We’ve been lectured to constantly about the potential perils of print/broadcast cross-ownership. But we never considered the perils of print/baseball ownership, but according to the Washington Post, such perils have been a fact of life for Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.
He is said to be a lifelong White Sox rather than Cubs fan, and has been at odds with the Trib/Cubs owner Tribune. When Daley criticized structural defects at the Cub’s iconic Wrigley Field, Tribune is said to have used its newspaper to unmask structural defects in Daley’s administration. The picture was further complicated by Tribune’s need for government approval for changes to Wrigley due to its status as a city landmark.
However, things have changed, now that Daley friend and supporter Sam Zell is in charge at Tribune. And it looks like participation in the sale of the Cubs by a city/state government partnership, the Illinois Sports Facility Authority, may be on track. The ISFA would not get the team, but it would acquire the stadium. Daley originally opposed the move but according to WaPo may have changed his mind as the deal takes a structure he can live with.
RBR/TVBR observation: It’s amazing how personal and intimate the fulcrums can sometimes be when looking at major business moves. Neither vertical integration and personal relationships can ever be pushed entirely to the side. So if you want a newspaper, a baseball team, a sports stadium or a television station, it seems it would be helpful to be on Sam Zell’s good side. Just head on over to Zell’s General Media Store, open up a pop and start dickering over a friendly game of checkers.