thing. Who cares if it is hypocritical? How does that affect the actual finances or money or decision? The hypocracy subject is just political sideshow gossip. We should be discussinng the merits of the specific proposal. Where is it good? Where is it bad? Are there adjustments that can be made to make it better? What is the precidence in IL & Chicago? How much of a benefit to the surrounding neighborhood is Wrigley & the Cubs? What does the proposed work entail? Where would this money be going if it didnt go for this project? Have there been similar projects done for other baseball stadiums? These are real questions.

    I hate Sr. Ricketts politics & his PAC, but that doesn’t really matter when dealing with this issue. We live in a world where you deal with people of all political opinions. You don’t just call them crazy & dismiss them. This isn’t national campaign season.

  59. - OneMan - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 12:44 pm:

    At the end of the day Wrigley is a significant asset for the cubs, it is part of what makes them, well them.

    The lack of winning aside, a bad ball club in a different stadium (all the more so outside of Chicago) is going to be a diminished product.

    Very few baseball teams play at fields outside of their cities for home games. It’s not like it’s football and it’s once a week on the weekend so transportation delays are not an issue. Where trekking out the the burbs on a Tuesday night can be problematic.

    Also the timing and the way they asked was beyond dumb.

  60. - Irishpirate - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 12:50 pm:

    Also the idea that Major League Baseball would approve the Cubs moving anywhere besides Chicago is absurd. The Ricketts may be from Omaha, but the Cubs ain’t moving.

    They might lose some of their anti anti trust protection that MLB has in Congress.

  61. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 12:51 pm:

    ===Remember, Wirtz and Reinsdorf built the United Center — the House that MJ Built — with private money when their teams were hot.===

    Didn’t they get about 20 acres of free city land next to the old Stadium?–

    Could be. But in that neighborhood, at that time, I doubt if the cost of 20 acres was a dealbreaker for Wirtz and Reinsdorf. The city was selling plenty of vacant lots to churches for a buck. I suspect there was some sort of quick-take thing to get the ball rolling.

    I believe there were some infrastructure improvements as well. But then again, it was a brand-new, privately funded sports arena in one of the city’s most impoverished areas.

  62. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 12:55 pm:

    I think when this is all said and done … The harsh reality is ….

    the Rickett Kids are the Worst Owners in Chicago.

    They take over the McCaskys in just pure ignorance …or “bliss” …of what it takes to take over ownership, especially when its “family money”

    They take over the Wirtzs, who, by winning a Cup after, and with respect to the elder, Bill Wirtz passed and Rocky and we find that the kids are better than the Old Man, (duh), which is not what the Rickett kids are proving to be to thier Dad.

    To Jerry Reinsdorf, who threatened to move and built, originally, a horrible building to see baseball, that took even more money to fix … but they now have a World Series Championship Banner too with those renovations …(the Bulls have six Larry O’Brien’s and look promising, so Reinsdorf always has that in the back pocket).

    So that leaves the Rickett kids. Hypocrites to their beliefs, if it can benefit them, while raising ticket prices, cutting payroll and putting a Car Manufacturer’s sign in Left-Center field.

    The kids broke what Dad bought … already.

    The McCaskeys, the Wirtzs and Jerry Reinsdorf thank the Rickett kids for their new place in Chicago … the Worst Sports Team Owner in the city!

  63. - Mike Ins - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 12:55 pm:


    Touche on the player producing for 35 years… however you could commit a certain level of funding to players over that many years.

    … as for Wrigley being the important factor and not the teams - that is true to an extent, but not entirely.

    Wrigley didnt change between May this year and September - yet the seats were not filled in September. Yes, the tickets had long since been sold to scalpers and what-not, but as for actual interest (ie., people showing up to the ballpark)… Wrigley certainly provides a cushion, but it isnt the sole factor. TV ratings, attendance and interest in a team follow the fortunes of that team, even for the Cubs.

  64. - Mike Ins - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 1:00 pm:

    anon @ 12:42:

    You are insane if you think such things as PR, integrity and credibility dont matter. Clearly the fact we are having this debate means you happen to live in a world where, as wrongheaded as you believe it may be, people do care about such things.

    People dont like hypocrites. You can think we’re all dumb for that judgement. So be it. But guess what, you live in our world so you might as well deal with it. You can explain the benefits from now until forever and you wont win the war.

  65. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 1:03 pm:

    For those who skoff at the idea that the Cubs would ever leave, consider the many strategic advantages of moving to the suburbs.

    Free land to build on with lots of free parking, free road upgrades to smooth the route from the expressway (or tollway). As many night games as you want, including Friday, Saturday and Sunday night games (currently illegal in Chicago). Stadium naming rights. Off season concerts and events. No landmark or zoning issues, no prevailing wage, lots of high school kids to sell hot dogs, lots of retirees to work as ushers. No need to bribe the neighbors for concessions. No hassels with city hall.

