Tribune Co. made a stunning pitch to investors on baseball's Opening Day: The Chicago Cubs will be sold at season's end.
The announcement Monday came as the ailing media conglomerate announced its acquisition by billionaire investor Sam Zell. It puts one of sports' most storied and star-crossed franchises on the block, a year shy of the 100th anniversary of its last World Series title.
Zell, a real estate magnate who already owns part of his hometown Bulls and White Sox, issued no comment about why he's not interested in keeping the Cubs in connection with the $8.2 billion deal. The team is one of Tribune's richest assets.
Prominent names mentioned as possible buyers of Chicago's "Lovable Losers:"
• Jerry Colangelo, former D-Backs, Suns owner
• Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks owner
• George Will, national columnist
• Bill Murray, actor
• Don Levin, Chicago Wolves owner (minor-league hockey)
Quite the development I'd say. Not exactly out of the blue since there have recently been rumors that the Cubs would be up for sale, but the fact that it's happening in this manner is a bit unexpected. The Tribune Company will be turned into a private company under Zell and as such the sale of the Cubs would seem to be a simpler process than as part of a publicly held corporation. Though it will be interesting to see if this announcement is simply a business move to effect the stock price.
Most people have killed The Trib for their leadership of the franchise but it's hard to argue that they haven't done a hell of a job of raising in the team and it's certainly a fan friendly experience in and around the neighborhood. Looking at wins and losses it's pretty bleak, but that's not a publicly held companies priorities.
I personally would LOVE to see Mark Cuban as the owner. What fun that would be!