The Chicago Cubs franchise, being sold by media group Tribune, has attracted credible interest from about 15 parties, and a deal for the baseball team and other assets is expected to top $1 billion, according to a source familiar with the situation.
First-round bids are likely due after the Sept. 3 Labor Day holiday, with a winner expected to be picked in October. A deal is expected to close by the end of the year.
The winner must be approved by Major League Baseball.
The three assets being sold -- the Cubs, the team's landmark Wrigley Field stadium and an interest in sports cable network SportsNet Chicago -- could be sold as one package or split up, the source said.
In addition to the 15 credible expressions of interest, another 25 or so are being sorted through by the sellers, the source said.
To receive the confidential information about the Cubs needed to make an offer, a prospective bidder must fill out an application form that is evaluated by the sellers and submitted to Major League Baseball for approval.
The initial set of applications has been submitted to Major League Baseball and after approval, parties will be given access to financial and other information.
Tribune , which is being taken private in an $8.2 billion deal led by real estate magnate Sam Zell, declined comment.