In a major development, the Chicago Cubs have become the first major-league sports franchise to have an openly gay owner.
On Oct. 30, the Ricketts family were announced as the new owners of the Cubs, buying the team, Wrigley Field and a share in Comcast SportsNet Chicago for $845 million from the Tribune Co., according to MLB.com .
Among the purchasers is Laura Ricketts, a lesbian who now becomes the first out individual to own a professional sports team, according to MarketToMarketLLC.com . Laura, who lives in Chicago, is a member of the board of Lambda Legal, a national organization fighting for gay rights, according to Jim Bennett, the organization's Midwest regional director.
In an interview with MarketToMarketLLC.com, Laura Ricketts, who has a partner, said, "I came out to my family I would say early to mid 30s. I think for a long time I wasn't really out to myself growing up in Omaha, Neb., to a Catholic conservative family. ... I think that it really couldn't of been a better experience. They were all immediately supportive. ... I have been really really fortunate in that regard."
Pete, Todd, Tom and Laura make up the board of directors, with Tom as chairman, NBC.com added.
Nancy "Mac" MacKenzie, the softball commissioner of the Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association ( CMSA ) , told Windy City Times that Laura is "an awesome person I've known for years...she played softball in the league. Sweet, smart, funny, very environmentally conscious [ and ] has done a lot of community service work. Seriously, she is one of the nicest, most high-quality people i've ever met. No lie." CMSA President Marcia Hill said, "Good luck to Laura Ricketts, first openly gay owner in MLB . [ I'm ] looking forward to her family working with the gay and lesbian community."
The Ricketts have been outspoken about their quest to have the Cubs win the World Series, a feat the team has not achieved since 1908. Photo of ( from left ) Pete, Tom, Laura and Todd Ricketts courtesy of the Chicago Cubs Baseball Club, LLC/Stephen Green