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The Cubs are worth $2.15 billion, and here’s why

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Some financial details of the team were revealed Friday.

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Ricketts family paid $845 million for the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field in October 2009, nearly 10 years ago. (Man, hard to believe it’s already been a decade!)

Friday, Robert Channick of the Tribune revealed some information that pins the current team value at $2.15 billion:

The Chicago Cubs paid Tribune Media $107.5 million for the broadcast company’s remaining 5 percent ownership stake in the team, a deal that values the club at $2.15 billion.

For those of you keeping score at home, that’s about 100 times what Tribune paid for the team nearly 40 years ago.

Terms of the January sale were released Friday during Tribune Media’s fourth-quarter earnings report. Tribune Media said it will recognize a pretax gain of $86 million from the sale.

Of course, that $2.15 billion is all on paper, not to be realized in actual cash money until and unless the Ricketts family sells the team, which they say they won’t. Team chairman Tom Ricketts has always stated he wants his family to own the Cubs for “generations.”

Forbes magazine releases an annual list of team valuations, which are, of course, only an estimate. They haven’t published a 2019 list yet, but their 2018 list had the Cubs valued at about $2.9 billion. That ranked third behind the Yankees ($4 billion) and the Dodgers ($3 billion) and just ahead of the Giants and Red Sox (both at $2.8 billion). This current valuation doesn’t mean the Cubs would drop in the 2019 Forbes ranking, just that we now know how much the team’s value was for the transaction that put all the Cubs’ shares in the hands of the Ricketts family.