If Zell is able to squeeze a bit more out of a stadium sale, at the end of the day it will mean lower profits for the franchise and diminish its value. While a few financial and tax considerations may come into play, the tradeoff will be close to a dollar-for-dollar exchange.I'm no expert like Zimbalist is, but it has always struck me that separating the Cubs and Wrigley is ridiculous. It makes no financial sense for anyone wanting to buy the team -- think Jeff Loria in Miami paying rent to Wayne Huizenga -- and provides no real incentive for the facility owner to invest in sensible, long-term upgrades (though short-term and fan-alienating profit maximization may run rampant).
Many people in baseball look with admiration at the renovations that the Red Sox’s owners have made at Fenway Park since 2003. The owners have invested more than $150 million of their own money, but they already have reaped rosy returns. Few would disagree that Janet Marie Smith and Larry Lucchino have worked financial and architectural wonders at Fenway.
The Cubs’ new owners will have the team’s long-run interests in mind and they will be best positioned to exploit the potential synergies among the franchise, the facility and the surrounding neighborhood. If Wrigley Field is going to be renovated, it is best done, as with the Red Sox, by the same group that will own the team.
The mortgage meltdown notwithstanding, owning > renting, and that goes for baseball teams too.
(thanks to the diabolical Pete Toms for the link)