MLB formally approved the sale of the Houston Astros to a group led by Houston businessman Jim Crane, as the team preps for a move to the American League in 2013.
The sale price for the team was $610 million, according to the Houston Chronicle, some $70 million less than the original sales agreement between Drayton McLane and the Crane group. Crane successfully argued for a price reduction as a condition of moving to the American League West; McLane and MLB each kicked in $35 million toward a price reduction. (Don’t cry too much for McLane: he bought the Astros in 1992 for $117 million.)
“I welcome Jim Crane and his group as they prepare to become the new stewards of the Astros,” said MLB Commissioner Bud Selig. “I thank them for their patience and determination throughout a long but necessary process, which allowed us to accomplish our due diligence. The enthusiasm of Jim and his group will serve the Astros and their fans very well in the years ahead.”
“This is a dream come true for my partners and I,” Crane said. “We all love baseball and look forward to doing a great job for the city of Houston and the Astros fans. We worked long and hard to get a baseball team, and will work even harder to win a World Series for our hometown.”
The other principal investors include John Havens, Bill Morgan, Doug Bauer, John Hauck & TSI Holding Company, Greg Allen & family, Neil Kelley & Partners, Will Galtney, John Eddie Williams & Cary Patterson and Milton Carroll & Partners.
The purchase is expected to close early next week.
The shift of the Astros to the American League will put 15 teams in each league and force interleague play throughout the season, as opposed to the dedicated time spans used in current schedules. We’ve not done the math, but given that MLB teams are already playing four interleague series a season now, it would not appear teams will be playing many more interleague games than at the present; they’ll just be spread out throughout the season.
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