[to top of second column]
After all, helping a team that drew more than 3 million fans last year and is listed by Forbes as one of the 50 most valuable sports franchises in the world could turn into a public relations disaster.
"It's clearly a tougher sell than the late '90s, when everybody and their brother got municipal funding for stadiums," said Tim Cummins, who specializes in sports franchises for a financial advisory firm, Stout Risius Ross. "When communities are cutting back on spending, when more people are out of work, it gets to be a harder sell."
According to a person familiar with the negotiations, City Hall has floated an idea that is a variation of one that the Cubs themselves have been floating for a couple years: the use of the amusement tax that comes from ticket sales.
After his family purchased the team in 2009 for $845 million -- then a record for a major league franchise -- team chairman Tom Ricketts proposed using $200 million in state bonds to help renovate the park, with the team repaying that money with the amusement tax collected from fans coming through the turnstiles.
That idea went nowhere, as both Gov. Pat Quinn and then-Mayor Richard Daley said they could not back a plan that calls for the state to issue bonds at a time when the state and city were in such dire economic straits.
The idea has been revived. Emanuel is insisting that he would only agree to such a deal if the Cubs guarantee a minimum payment regardless of how much money the tax brings in, according to the person who was not authorized to publicly discuss the negotiations and spoke on condition of anonymity.
"The mayor wants them (the Ricketts family) to put some skin in the game," the person said. "He wants a guaranteed level of payment made to the city regardless of the performance of that (amusement tax)."
One fan is optimistic that a deal can happen because Emanuel is something that his predecessor was not: A North Sider and a Cubs fan.
"Mayor Daley would never have gone for this," said Rich Kaempfer, who created, justonebadcentury.com, the logo of which is a Cub with a big tear on its cheek.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
< Sports index
Back to top
News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries
Law & Courts |
Spiritual Life |
Health & Fitness |
Calendar | Letters to the Editor