Groups pitch for Chicago Cubs

February 29, 2008 5:11:01 PM PST
A group of African-American investors is throwing its hat into the ring for the Chicago Cubs.

The process of selling the Cubs is moving along much more slowly than anyone would have anticipated. That's one reason the group came forward Friday to try to expedite the process. They say their finances are in place and they are serious about owning the team.

One of the most valuable franchises in sports, the North Side ball team is worth an estimated $600 million. That's without Wrigley Field.

There has been no shortage of interest in buying the team, possible owners include Donald Trump and Mark Cuban, a fan favorite. John Canning, a Chicago businessman and traditional baseball type who already has stake in the Milwaukee Brewers, has also said he'd be interested in buying the Cubs.

On Friday, a group of African-American investors made its pitch public and became the first minority group known to bid on the Cubs. The prospective owners believe they have a shot.

"In these great days of change, the time is here for a minority controlled group to own a major league sports franchise," said Marshall Bynum, who said his ownership group includes the families of baseball greats Jackie Robinson and Hank Greenberg.

Chicago billionaire Sam Zell took over ownership of the team when he bought "The Chicago Tribune" in December. But Zell has no intention of keeping the Cubs and has already caused controversy by proposing to sell the naming rights to the ballpark.

Some fans have vowed to boycott any company that buys the rights. Others are accusing Zell of the baseball equivalent of blasphemy.

Bynum said if his group owned the Cubs they would keep the Wrigley name.

"We'll keep the name Wrigley Field," said Bynum.

This ownership group believes it's time for an African American group to own a major league baseball team. They say by their estimate, major league baseball has 1% African American ownership and they intend to change that.