    The Cubs can then spend maybe $250 million of their own money building United Airlines Field, own it outright, and then hope the team’s value slowly rises until they can get $1 billion for it and break even, maybe in a decade.

    The days of $130 million payroll are over until the stadium issue is resolved one way or another. They can suck at Wrigley or suck in the suburbs. Attendance will take a while to grow in the burbs, and night games will help. But operating in Wrigley is restrictive and expensive and it doesn’t make much business sense to throw more money into Wrigley, which is literally crumbling from within.

    That’s the reality from the Ricketts’ perspective. That’s plan B, as in “buh-bye.”

  66. - AmPhotog - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 1:04 pm:

    I read that Ricketts wants the state to issue tax exempt bonds backed by the increased amusement tax revenue from Wrigley Field ticket sales. Since the state is the issuer, the taxpayers are the guarantor of the bonds, not the Cubs. If the ticket sales fall off, there is no increased amusement tax revenue so the state will have to make up the difference from the general fund.

  67. - Frank - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 1:09 pm:


    I think the worry is they move out to the suburbs. The Cubs are not leaving the third biggest media market in the country. With that said, I don’t think the Cubs are going anywhere, State money or not. And thats why I think the State should call the Cubs bluff.

  68. - hisgirlfriday - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 1:17 pm:

    47th ward - the ricketts family are savvy investors omaha or not. as such they have to be well aware that much of the value of their investment is tied up in the wrigley mystique and why despite all their ridiculous stunts to raise cash so far (like the macaroni statue) they havent sold naming rights wh
    ich would be a more prudent private sector solution to raise cash for capital improvements. but they dont because they know the ill will of the fans doesnt make sense financially for their investment. its the same way with a new park.
    why do you take the threat of moving to the burbs seriously? the cubs in the burbs are just another joliet jackhammers.

  69. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 1:17 pm:

    47, where is this mythical place of “free land” where the Ricketts will build their own stadium and presumably still draw in the 2.2. to 2.5 million range?

    If you’ll notice, every Chicago professional sports team plays in the city. That’s unusual compared to other cities but there’s a good reason. It’s the best location for your metro market.

  70. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 1:24 pm:

    Word, have you seen the white elephant out in Hoffman Estates, now owned by the taxpayers of that short-sighted burb? You could level the Sears Centre and build Sears Field and still use the parking and road improvements that taxpayers have already paid for. That’s one, just right off the top of my head. Maybe the Duchossois family has some interest, they certainly have some land. There’s two.

    The Cubs fan base is still coming in from the suburbs, just like the White Sox, Bulls, Bears, etc. I live just north of Irving Park Road, and believe me, there are a lot of Cubs fans in the Suburbs. I see their tail lights trailing westward toward the expressway after every game.

  71. - Highland, IL - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 1:25 pm:

    @EazyTurner - Looked at earmarks of Costello vs Shimkus. Hero Shimkus credited with $3Million in earmarks, while Hooligan Costello has $2.7. In Missouri Hero Roy Blunt had $15 Million vs $2 Million (yes that’s a 2) of Hooligan Russ Carnahan. Double standards?

  72. - Montrose - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 1:29 pm:

    *Word, have you seen the white elephant out in Hoffman Estates, now owned by the taxpayers of that short-sighted burb? You could level the Sears Centre and build Sears Field and still use the parking and road improvements that taxpayers have already paid for.*

    You know what the Cubs are in Hoffman Estates?

    The Kansas City Royals.

    Not the best business move.

  73. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 1:31 pm:


    The cost of the Wrigley mystique has now exceeded its value. That’s why the Ricketts’ are looking for a handout. That’s why Cullerton cares about this, not for the Ricketts family, but for a way to keep Wrigley viable, and thus protect all of the businesses that depend on Wrigley’s 81 games. Without public support for a modern stadium, the costs of staying exceed the benefit.

    I’m just a fan and a neighbor. I don’t care what happens to the Ricketts family, but I think there is a big downside to simply dismissing them and mocking them for thier hypocrisy. We risk cutting off our nose to spite our face.

    Rich had a QOTD last week about compromising principles in order to get something done. Hypocritical or not, the Ricketts are willing to compromise. If they stick to their principles, they’ll leave Wrigley within the next 5 years or they’ll sell the team at a huge loss. Which do you think is more likely?

