CHICAGO (CN) – Baseball’s most futile franchise has a new owner. The Tribune Company’s $845 million sale of the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field and other assets to the Ricketts family was completed Tuesday. Tom Ricketts, 44, a lifelong Cubs fan who met his wife at Wrigley Field, will be chairman of the board.
The family of Joe Ricketts, founder of TD Ameritrade, has a 95 percent controlling interest in the Cubs, Wrigley Field and 25 percent of Comcast Sportsnet, which broadcasts many Cubs games. Pete, Tom, Laura and Todd Ricketts will control the team as its board of directors.
The Tribune Co., which bought the team in 1981 for $20.5 million, keeps a 5 percent share and a seat on the board.
The sale price tops the $660 million paid for the Red Sox and its related properties in 2002. A news conference about the sale is scheduled for Friday at Wrigley Field.
The sale ends a 2½-year saga that for Cubs fans at times felt as long as the 101 years it has been since the team has won a World Series.
The Tribune Co. announced on Opening Day 2007 that the club would be sold at the end of the season, but the slumping economy complicated the sale. The Tribune Co. filed for bankruptcy protection last December and the Cubs had a short stay in bankruptcy to protect the new owners from potential claims by Tribune creditors.