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Could the Cubs be owned by the people who root for them?

Big League Stew

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As Maury Brown notes over on The Biz of Baseball, the Chicago Tribune reported on Friday that two new owners have entered the derby to buy the Cubs.

OK, so that's not too interesting ... At least not until you find out that one of the groups that has reviewed the team's financial records is Sports Properties Acquisition Corp., a publicly-traded company (Symbol: HMR) that would allow fans a chance to buy shares of the team.

With a lot of other big names already involved in the race to own one of the country's most popular franchises, it'd seem that SPAC is a longshot to actually buy the Cubs from Sam Zell. Still, considering that no baseball team is publicly owned — the Indians were briefly set up that way from 1998-2000 — it's a unique concept.

From the Trib:

If Sports Properties bought the team, Cub fans would be able to buy shares in the company, just like any other publicly traded firm. Vice Chairman Andrew Murstein, who is president of a New York-based investment fund, declined to comment on the company's interest in the Cubs, but he discussed its business plan in generic terms.

Murstein led the effort to put together the firm, which is known in the financial world as a special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. Such entities are shell companies that raise public money for a future merger or acquisition.

"We believe owning sports teams is one of the great investments you can make," he said. "Many people think that owning a sports team is a rich man's game. We want to give institutions, individuals and fans the opportunity to own a part of it."

While I don't think this plan has much of a chance of succeeding — think Bud Selig and his boys would want a Wrigleyville Trixie with an MLB owner's vote? — it's nice to see that the shares would actually be worth something and would pay off with an actual divident when the team makes a profit. Down here in Chicago, we still like to smirk any time one of our friends from the fine state of Wisconsin boasts of owning a rube certificate "stock" in the Green Bay Packers*.

(*Not that I don't like or appreciate the concept of the small-town community coming in to support their team ... but let's call the money you sent them what it is ... a donation.)

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