The Ricketts family, owners of Major League Baseball’s Chicago Cubs franchise since 2009, are among several parties interested in bidding on the Chelsea Football Club, according to Mark Kleinman of Sky News.
The sale of Chelsea, a Premier League giant and reigning winner of the Champions League, comes in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and subsequent calls for club owner Roman Abramovich (among other wealthy Russian businesspeople) to face sanctions. Abramovich first distanced himself from the club before subsequently announcing his decision to put it on the market.
“The apparent interest of the Ricketts family, which owns the Chicago Cubs, is arguably the most eye-catching of the names to be linked to efforts to end Mr. Abramovich’s 19-year ownership of the club,” Kleinman wrote.
The Ricketts, who previously bid on AC Milan back in 2018, are one of several groups mentioned by Kleinman. Others include MMA fighter Conor McGregor and Todd Boehly, who reportedly owns a 20 percent share of the Los Angeles Dodgers as well as a 27 percent share of the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association. (Boehy purchased that share with Mark Walter, the primary owner of the Dodgers.)
Kleinman’s report indicates that Abramovich is seeking £3 billion as part of the sale, or the equivalent of nearly $3.3 billion in American dollars.
“The sale of the club will not be fast-tracked but will follow due process,” Abramovich’s statement read. “I will not be asking for any loans to be repaid. This has never been about business nor money for me, but about pure passion for the game and club.”
Abramovich’s statement promised that the “net proceeds” from the sale will be donated to a charitable foundation formed to benefit “victims of the war in Ukraine” with an eye on “providing critical funds towards the urgent and immediate needs of victims, as well as supporting the long-term work of recovery.”
The Ricketts originally purchased the Cubs and a share of Comcast SportsNet Chicago for $845 million. Forbes estimated the franchise to be worth $3.36 billion last April, with the Ricketts having since renovated Wrigley Field and created Marquee, their own regional sports network.