Cuban and the Cubs, a slam dunk?

cuban.jpgIt was a case of baseketball at the Sports Lawyers Association annual conference in San Francisco this week when the Chicago Cubs came up in conversation.

The Cubs, as most Media File readers know, is the pro baseball team being sold by Tribune Co as it looks for a way to dig away at its mountain of debt after it was taken private by Chicago real estate mogul and noted raconteur Sam Zell (careful with that link. It’s NSFW). One potential bidder is Dallas Mavericks owner and blogger Mark Cuban, who got quite a plug during the conference.

Thomas Ostertag, senior vice president and general counsel for Major League Baseball, was giving a state-of-the-sport speech to an audience of several hundred sports industry officials and attorneys. Here’s what he said about the Cubs:

“We do expect this sale to get more public attention than really almost any sale I can think of in the history of our game, putting aside perhaps the sale of a guy named Babe Ruth to the Yankees way, way back.”

That’s when Joel Litvin, president of league and basketball operations for the National Basketball Association said, “I’m sorry Tom, can I make a plug for Mark Cuban as the next owner of the Cubs?”

Murdoch’s ‘battering ram’

murdoch-soccer-ball.jpgRupert Murdoch made his name dominating global entertainment and media by paying big for what he calls the battering ram — exclusive rights to air sports programming in the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom and Asia.

He’s now executing from the same playbook in Germany, Europe’s biggest television market, whose viewers are quite happy not paying for television unless it’s soccer.

Confirming a report in Der Spiegel, a source close the company tells us Murdoch’s News Corp aims to buy up to 23 percent of Germany’s biggest pay television provider Premiere AG to control a majority at the June 12 Premiere annual meeting. He previously held a 19.9 percent interest as of February and had stoked buyout speculation in January after an initial purchase of more than 14 percent in January.