Friday, March 26, 2010

Ricketts Says Wrigley PSLs Not "Off the Table"

If you don't go over to Waxpaperbeercup to see what friend of Aisle 424, ccd, has been writing about the renovations and advertisement plans in Wrigley, you definitely should.  The latest post on that subject includes a spirited discussion in the comments, including a link from commenter, "waiting4cubs," to a story in the Sun-Times by Fran Spielman, City Hall reporter.

The story recounts a number of items dicussed by Tom Ricketts at a luncheon at the City Club of Chicago, and this part caught my eye:

"Ricketts also raised a few eyebrows when he refused to rule out personal seat licenses at Wrigley Field to someday finance renovation of the 96-year-old shrine of Major League Baseball.

“I won’t rule them out only because I don’t know what it’s gonna take to really save Wrigley. It may be a financing option that makes sense for us down the line,” Ricketts said.

“There’s no current thought on doing that, at least any time in the near future. But, I don’t know what all of our issues are and I can’t 100 percent say that that’s always gonna be off the table.”

Back in October as the final i's were being dotted and t's were being crossed on the TRANSFER of the Cubs to the Ricketts, I wrote a post about what we could probably expect from the new owners:

"As the Tribune Ownership Era draws to a close and we prepare for the Ricketts Majority with a Dash of Trib Ownership Era nears, we can start wildly speculating on what the new folks in the big office are going to do with our Cubs.

One thing is for sure, the Tribune never had $450 million in debt to deal with (not on the Cubs side of the business anyway) so one has to figure that the Ricketts family will be looking for revenue anywhere they can find it. I can't imagine that anything is absolutely off the table. If they haven't already started discussing such things, somewhere in a room behind closed doors, they will be talking about Jumbotrons, selling naming rights to Wrigley Field, building an entirely new stadium somewhere, and/or rolling out some sort of Personal Seat License plan."

If you care to see some of what I dug up with my Google machine about other baseball teams' PSL plans, you can read more about it here

You may remember that back at the convention, Crane Kenney said that the Cubs were not planning on implementing PSLs "anytime soon."  In light of the comments by Ricketts, the key to determining when it is going to cost some folks extra bucks just to have the rights to purchase seats will be the Cubs' definition of "soon."  My guess is that they define "soon" as "prior to completion of Wrigley 2014 renovations" in anticipation of Wrigley's 100th birthday.

5 comments:

wpbc said...

tim,

if the economy were better, i have no doubt they would have sold psl's this offseason. i think this plan is on the table and it's going to be part of the way they finance wrigley 2014. the trouble is how long does this economic downturn last. there's a real good chance this thing runs well into the decade.

as unpopular as the toyota sign in leftfield seems to be, imagine how pissed season ticket holders will be getting a bill from the cubs for $3000 that gives you nothing but the right to buy your existing seats. lmao.

Southside Phil said...

This is something Sox fans will never have to worry about :)

Doc Blume said...

It will be interesting to see if this come about, and in what fashion they happen. I'm not sure anyone really knows the price they would put on those licenses.

I'm probably going to have to start setting aside a fund to pay for PSLs when the time comes.

If they decide to implement this in the next couple years, I'll probably have to give up my tickets. Boo!

Aisle 424 said...

Good point, wpbc, but I am holding out hope that the PNC suites and other similar areas will be the ones that charge the PSL fee for the season tickets.

At this point, no other team in baseball has a PSL plan in a stadium that wasn't brand new when the plan was implemented. The Red Sox still don't have one, and now the Yankees and Mets aren't using PSLs in their new stadiums. Most of the plans involve memberships in clubs with perks beyond just the right to buy the seats (parking, access to elite stadium amenities, early single-game ticket access, etc.).

But make no mistake, the Ricketts will do whatever they forecast will make the most money for them. Given the state of the economy, I think it will be a hard sell before the 2014 renovations are completed. The Trib always felt that the Cubs were recession-proof and if that arrogance carries over with Crane Kenney and the other holdovers, we could be seeing a plan in the next couple of years as long as the economy doesn't get worse again.

Doc, If they do roll out a general plan that includes Aisle 424, I will probably have to relinquish my seat as well (and find a new name for this blog).

Phil, don't be so sure. Reinsdorf can always find a way.

Duey23 said...

No Reinsdorf will just find ANOTHER way to have Illinois Taxpayers fund his folly.

Maybe threatening to move the team to Indiana?

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