  74. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 1:41 pm:

    ===The Kansas City Royals.===

    At least they won a World Series championship in my lifetime. Ironically, the Royals Triple A team plays in Omaha. They just got Sarpy County to pay for a brand new stadium to lure them away from downtown Omaha. And Omaha taxpayers are on the hook for the new downtown stadium that was built to replace Rosenblatt, the home of the College World Series. That’s a tiny market filled with Republicans who voted to put taxpayer money into baseball stadiums.

    Staying in Wrigley may not be the best business move either, Montrose.

  75. - Cincinnatus - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 1:43 pm:

    Best thing about Wrigley Field:

  76. - Mike Ins - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 1:52 pm:

    Regardless of what the “best business move” may or may not be, as someone noted above, it’s not governments issue. That’s just my view, I understand it is probably a minority view in this world.

    I dont for a second begrudge the Ricketts for pursuing their interests - which in this case is $300 million of tax money forwarded to them now and taxes holding the line going forward. Ok, that’s what business-people do - they push for the best deal for themselves. So in this instance, it is $300 million poured into their private asset. In other instances it is screw your assets, your earmarks, we dont want to pay for them.

    I am not naive, not dumb, I get that. They want theirs and screw those other pork-belly expenditures. I dont begrudge them for asking.

    But you better damn well believe I am going to push what I believe is MY interest as well, and while I grant you their are some benefits that would trickle down to the neighborhood, it isnt worth $300 million of our collective money.

    They push their interests, I push mine. Shrug. Their hypocrisy is sickening but I’m too old to expect anything less from their ilk other than grab whatever they can.

    Sarpy County and whomever else can do whatever they want. I just have other priorities.

  77. - Mike Ins - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 1:56 pm:

    As for the bit about being “willing to compromise”… like they are taking the higher road here and we are just all being petty…

    … why the Ricketts will compromise their very core beliefs for $300 million… who am I to question that!

  78. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 1:58 pm:

    ===it isnt worth $300 million of our collective money===

    Well Mike, for starters it isn’t “our collective money” that’s at issue here. It’s the proceeds that ticket buyers contribute via the Amusement Tax. Currently, Cubs ticket buyers pay this fee, which benefits the White Sox and Bears. The Cubs proposed a scheme to use part of that tax to benefit their team. Why shouldn’t they explore a plan that provides a benefit to ticket buyers at Wrigley? Should they just shut up and keep paying the tax?

    These are revenue bonds issued by the state but paid for with Amusement Tax proceeds. This is one idea that could work. Another is to have the Cubs give up ownership of Wrigley, in exchange for something else, perhaps more money, perhaps other considerations (more night games?).

    Bottom-line, unless you’re paying the Amusement Tax, this isn’t your money.

  79. - Responsa - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 1:59 pm:

    Anybody who’s ever read the hilarious blog or watched the new CBS show “$#*! My Dad Says”, –or for that matter anybody who has ever lived in a family unit himself, knows that different generations of the same family do not necessarily always agree on many things. And I think most of us are glad that Americans have traditionally not been held personally accountable for the words or actions (including crimes) which a parent or relative utters or commits. So, while I understand that “rank hypocrisy” is a factor to be looked at with the Ricketts’ propased Cubs deal, in the larger picture it really does not seem to be as important or salient a factor as the economics–which 47th Ward has thought through and IMO laid out beautifully in the 1:03P.M. post above.

  80. - MrJM - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 2:02 pm:

    I certainly hope that this Wrigley/Ricketts fiasco continues to unravel in public — this “anti-government millionaire groveling for tax money on bended knee” routine is the most enjoyable thing to come out of the Cubs organization in quite some time.

    – MrJM

  81. - Cincinnatus - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 2:06 pm:


    The only problem with 47th’s analysis is that the “lucky” suburb would probably have to kick in taxpayer money to fund a suburban stadium. There is no suitable site that the Cubs could move into without some poor dumb town kicking in bucks.

  82. - colby - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 2:13 pm:

    “Plus, all Cubs fans know that Wrigley draws the ticket buyers, not the product on the field. Wrigley is the engine, not the team.”

    Then we don’t need to worry about the team moving out of it.

    “Wrigley field is past its retirement age. It needs to be replaced.”

    Then we shouldn’t waste our time and money trying to update it. Listen, you might get a better reception if we really were talking about building a new stadium, but note carefully that the Ricketts aren’t actually proposing that. And if Wrigley really just needs to be retired, I see no reason why the government should pay for it to limp along for another few years.

    “The Cubs can then spend maybe $250 million of their own money building United Airlines Field, own it outright, and then hope the team’s value slowly rises until they can get $1 billion for it and break even, maybe in a decade.”

