Tom Ricketts, the new board chairman
of the Chicago Cubs.
Marking a return to family ownership, the Ricketts family today was formally introduced as the eighth ownership group in the 133-year history of the Chicago Cubs at a morning press conference at Wrigley Field.
On Tuesday, the family completed a financial closing to acquire a 95 percent controlling interest in the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field and 25 percent of Comcast Sportsnet Chicago. Family members Pete, Tom, Laura and Todd Ricketts form the team's board of directors. Tribune Company will retain a five percent interest in the enterprise and will also have a seat on the board.
Tom Ricketts, 44, will serve as board chairman and issued the following statement:
"My family and I are thrilled this day has finally come. We share the passion of Cubs fans for the team and Wrigley Field and are eager to go to work building the championship tradition all Cubs fans so richly deserve.
"Building a consistent winning tradition on the field, while at the same time improving our 96-year-old ballpark, will not be easy and will not happen overnight. From the beginning, we will promote excellence and accountability within the organization at every level. Our family will reinvest all of the club's profits into the team and the ballpark for the foreseeable future.
The closing of the deal, valued at $845 million, completes a more than two-year effort that started when Tribune Company put the team, stadium and broadcast interest up for bid. On August, 21, 2009, the Ricketts family signed a definitive agreement with Tribune Company to acquire the assets. On October 6, Major League Baseball owners unanimously approved the transaction by a vote of 29-0.
The Ricketts family represents only the third Chicago Cubs ownership group in the last 90 years, 62 years of which were marked by family ownership. In 1919, the Wrigley Family, led by William Wrigley, Jr., purchased the Chicago Cubs from Charles Weeghman. The Wrigley Family retained ownership of the franchise until 1981, when the family sold the club to Tribune Company.
(For more info the Cubs sale, see The Biz of Baseball's MLB Club Sales archive)
Select Read More to see a complete history of the Chicago Cubs ownership
1876 William A. Hulbert ... owned the Chicago White Stockings and became one of eight charter members of the National League.
1882 Albert Spalding and John Walsh ... Spalding — the former player, sporting goods tycoon and team president — and Walsh took over after the death of William A. Hulbert.
1905 Charles Murphy ... Murphy’s $125,000 purchase price was financed by Cincinnati Times-Star owner Charles Taft.
1914 Charles Taft ... Taft bought the Cubs from Charles Murphy.
1916 Charles Weeghman ... a team owner in the defunct Federal League, Weeghman and nine others purchased the Cubs from Taft and moved the club to Weeghman Park at the corner of Clark and Addison.
1919 Wrigley Family ... William Wrigley, Jr. purchased control of the team from Weeghman and renamed Weeghman Park to Cubs Park … in 1926, the ballpark’s name was changed to Wrigley Field … Philip K. Wrigley took over in 1932 and William Wrigley took control in 1977.
1981 Tribune Company ... Tribune Company’s purchase of the Cubs and the Friendly Confines from the Wrigley family ended the longest continuous operation of a franchise by the same family in one city.
2009 The Ricketts Family … on October 27, the Ricketts family completed a financial closing to acquire a 95 percent controlling interest in the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field and 25 percent of Comcast Sportsnet Chicago … Tribune Company retains a five percent interest in the enterprise.
Source: Chicago Cubs
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