Cubs' franchise value makes Tom Ricketts' penny-pinching ways absolutely maddening

The team is now worth more than six times the amount the Ricketts family paid for the iconic franchise in Oct. 2009.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

It's been nearly 15 years since the Ricketts family completed its purchase of the Chicago Cubs for a cool $845 million. During that time, we've seen a complete revitalization and renovation of Wrigley Field and the surrounding area, a modernization of Wrigleyville, as a whole, and the franchise's first World Series championship since 1908.

It should come as no surprise then that, according to Sportico's new MLB franchise valuations, the Cubs are worth a staggering amount of money: $5.31 billion. That trails just three other teams: the Yankees ($7.93 billion), Dodgers ($6.3 billion) and Red Sox ($5.96 billion), a testament to the financial strength of the organization.

How much are the Cubs worth? Here's how Sportico came up with their number

A Yahoo! Sports breakdown of the methodology lays out the approach Sportico took to these values, and it's very important specifically to Cubs fans. This valuation includes "franchise owner’s equity in team-related businesses—that is, both those on the team’s balance sheet and held in distinct corporate entities—as well as government-assessed real estate related to venue, practice facilities and adjacent developments."

As I said, that's particularly relevant in the case of Ricketts and the Cubs. Not only does he own Wrigley Field and the team itself, but an ever-expanding number of Wrigleyville businesses, including the nearby Hotel Zachary and the entire suite of rooftops at this point. Numerous other Ricketts-owned entities include restaurants, residential housing options and retail stores line the streets around the historic ballpark, as well.

In short, Ricketts has turned the entire neighborhood in a money-printing machine. Sure, the pandemic-affected years weren't quite as fat as one would typically expect, but the game has bounced back in resounding fashion. So excuse me for being less than thrilled with the value-obsessed approach this team takes to roster-building, especially when we watched multiple high-caliber free agents sign short-term deals that were more than palatable for a team like the Cubs.

Jordan Montgomery and Matt Chapman, in particular, could have been perfect fits. But the front office treats the first CBT threshold as a soft salary cap and Ricketts has made it clear that's his sweet spot from a spending standpoint.

“We’re right there at CBT (Competitive Balance Tax) levels,” he said earlier this spring. “It’s kind of our natural place for us. That should be enough to win our division and be consistent every year.”

Winning the division should be the first of many goals the organization has each year, with the ultimate being winning a championship. Instead, the Cubs are approaching each season with a goal of simply getting into the postseason, knowing that anything could happen once they're in.

Given the embarrassment of riches the Ricketts family continues to make from the franchise and other related business ventures, not seeing more of that money on the field and in the baseball operations budget is a bitter pill to swallow. One can only hope that, as the team advances into a new contention window, his tune changes. Because he owes it to the fanbase - period.