Cubs Owner Ricketts Rejected by State, Announces New Investment Plan

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Yesterday wasn’t very good to Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts. Here’s what went down according to the Chicagoist:

Since announcing their proposal for modernizing Wrigley Field last week, the Ricketts family has been lambasted by the media and shot down by both the mayor and governor. The Tribune’s Phil Rogers seems to be the lone village idiot who thinks that the Cubs do deserve public funding to fix up Wrigley — justifying it by saying that the other teams in town got money to build their parks. Never mind that we’ve got record deficits and budget shortfalls, and we’re still taxing away to pay off the debt on those stadiums. A simple comparison of the Cubs’ and Yankees’ trophy cases can demonstrate that life’s not fair.

Ricketts plan to extort public funding from the city and state in order to augment his private financial bottom line failed, and he claims to have no plan B. Sure, and those drunken idiots in the bleachers not watching the game are “true baseball fans.”

Well Ricketts rebounded today and held a press conference highlighting the features of his new Wrigleyville investment plan. Here are some of the snippets of that post-presser released statement. I warn you it’s 99.999% corporatespeak and public relations propaganda:

Chicago-area labor officials and Wrigleyville business and community leaders threw their support behind the Chicago Cubs’ plan to invest a combined $400 million in Wrigley Field and the adjacent Triangle Parcel because it will create 1,000 construction jobs, hundreds more permanent jobs and long-lasting economic and tax revenue benefits to the city, the county and the state of Illinois.

“This is a public/private partnership that will put people to work and preserve Chicago and Wrigley Field as a premier tourist destination for generations to come,” said Tom Ricketts, Chicago Cubs chairman. “I want to thank the labor, business and community leaders who have come out today to lend their support and help us win approval of our plan to preserve Wrigley Field and create jobs. This is how economic development projects are supposed to work.”

Permanent jobs? What kind? Low level service-sector jobs with no benefits? Or “real world” jobs that someone can actually build a decent standard of living upon? This being Chicago, I already know who those construction jobs are going to: an inferior, but well-connected firm that will likely end up finishing the project way over budget and well behind schedule (see the 2016 Chicago Olympic Bid or Soldier Field Renovation for an example)

The economic stimulus plan for renovating Wrigley Field and the Triangle Parcel development is estimated to generate more than $3 billion in economic growth in the next 35 years—approximately $66 million in year one, growing 2 percent per year. Of that $3 billion, the plan is estimated to generate $454 million in new sales, hotel, property, restaurant and personal income taxes for the city, county and state of Illinois.

Being a resident of Wrigleyville I’d like to believe the good news stated above but I don’t, not by a long shot. ANd with good reason, stadium swindles of the state usually benefit the privately owned team, and generate no benefit for the state or the people. Secondly, why should I believe any document generated by the Orwellian Ministry of Information that is a MLB Media Relations Department?

The PR soundbites of the Wrigley Investment Now (WIN Jobs) program: (Note: read these Stalinist talking points with a grain of salt and a silo of skepticism)

· Job creation: The combined public/private program will create 1,000 construction jobs for working men and women and hundreds more permanent jobs.

· User fee, no risk to state: The $200 million bonded portion of the program will be based only on the incremental growth in the amusement tax tacked onto tickets bought by fans attending games at Wrigley Field. No other fans attending games at other venues will pay.

· Preserves Wrigley Field: The proceeds from that bond offering will be devoted to shoring up Wrigley Field’s infrastructure to ensure the “Friendly Confines” can be preserved for the next 50 years.

· $200 million private investment: The bond program will then allow the Ricketts family to invest $200 million in private dollars in developing the Triangle Parcel. This would be one of the largest private investments in economic development in Chicago today.

· Tax revenues: According to the research firm Conventions, Sports and Leisure International, the combined $400 million program will immediately boost sales tax revenues for construction supplies and generate a long-term increase to the annual sales tax and property tax revenues to the city, county and state by $9 million.

· Promotes tourism: The Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field are already the third-most visited tourist destination in Chicago producing $618 million in annual economic benefit. The Wrigley 100 project would increase the annual benefit to the region by $66 million. More than one-third of Wrigley Field ‘ s attendees travel from outside of the state of Illinois.

Well I agree with that, most of the drunken morons who come to neighborhood to puke on the sidewalks are out-of-state douchebags, not just the local and suburban douches.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest webzine. He’s also a regular contributor to the Tribune’s Chicago Now network, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com

You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank

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