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Report: Zell Rejects State Plan, Will Sell Cubs, Wrigley Field as Package

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Report: Zell Rejects State Plan, Will Sell Cubs, Wrigley Field as Package

Article excerpt

Tribune Co. Chairman and CEO Sam Zell is abandoning attempts to sell historic Wrigley Field separately from its home team, the Chicago Cubs, according to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times Tuesday.

Citing unnamed sources, the paper said Zell had rejected a "secret" plan by former Illinois Gov. James Thompson -- chairman of the state's Sports Facility Authority -- that would have put the Friendly Confines, as Wrigley is known, in state hands in a $400 million transaction.

To avoid using taxpayers dollars for Wrigley, the plan depended on an untested concept known as "equity seat rights," in which individual seats at the stadium are sold outright to individuals. The plan differs from the widespread practice of selling "personal seat licenses," a fee that grants the right to buy season tickets.

"Zell, Cubs Chairman Crane Kenney, and their advisers have concluded that the equity plan and its tax ramifications would violate both the Internal Revenue Service code and the rules of Major League Baseball, the sources said," the story by staff reporters Fran Spielman and David Roeder reported. …

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