    That sounds great, let ‘em. I don’t think they’d actually be able to (as you said, Wrigley’s the draw, and if the state doesn’t want to give them the bonds, it’s not going to just because they’re now in the suburbs), but if they can, let ‘em give the suburbs that kind of economic jolt. It’d be just as good for the state, and it’d be funded with private money. Maybe that’d be bad news for Wrigleyville, but hell, with the hotel coming in, things were going to change pretty fast there anyway.

  83. - Mike Ins - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 2:14 pm:

    Ok I dont get it, which is it, is it that Wrigley is the valuable centerpiece to the Cubs empire that is so important it must be the subject of state legislature action in order to forward $300 million to it ex post haste?

    Or is it, as in the 1:03 post, a take-it-or-leave-it type thing that can be discarded for the Sears Center (rebuilt into a baseball area)?

    It cant be both.

    And 47th, just to be clear - again - if I were the Ricketts I too would ask for $300 million. Why the hell not? As you point out, others are getting the money. I get it, and I would, in their position, ask for it too.

    If you already have conceded that public funds should be used to support private entities in such a manner (not school vouchers though, heh, just sports teams) then absolutely the Cubs should feed at the trough too.

    That’s not how it worked for several recent stadiums that were built, but not for lack of trying by the ownership. I would be shocked if they didnt try to get public money for this.

    I just happen to be opposed to this in all its forms, Bears, Sox, Fire, Schaumburg Flyers, etc.

    It’s a matter of priorities, and admittedly mine are in the minority and not subscribed to in our world. I admit I am out-of-touch on this, obviously.

    I also think TIF districts were and are horribly abused, the sale of revenue streams for three generations for a fund that was tapped out in about 3 years (more or less) was not right, and so forth.

  84. - colby - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 2:20 pm:

    Is the Amusement Tax set up so that the revenue it generates can’t be used for anything but, well, amusement? Or can it go into general funds?

  85. - Mike Ins - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 2:22 pm:

    Also - on the “collective money” thing - so if you dont pay property taxes you shouldnt have any vote on school bonds or school issues?

    If you dont drive a car (living in the city) you shouldnt have any say on the use of funds collected through the gas tax?

    If I dont buy a yacht then I shouldnt have any say in luxury tax use?

    Only those 50% paying income taxes last year should have a say on the income tax rate?

    And if I dont buy Cubs tickets I shouldnt have any say in the use of those funds, or shouldnt care?

    Why bother taxing then? Isnt fundamentally taxing the re-distrubition of assets? Essentially what you are saying is only those paying into a tax need be concerned about it and it is only fair that the tax monies collected be used to benefit those people paying it.

    Ok, well even better idea, let’s just not tax in the first place and then everyone can use the money for the purpose that best suits their needs.

  86. - Mike Ins - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 2:29 pm:

    And by-the-by… for all those threats of the 1990s to move teams to new areas… those Florida baseball teams (and Jacksonville too) are some of the worst performing (financially and attendance wise) of all clubs.

    It was a hollow-threat. You dont move your team from Chicago for Jacksonville or what-not.

    The NFL keeps teams out of Los Angeles so that it has a viable threat with which to hold municipalities up with - “We can move to LA”.

  87. - Quinn T. Sential - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 2:33 pm:

    But the Red Sox revamped their stadium without any taxpayer financing. The owner put $200 million of his own money into the place. And the investment has paid off…

    Revenue has grown to $266 million today from about $180 million in 2002. The team’s market value has also risen, to $870 million from $617 million in 2005. All without building a new stadium or asking for a dime of taxpayer money.}

    It is a little bit easier for the Red Sox to self finance; considering they have consistently been out on the dance floor in October.

    2003 Boston Red Sox Wild Card Lost ALCS (4-3)
    2004 Boston Red Sox World Series Champion
    2005 Boston Red Sox Wild Card Lost LDS (3-0)
    2007 Boston Red Sox World Series Champion
    2008 Boston Red Sox Wild Card Lost ALCS (4-3)
    2009 Boston Red Sox Wild Card Lost LDS (3-0)

  88. - Tom Joad - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 2:43 pm:

    It seems odd that the Ricketts are acting like they didn’t know that Wrigley need a lot of repair work. That was public knowledge before they purchased Wrigley. I would bet that the Ricketts used those facts to bargain down Zell on the purchase price. Now after getting a lower price for the Cubs, they act as if the repairs are news to them.
    Sam Zell and the Ricketts are peas in a pod.

  89. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 2:54 pm:

    –The NFL keeps teams out of Los Angeles so that it has a viable threat with which to hold municipalities up with - “We can move to LA”.–

    Not really. For whatever reasons, they can’t get an NFL stadium built in LA, though many have tried, from Al Davis to Michael Ovitz. The LA Coliseum just doesn’t work for an NFL team anymore.

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