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Know Thy Owner

Thursday, March 17, 2005

As you may know, the Cubs are owned by the Tribune Company, and the Tribune Company is a publicly traded company. As such, the TribCo must file a form 10-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission each year.

Furthermore, the Cubs are one of three MLB teams currently owned by a public company. The Braves are owned by AOL/Time Warner and the Blue Jays are owned by Rogers Communications. Therefore, the Tribune Company's 10-k filing is one of the few financial documents where the general public can see audited financial information regarding a baseball team. Of course, the TribCo and the other publicly traded owners of Baseball franchises have been especially adept at obscuring the financial information about their teams. That said, I read through the Tribune's 10-K to see what it has to say about the Cubs.

  • "The Chicago Cubs were acquired in 1981. Cubs games are broadcast on WGN-TV and WGN-AM." (14)

  • One of the TribCo's 'equity investments' (minority ownership) is Comcase Sports Network. "Comcast Sports Network is a 24-hour cable/satellite television network formed in 2003, which began programming in the fall of 2004, focusing on Chicago sports teams." (15)

  • "The Company also owns Wrigley Field, the 39,600-seat stadium used by the Chicago Cubs baseball team. The Company considers its various properties to be in good condition and suitable for the purposes for which they are used." The last sentence is referring to all Tribune properties in general, not necessarily Wrigley Field alone. However, the statement does include Wrigley Field. (18)

  • The TribCo as a whole declared $5.73 billion in revenues and $1.22 billion in profit for 2004. While revenues increased 2% from 2003, profit fell 11%. Most of this decline is blamed on a scandal at the TribCo's Newsday and Hoy newspapers which were over reporting their circulation. When the scandal was discovered, the Tribune took a $90 million loss. (37)

  • The Tribune reports the Cubs financials in its Broadcasting and Entertainment division (26). This is subdivided into Television and Radio/Entertainment (R/E). The Cubs are a part of R/E. This entire segment declared revenues of $243 million in 2004, up 3% from 2003. This simply means that the Trib is claiming no more than $243 million in Cubs revenues (which it isn't.) (44)

  • The R/E subdivision reported earnings of $18 million in 2004, down 13% from 2003. (44)

  • "Radio and entertainment revenues increased 6%, or $13 million, in 2003 due to a playoff related rise in revenue for the Chicago Cubs" ... "The 2004 decline in radio and entertainment operating profit primarily reflects the absence of post-season revenues reported by the Chicago Cubs in 2003." (44)

  • "On a comparable basis, compensation costs [within Broadcasting and Entertainment] rose 5%, or $17 million, due to higher player compensation for the Chicago Cubs, higher commissions and other salary increases." (45) (There is a similar sentence on page 39, but it refers to the overall TribCo).

  • "In February 2005, subsequent to the Company's fiscal year end, the Company's Chicago Cubs subsidiary traded Sammy Sosa to the Baltimore Orioles. As a result of this trade, the Company will record a $13.5 million pretax charge in the first quarter of 2005." (49)

  • "Deferred income arises in the normal course of business from advance subscription payments for newspapers, interactive advertising sales and prepaid ticket revenue related to the Chicago Cubs." (68)

  • The Chicago National League Ball Club, Inc. is incorporated in Delaware and owns the Chicago Cubs and cubs.com (Exhibit 21, Tribune Company List of Subsidiaries)

  • Wrigley Field Premium Ticket Services, Inc. is a separate subsidiary, also incorporated in Delaware. (Exhibit 21, Tribune Company List of Subsidiaries)

This post's title was inspired by the writings of Derek Smart.

March 17, 2005 Record: 8-7, Box,Phoenix AZ
ST#15 Chicago Cubs 6
Oakland Athletics 4


March 15, 2005 Record: 7-7, Box,Hohokam Park Mesa AZ
ST#14 Chicago Cubs 6
Kansas City Royals 1


March 14, 2005 Record: 6-7, Box,Hohokam Park Mesa AZ
ST#13 Chicago Cubs 5
Chicago White Sox 9
Posted by Byron at March 17, 2005 5:54 PM | Bookmark and Share | BallHype: hype it up!
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