Tribune reaches terms for sale of storied Cubs
The Chicago Cubs, whose century of Major League Baseball championship futility is the longest title drought in US sports history, are at last to be sold to the Ricketts family.
The Tribune Company Friday said it had a definitive agreement to sell all but a five percent stake in the team and historic Wrigley Field ballpark to the Ricketts, the culmination of long and convoluted negotiations.
The Ricketts will also acquire a 25 percent stake in Comcast SportsNet Chicago, with the total deal worth at least 845 million dollars.
"Our family is thrilled to have reached an agreement to acquire a controlling interest in the Chicago Cubs, one of the most storied franchises in sports," Joe Ricketts said.
"The Cubs have the greatest fans in the world and we count our family among them. We look forward to closing the transaction so that we can begin leading the Cubs to a World Series title."
Final hurdles remain to be cleared, including approval by bankruptcy court and Major League Baseball owners.
Then the Cubs will become a family owned enterprise for the first time since 1981, when the Tribune Company bought the franchise from the Wrigleys for approximately 20 million dollars.
The chewing gum magnate and his family had guided the team since 1916.
"This joint venture will provide dedicated, local family ownership and management for the team," Tribune chairman Sam Zell said.
"The Ricketts family will be a great steward for the franchise. They have a strong respect for the team, for the fans, and for what the Cubs mean to the city of Chicago."
The Cubs have not won a World Series since 1908 and have not reached the Fall Classic since 1945.