If you presumed the Mets had suspended their efforts to find a new owner, think again. Per Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic (subscription link), the club’s representatives are continuing to seek purchasers.
It’s hard to believe it was less than two months ago that the club broke off its anticipated deal with minority owner Steve Cohen. Under that arrangement, the current Wilpon ownership group would’ve retained operational control for a five-year period. The team is now offering an arrangement with no strings attached.
Suffice to say the economic picture for a baseball franchise is rather more complicated now than it was then. Still, it sounds as if the Mets are sticking to their $2.6B asking price and still pressing forward in an effort to find a taker.
As Kaplan writes, some initial leads have already dried up with the sudden economic downturn. Ongoing uncertainty, both generally and in the operation of a major-league organization, will surely give added pause.
Still, this represents quite a rare opportunity to take over a New York-based baseball club. If indeed the team is able to maintain traction on the sale effort, it could make for an interesting test of the value of franchises.
It’s often said that operating profit isn’t the true source of a team’s value; rather, like a piece of fine art, the investment lies in capital appreciation. That may well be. But teams have increasingly shown an appreciation for the end-of-year bottom line. Cash flow is a significant part of the picture when it comes to the game of baseball. In this case, the spigot seems sure to turn back on, but it’s possible it may sputter for a time and may not flow in quite the same way once it steadies.