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."