Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Cubs Are Worth How Much?

Courtesy of Stalking EA:

To this point, they have marketed the ballpark experience -- the sunshine, the ivy, the liquid refreshments. And it has been a huge seller. It's why analysts say a sale of the Cubs and Wrigley could bring $1 billion.

One Billion Dollars!

Even if the Cubs do win the World Series this year, I find it hard to believe they are worth that much more than the 2001 sale of the Boston Red Sox. They sold for $660 million, more than twice the Cleveland Indians sale of $320 million the year before.

Let's compare Boston and the Cubs for a moment. With the Red Sox, you get Fenway Park, one of the most storied baseball parks in the country, not unlike Wrigley with the Cubs. The problem with Wrigley is the major renovations the park will need. As they say, she ain't what she used to be. Will a new ownership group take the attendance and revenue hit that comes with possibly playing a season in another park, like Milwaukee or the Cell, while Wrigley is rebuilt?

What about Boston's other big asset, NESN? That's the North Eastern Sports Network for those who don't know. The Red Sox own that network, are broadcast exclusively on that network, and it was a part of the package deal. The Cubs own a 25% share in Comcast, but hell, they don't even broadcast all of their games there.

The Cubs' payroll is just over $118 mil, which is less than Boston's $133 mil, but the Cubs' will balloon to about $150 mil next year with back loaded contracts. I still don't see where someone will pay more to spend more.

Is the aura and mystique of a team that hasn't won in 100 years enough to push the selling price of the franchise into the 10 digit range? I think not. I could see the Cubs going in the $700 - $750 million range, due to inflation and attendance records, but 50% more than the Boston Red Sox of 7 years ago? The Cubs just don't have the assets that Boston has.

Here's the interesting part: The Cubs say their cash flow was $31 million last year. Somebody is going to spend $1 billion in order to have a relatively skimpy $31 million to throw around?

If Mark Cuban or one of the other interested groups wants to pony up $1 billion, more power to them. I just don't see how a deal for that much money will pay up in the end.

BallHype: hype it up!


stalkingerinandrews said...

Hey, the first paragraph and the second to last paragraph were quotes from a newspaper article, and there were supposed to be a couple of links in there, too. Did they not show up in what I sent you?

Anonymous said...

I copied and pasted everything in there...I'll take another look

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