With its newspaper operations in distress and its corporate image in tatters, the company is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to shore up its baseball team, the Chicago Cubs.
Tribune owns the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, two venerable newspapers that are in disarray because the parent company can’t seem to generate big enough profits to satisfy its investors on Wall Street. Life at the L.A. Times is so chaotic that the paper’s editor and publisher both quit recently, rather than submit to Tribune Co.’s seemingly endless cost-cutting.
Then we have the woeful Cubbies. In parallel with the newspaper franchises, the Cubs also recently replaced their leader, Manager Dusty Baker. The team limped to a 66-96 record this year, finishing last in the National League.
Your newspaper operations are a mess and your baseball team is a disaster. So, what do you do? Why, invest heavily in the baseball team, of course.
On Monday, Tribune confirmed that it would pay free-agent slugger Alfonso Soriano $136 million over eight years. It’s spending more than $200 million total on many players this off-season, as well as hiring a new manager, veteran Lou Piniella.