Chicago Cubs eye tax-free bonds for Wrigley Field

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Major League Baseball's Chicago Cubs franchise is eyeing $200 million or more of tax-exempt bonds to fix historic Wrigley Field, the team's owner said on Thursday.

Tom Ricketts, executive chairman of the franchise, said the team is seeking legislation in the Illinois General Assembly to sell the debt through a state agency, possibly the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority. Legislation could be taken up as soon as the legislature's fall session, which begins next week.

The bonds would be paid off with any increase in revenue from a tax on Cubs ticket sales, Ricketts said, adding that additional measures to make the bonds more attractive to investors were being discussed.

"The increase in amusement tax revenue is not a certain cash flow," he said.

Ricketts said if the legislation is approved, the bonds could be sold next year. The exact amount of bonds will be determined by market conditions, he added.

In a letter to season ticket holders on Thursday, Ricketts -- the son of the founder of TD Ameritrade Holding Corp -- laid out a plan to develop the area around Wrigley Field and renovate the ballpark without increasing taxes or creating any new taxes.

(Reporting by Karen Pierog, editing by Gary Crosse)