As much as we recently said the end was near on the sale of the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field, and a 25 percent stake in Comcast SportsNet Chicago, the tightening of the credit markets, and the technical aspects of possibly placing the Cubs into bankruptcy will have the Cubs under the Tribune Co.â€™s ownership through the end of the 2009 season.
The drawn out process for the sale of the storied franchise has had MLB cancel their scheduled August quarterly owners meetings. Without the sale approval process on the agenda, MLB saw the schedule thin, and therefore, sees no need to hold the meetings. While it is uncertain whether the process would be impacted, the possibility that Sam Zell will be pushed out as Chairman and CEO of Tribune could cloud matters.
The next meetings will be held November 17-19, shortly after the end of the World Series. The location of the meetings plays into the sale of the Cubs sale: They will be held in Chicago.
If the sale agreement passes the bankruptcyâ€™s court muster, the next step would be approval through several MLB committees, including the Ownership Committee, and Executive Committee, before coming to a full vote by MLBâ€™s 30 owners. While approval of the sale to the Ricketts family is seen as having an exceptionally good chance of approval, the vetting process through the various committees within MLB will take several weeks. The added time to move through those process coupled with the continued efforts to get the sale agreement completed sets November as a realistic point for the deal to be completed.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).
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