Billionaire Ricketts Has Winning Month With Chicago Cubs, Trump

  • Championship baseball team wins first World Series since 1908
  • Trump donor funded campaign effort following early opposition

Billionaire Joe Ricketts scored big victories in two of the most dramatic contests in the U.S. this month, backing Donald Trump’s presidential victory a week after watching his family’s baseball team win their first World Series in more than a century.

Ricketts, 75, has a fortune of $2 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The Nebraska native, who traces his wealth to discount trader Ameritrade, bought the Cubs in 2009 and began supporting Trump’s White House bid in September.

The market surge that followed Trump’s victory on Nov. 8 added $50 million to the Ricketts fortune, according to the index. The Cubs victory has sent the value of the franchise soaring, said Peter J. Schwartz, a consultant on strategy and business valuation for Anderson Economic Group, though the team is owned by a trust and isn’t included in the net worth calculation.

The billionaire declined to comment on his net worth through his attorney, Alfred Levitt.

Switching Sides

Ricketts initially opposed Trump. The family was the top funder of a negative advertising campaign aimed at denying him the Republican nomination, contributing $5.5 million. The spending prompted Trump to attack them on Twitter, saying “they better be careful, they have a lot to hide!”

In September, the family committed to spend about $1 million to support Trump’s bid for the presidency, a political adviser said at the time.

“I truly believe that four more years of the Obama-Clinton economic policies will further cripple our economy and the middle class. So while I had my differences with Mr. Trump in the primary, I believe that he and Mike Pence represent a better way forward,” Ricketts wrote in a Sept. 22 blog post on the formation of the PAC.

Ricketts purchased the Cubs and all related entities for $845 million and placed the assets into a trust for the benefit of his family, according to the billionaire’s website. After winning its first World Series since 1908, the assets are worth more than $2.3 billion, according to a valuation opinion from Schwartz.

“Seeing the enthusiasm of the fans and exciting play on the field, I’m proud to say that I’m now a fan of the game, and a huge fan of these amazing Cubbies,” Ricketts wrote in a Nov. 3 blog post.

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