Thursday, January 22, 2009

Ricketts Purchase of Cubs Adds New Wrinkle to Omaha Stadium Debate

Tonight, the Chicago Tribune announced that the Ricketts family is the winning bidder and will be the new owners of the Chicago Cubs, pending league approval. The Ricketts family fortune came from TD Ameritrade, which is also the leading candidate to purchase the naming rights for the new downtown Omaha stadium.

Now things start looking VERY interesting in Downtown Omaha.

For starters, with this combination, how do you open TD Ameritrade Park in the spring of 2011? Might I suggest the possibility of the Chicago Cubs playing an exhibition game in Omaha to close out spring training? If TD Ameritrade wants to get their money's worth out of the stadium name, why not bring in the team owned by the company's founders (who, by the way, still own a sizable chunk of the company)?

Want to think even bigger? Wouldn't it make sense to have the Cubs AAA minor league affiliate play in the stadium named for the company that the owners built? Outlandish at first, as the Iowa Cubs have done very well in Des Moines. But it's no secret that the Omaha Royals are in the market to leave the city of Omaha. Maybe they go to Sarpy County. (Hahahahaha!) Maybe they go to Texas.

Maybe they swap franchises with Des Moines.

Wacky idea perhaps? Well, it's more sane than the idea of the Chicago Cubs leaving Wrigley Field for Omaha.

It's an outlandish idea, but it certainly throws a new wrinkle into the whole stadium debate.


Anonymous said...

Totally agree -- me and a few friends batted around this possibility a few months ago when Cubs negotiations were in the early stages -- I think a AAA Cubs team in Omaha would be a huge success!!!

Anonymous said...

I don't know about "outlandish", but it doesn't seem very likely to me.

While his name is Ricketts, and it says "family" in most reports, the only actual name I've seen in connection to these negotiations is Tom Ricketts, who's never worked for (TD) Ameritrade. He worked in Chicago for the CBOE before starting his own LLC.

Just how much power will they have? They get to put the name on the door, and I'm sure they get *at least* one of those luxury suites, probably more than that. But they don't own the stadium. I don't think they really have any say on who plays there. Not to mention that as owners of the Chicago Cubs, they are not owners of the Iowa Cubs. Kansas City doesn't have too much say in what the Omaha Royals do, do they? Other than roster moves. They can only decide that they don't want to extend the AAA relationship.

Now, if someone (Ricketts or others) wanted to buy the Omaha franchise from it's current owners, in order to keep the team in Omaha and switch the MLB relationship to the Cubs, that would be something (just as "outlandish"). Personally, it would make me that much more opposed to the whole thing. I hate going downtown already, now they'd be the Cubs? I'm a freakin' Mets fan, I hate the Cubs!



Husker Mike said...

The name on the stadium is only worth something when there is an event there. People keep wanting to refer to this ballpark as "Fahey's Folley" for some reason, because of the perception that it's going to sit empty except for the CWS. My take is that to get maximum use out of the TD Ameritrade name on the park, TD Ameritrade will be encouraging events there.

And thus, why I think there may be a push to bring the Cubs to Omaha. Maybe it's just an exhibition game or series to christen the stadium. Maybe it's a AA or AAA affiliate of the Cubs.

I think Tom Ricketts is the lead on this, but patriarch Joe (retired Ameritrade CEO) has the resources.

Anonymous said...

Patrick your an idiot!