Business of Baseball Reportby Brian Borawski
April 04, 2007
Tribune Buyout Means Cubs Sale on Horizon
Earlier this week, real estate investor Sam Zell agreed to buy the Tribune Company for $8.2 billion. This means the Cubs, who are owned by the Tribune Company, temporarily have a new owner. One of the reasons it’s temporary is because Zell already owns a stake in the Chicago White Sox so he’s already announced that the Cubs will be sold and most likely by the end of the year.
One of the names being thrown out as a potential buyer is Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. His name also came up last year when there was speculation that the Pittsburgh Pirates might be on the block. Regardless, the estimated sales price for the Cubs is a hefty $600 million so buying a stake in the team isn’t for everyone.
As far as the team goes, this is probably decent timing if they can find a buyer quick. MLB commissioner Bud Selig said that he expected a new owner in there by the beginning of the 2008 season but you’d hope that it would happen sooner so the Cubs aren’t hamstring during the free agency filing season next year.
MLB, In Demand Negotiations Live On
I felt kind of dumb because in my last BOB Report two weeks ago I said that I never thought InDemand would be able to match the terms that DirecTV and MLB have for the Extra Innings package and the new MLB channel. The reason I feel dumb is because the day my report went live, InDemand announced that they had matched the terms. Without digging any deeper, I found out later that day that MLB had basically squashed whatever InDemand threw at them and told them it wasn’t acceptable so the March 31, 2007 deadline that MLB gave to InDemand and the other cable companies eventually passed.
Now, according to BizofBaseball, MLB has said the timeline has been thrown out and whenever the cable companies want to get on board, they can. So there’s no deal and you can only view Extra Innings if you’re a DirecTV subscriber but it still looks like there’s hope that eventually cable will pick it up. I think the chances are slim, but stranger things have happened.
2007 Spring Season Sees Highest Attendance Ever
It looks like regular season baseball isn’t the only thing that’s hot. A record 3,421,055 fans came out to see spring training baseball this year. This breaks 2005’s record of 3,405,043. Prior to that 2005 record, the previous record was way back in 1994 with 3,320,200.
Rockies Go Solar
Late last week, the Colorado Rockies announced that they had installed 46 solar panels that they’d use to provide power to Coors Field. The 14,000 kilowatt hours of energy produced should be enough to offset what’s used by the LED board. In addition, the Rockies will have a display at Coors Field that will allow fans to learn more about the benefits of solar power.
Nationals Fans Disappointed at RFK Stadium
Not only do Washington Nationals fans have to look forward too what should be a pretty poor team, but fans that showed up on opening day at RFK Stadium had to deal with long lines and an abundance of parking lot traffic in what turned out to be a public relations snafu. One person who was interviewed waited over a half hour and never even got his hot dog.
Next year, RFK Stadium should be closed and the new stadium along the Anacostia Waterfront should be up. It’d be worthwhile for the front office to remember these problems and make sure they don’t happen when the new stadium is up.
Brian Borawski is a member of SABR's Business of Baseball Committee and writes about the Detroit Tigers at his own website, TigerBlog. He welcomes comments, questions and suggestions via e-mail.
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