Marlins sale: Derek Jeter, Bruce Sherman, Michael Jordan and more things to know
Once again, Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has an to an ownership group that includes Derek Jeter. Jeter and New York venture capitalist Bruce Sherman have reportedly agreed to purchase the club for $1.2 billion. The Marlins and Loria have not confirmed the agreement.
Loria, who is regarded by many as the worst owner in baseball (if not all of sports), has been looking to sell the Marlins for months now. Not surprisingly, it’s not until after last month’s All-Star Game that a firm sale agreement is in place. Loria reaped all the All-Star Game revenue and now will sell the team. It’s what any smart businessman would have done.
Here are seven things to know about the reported sale of the Marlins to the Sherman-Jeter group.
1. The sale is not yet final
This is important to note, because this is not the first time Jeter has come close to purchasing the Marlins. He and former Florida governor Jeb Bush won the team at auction earlier this year, though they were unable to finalize the sale because they couldn’t raise the money. Also, Loria reportedly had a handshake agreement in place to sell the team to a different ownership group over the winter, but that fell apart due to political reasons.
Loria and the Sherman-Jeter group have a sale agreement in place and the money has already been raised. The next step is getting approval from MLB and the other 29 owners. That won’t happen for weeks, if not months. That doesn’t mean the sale is in danger or anything like that. It just means Loria, Sherman, and Jeter have to wait until the next quarterly owners meetings to get approval. That can take some time.
2. Jeter is not the ‘control person’
According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Jeter is putting only $25 million of his own money into that $1.2 billion purchase price, so he is a minority owner. He will not be the “control person,” but he will run the business and baseball operations.
Sherman, a wealthy venture capitalist who has a home in New York and is building a home in South Florida, will be the “control person,” similar to a managing general partner.
But Jeter, the former New York Yankees star shortstop, will run the business and baseball sides of the organization, the source said.
Jeter is believed to be contributing only $25 million of his own money but has a great relationship with Sherman, who will allow Jeter to essentially run the organization.
Also,. He is one of the most popular athletes in the world and that will only enhance the team’s brand.
3. Michael Jordan is involved too
As is often the case, the Sherman-Jeter ownership group includes many small investors. Jeter is, technically, one of those small investors. Another is basketball great Michael Jordan.
Beyond Sherman, most of the other members of Jeter’s group are smaller investments, with $5 million, $10 million and $20 million increments. Basketball superstar Michael Jordan is mostly lending his name, and is believed to be contributing no more than a few million dollars, if that.
Owning a baseball team is very lucrative — the revenue sharing system essentially guarantees you’ll make money — so it’s not a surprise Jordan and others want a piece of the pie. It’s a great investment.
4. Jeter is making history
Even though he’s not the “control person,” Jeter will be the first African-American to hold his position:
Baseball still has a diversity problem, especially at the front office and ownership level. Surely MLB is hoping Jeter helps spark more diversity hires at upper level positions.
5. The front office is expected to remain in place …
Once the sale is final, massive changes are not coming to the Marlins. Several senior level executives are expected to remain in place.
Marlins fans hoping for sweeping change as soon as Loria is out of the picture are likely to be disappointed.
6. … for now
That all said, it is very common for new ownership groups to take some time to evaluate the state of the team before making any changes. The Dodgers were sold in March 2012 and it wasn’t until October 2014 that the club hired Andrew Friedman away from the Rays to run their baseball operations. These things take time.
Now, just because it took the Dodgers three seasons to change their front office after being sold does not mean the Sherman-Jeter group will wait three seasons to make changes either. They could come in and quickly decide a change in direction is needed. Samson and Hill are staying on, though that should not be considered permanent. At some point the Sherman-Jeter group will want to bring in their own people to run the show.
7. The sale price is the second highest in MLB history
Think the other 29 MLB owners are happy? The reportedly $1.2 billion sale price will be the second largest sum ever paid for a big-league franchise, behind the $2 billion the Guggenheim Partners paid for the Dodgers in March 2012. The Marlins are said to be bleeding money — they’re reportedly going to lose $60 million this year — yet the franchise is still insanely valuable. If the Marlins are selling for $1.2 billion, imagine what some of the other franchises could fetch.