It seems there may be a new owner for the Miami Marlins. Forbes.com’s Mike Ozanian reported on Thursday morning that he spoke to two individuals from within the Marlins organization and he was told that team president David Samson has said that he has a $1.6 billion “handshake agreement” for the Miami Marlins. It should be noted that current owner Jeffrey Loria paid approximately $158 million back in 2002.[Jon]
The idea of Jeffery Loria selling the Marlins is not something new or surprising as he has been looking to sell them since December of 2016. In Loria’s fifteen years as the owner of the Marlins, they have moved into a new stadium that cost roughly $639 million that ended up getting paid for by the taxpayers of Miami. While there was a lot of hope for the team and the ballpark, it has been a total flop. During the team’s first five years in the new ballpark, they have ended up losing more games than winning.
Since the Marlins fans were the ones who paid for the new stadium, they are not happy that they are paying for a crappy team. It should be noted that the Marlins had the lowest attendance in the National League with 21,405. It should be noted that the Cleveland Indians, Oakland Athletics, and the Tampa Bay Rays (all American League clubs) all had lower attendance than the Marlins in 2016.
However, since this is just a “handshake agreement,” there is a lot more that needs to be done before anything can become official. As the article mentions, the potential new owner of the Marlins happens to be a real- estate developer in New York City. Unfortunately, it sounds like the buyer has money tied up in his real estate developments and doesn’t have any money to buy the Marlins. So, in order for this buyer to go ahead and buy the club, they would need to take on a ton of debt, which may make MLB uncomfortable.
Joel Sherman tweeted out on Thursday that from what he is hearing, neither Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez are part of the team trying to buy the Marlins. Their names were brought up because they have both expressed interest in being owners and have ties in the Miami area.[Kenny2]
If these reports are true, then Jeffery Loria is set to make approximately $1.4 billion off of the sale. It will be interesting to see who may become the newest owner of the Marlins. The Marlins get Spring training started in only a few days, so it should be interesting to see if this becomes a distraction at all.