It looks like the competition to land the Miami Marlins is over, as a group led by venture capitalist Bruce Sherman and former Yankee great Derek Jeter has emerged as the winner after committing $1.2 billion toward the team purchase.
The Sherman/Jeter group was competing with a group led by Miami businessman Jorge Mas Santos to land the Fish in the final round of bidding after a group led by investment fund founder Wayne Rothbaum and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush dropped out of the running. Bidding for the team had slipped since Jeffrey Loria’s original $1.7 billion asking price and had reportedly hit $1.17 billion before a higher Sherman/Jeter bid.
The deal is expected to close in October and will be discussed by MLB owner this week. We do expect more details about the precise makeup of the ownership group, which is said to include 10 entities, according to AP. Sherman will be the controlling owner; Jeter will be a minority investor and in charge of baseball and business operations.
That, presumably, will include oversight of Marlins Park. While it’s hard to fully understand how a $1.2 billion price tag will yield profits down the road, there is a tremendous amount of upside when it comes to the day-to-day business of the Marlins. The team has finished last in National League attendance in 11 of the past 12 seasons, so that represents one upside. Another upside: selling naming rights to Marlins Park, something that Loria and team president David Samson could never accomplish.
One potentially troubling development: sources inside the Jeter group say the distinctive Red Grooms sculpture in left field (shown above) could be gone come 2018. That really could be a shame. The public art in Marlins Park is one area where Loria’s background as an art dealer and investor actually added a lot to the Marlins experience. Yes, baseball purists hate the sculpture, but it does scream Miami — and at a time when the team needs to cement a Miami identity, scrapping one of the most colorful and unique parts of Marlins Park could be a minus, not a plus.
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