Cubs pursue new forms of revenue

Chicago Cubs president Crane Kenney and other top team executives took part in a question and answer session with fans on Saturday as part of a management seminar.

Kenney talked about increasing revenue streams, so the Cubs can make more money without asking the fans to pay exorbitant ticket prices.

“We’ve increased our attempts to bring in revenues through concerts and other events,” Kenney said. “We are doing well [selling advertisements] with our new Spanish radio broadcasts and we have switched many of our games from WGN-TV to Comcast, because we get more money per broadcast.”

A major league source told ESPNChicago.com that the Cubs and Chicago White Sox will each get $450K per Comcast broadcast in the 2011 season. That price has continued to go up every year since the Cubs, Sox, Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks, along with Comcast, became partners in Comcast SportsNet.

The Cubs are also in the midst of trying to purchase property in the Wrigleyville area, where they can make money as landlords for retail business, or redevelop and rezone areas for new business ventures, possibly in the hotel industry. The Ricketts family recently gained control of one of the buildings and skyboxes on the Sheffield side of the ballpark near the right field foul pole.

The Cubs and Kenney were pleased to announce that in 2011 the ballpark will have free Wi-Fi, and all cellular phones will be able to access the internet at Wrigley Field. AT&T has put $5 million into technological upgrades at the park.

Vice president of community relations Mike Lufrano said that the team will carry on the tradition of Ron Santo’s pledge to raise money for JDRF -- the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation -- and will have a fundraiser in the spring for the charity.

Marketing director Wally Hayward said there is no timetable set for hiring a new Cubs radio broadcaster to replace Santo. However, Kenney did say that one candidate was interviewed on Saturday. It is thought that Gary Matthews, Doug Glanville, Keith Moreland and Dave Otto are the finalists for the job.