Authorities say Tribune Co. probably will still own Cubs this season

Updated: January 20, 2008, 5:43 PM ET
Associated Press

CHICAGO -- The drawn-out process of Tribune Co. selling the Chicago Cubs may not end until midseason or later, the team's senior vice president said Sunday, in part because Wrigley Field first must be sold off.

Crane Kenney told attendees of the team's annual fan convention that new Tribune owner Sam Zell wants 94-year-old Wrigley in the hands of the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority -- the same state agency that funded stadiums for the Bears and White Sox -- before he accepts bids for the Cubs.

Kenney said such a move is designed to "bind" the team's next owner to keeping the Cubs playing at Wrigley -- which also would receive maintenance and improvement funds.

"We'd like to find a new owner to play at Clark and Addison (streets) for the foreseeable future," Kenney said. Selling the team to the stadium authority "would put aside a substantial amount of money" for necessary changes at Wrigley.

Zell, who also is invested in the crosstown Sox, bought the Tribune for $8.2 billion in April and closed the deal in December. Closing another deal for the Cubs, whom Zell never seemed interested in operating, also will take time.

"We want to get the stadium deal done by opening day," Kenney said. "The sale of the team would follow. I've been asked when that will occur, and it's just really hard to predict. "If I had a guess, it's not until midyear, or until the end of the season."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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