WSBT 22 / PETE BYRNE
South Bend Cubs owner Andrew Berlin is a new minority owner of the Chicago Cubs. On Friday, Berlin purchased a stake in the Chicago major league franchise from the Ricketts family.
“I’m not making decisions about operations or player personnel,” Berlin said in an exclusive interview with WSBT 22, upon completion of the transaction on Friday. “But I do enjoy certain perks of ownership — of being a minority owner — and I also get a chance to learn about Major League Baseball and the baseball business.”
“To have a chance to, not only continue education, but also bring the South Bend Cubs closer in their relationship with the Chicago Cubs. It certainly draws the two organizations closer together. Not only for myself, my family and for the South Bend Cubs — and by extension, the whole community that benefits from having the Cubs in Michiana — this is a good transaction for everybody.”
Berlin’s passion for baseball has been evident to sports fans in South Bend since he purchased the local Class-A affiliate in 2011. He’s been heard saying his dream is to one day own a major league baseball team.
“I feel that I am affiliated with a team that is a terrific organization, a terrific front office with amazing prospects for the future and a culture and an attitude that is exhilarating,” Berlin said.
“And to also own one of their minor league affiliates, it fits neatly into the portfolio and the relationships are strong. I’m very excited about it: this iconic brand that the Michiana region is excited about, but all of Chicago is excited about, so I’m thrilled.”
Berlin will also be able to continue his limited partnership with Chicago White Sox. Berlin purchased a minority stake in the White Sox in 2007.
“I continue to have a few shares of the White Sox,” Berlin told WSBT, “but I am in no way involved with the organization and have no involvement in any of its operations.”
“Before investing as a limited partner in the Chicago Cubs, I shared my intentions with [White Sox owner] Mr. Reinsdorf and he permitted me to do so.”
The Rickets family bought the Cubs in 2009 for $845 million, and according to reports, had been planning to sell minority stakes of the team to cover the cost of massive renovations to Wrigley Field, reported to cost the family between $375 to $575 million. Berlin sold his Chicago based packaging company for $1.4 billion in 2014.
It stands to reasons that Berlin’s association with the Chicago Cubs will benefit business for the South Bend Cubs. Berlin and the Cubs agreed to a four-year development contract, that will keep the Chicago Cubs aligned with Berlin’s South Bend Class-A franchise through 2018.
Now as a limited partner of the major league club, Berlin sees the potential for an even greater partnership.
“I think for the South Bend Cubs fan, the benefit probably comes from the fact that with the two organization linked closer together through myself, that may drive a closer connection and help keep the Cubs in South Bend as long as possible.”