2014 Campaign

The Cubs' Billionaire Owners Use Wrigley Field for a GOP Fundraiser


Wrigley Field

Photograph by Todd Rosenberg/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images

Wrigley Field

A couple weeks ago, Eric Chemi and I examined some new demographic data suggesting that the right-wing SuperPAC run by the Ricketts family, which owns the Chicago Cubs, could harm the team’s attendance—and eventually its competitiveness because Cubs’ fans are among the most liberal in baseball and might not put up with it. I’ve seen little sign that this is hurting the Cubs—the team is lousy for other reasons—but the Ricketts clan appears determined to find out what happens when you co-mingle partisan politics with professional baseball.

On Tuesday night, Cubs Chief Executive Officer Tom Ricketts is holding a fundraiser at Wrigley Field for his brother, Pete Ricketts, who is the Republican nominee for Nebraska governor. (Read this great Buffett-vs.-Ricketts “Battle of the Nebraska Billionaires” primer on the race by Bloomberg’s Annie Linskey and Noah Buhayar.)
 According to the Chicago Tribune:

Attendees can donate $25,000 to Pete Ricketts’ campaign to chair the event, down to $1,000 to attend, according to the invitation.

A reception will be held from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., after which attendees will be able to watch the last-place Cubs play the Milwaukee Brewers, the National League Central Division leaders.

It’s worth noting that one member of the Ricketts family, Pete’s sister Laura, is a Democrat and an Obama bundler. (Family loyalty trumps party loyalty: NBC Chicago said she’ll co-host the fundraiser). Still, this is a family that cites the Koch Brothers as inspiration, so they’re pretty wedded to conservative political activism. The family’s spokesman told the Tribune that they “aren’t concerned their latest foray into the political realm will cause them trouble with the city.” (That’s the Tribune’s phrasing). Perhaps not. It will be interesting to see whether it eventually causes problems with the Cubs’ fan base.

Green_190
Green is senior national correspondent for Bloomberg Businessweek in Washington. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaGreen.

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