Last week, it was reported that South Bend Cubs owner Andrew Berlin was going to purchase a minority stake in the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs had announced they were selling minority shares to pay for part of the Wrigley Field restoration/renovation/expansion that's currently under way.
CSN Chicago now reports that six investors have purchased these minority shares:
The investors recently bought into the Ricketts family’s holding company, according to a source familiar with the deal, after receiving approval from Major League Baseball. Multiple industry sources described it as a non-controlling interest that doesn’t come with a seat on the team’s board of directors. Andrew T. Berlin confirmed his investment last week on his personal Twitter account after letting it slip at a local chamber of commerce event in Indiana. The Berlin Packaging chairman/CEO owns the South Bend Cubs — a new Class-A affiliate — as well as a minority stake in the White Sox. Berlin is said to be restructuring his White Sox investment, keeping a financial commitment while cutting himself off from the franchise’s information flow. The five remaining investors have not been publicly identified yet. Two sources definitively ruled out billionaire Warren Buffett, whose name had once been floating around the team, mostly because of the Nebraska connections. Buffett and the Ricketts family have roots in Omaha, but they aren’t particularly close.
The Berlin investment in the White Sox had been something I'd questioned, since MLB rules prohibit individuals from owning parts of more than one big-league team. Berlin's "restructuring" obviously satisfies those rules. The article goes on to say that the investors involved are individuals with ties to Chicago, not corporate entities, and that the total portion of the team sold amounts to "less than 10 percent" of the team's overall value.
Let's hope that Berlin, who appears to have been a White Sox fan before his Midwest League team's affiliation with the Cubs, stops making public pronouncements about the Cubs being "lovable losers." Seems he needs a bit of education on what Cubs fans do, and don't, want to hear.
The rest of this money is going directly to the renovation project and "neighborhood development," according to the article, and here's what the so-far unnamed individuals get in exchange for their investment:
The new investors are expected to be part of a new advisory board. This kind of setup is not unusual in professional sports. It will mostly mean access at Wrigley Field, the chance to rub elbows with celebrities, a high return on investment and a World Series ring if the Cubs actually win it all.
Sounds like a pretty good deal to me, and if this money eventually helps the Cubs win it all, it'll have been well worth doing.