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Detroit Tigers: We’re Not for Sale

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After a report indicated that Dan Gilbert was in discussions about buying the team from the Ilitch family, the Detroit Tigers denied that they are for sale. 

In an article published Tuesday, the website The Spun reported that Gilbert was in “serious discussions” about buying the Tigers from the Ilitch family. The article cited sources anonymous sources saying that “Gilbert is ‘110 percent’ interested in purchasing the club, and the current owners of the Tigers are open to a possible sale, though none has been negotiated as of now.”

However, the Tigers are denying that they are for sale. In a statement, a team spokesman said that Christoper Ilitch–son of the late Mike Ilitch, who purchased the Tigers in 1992–remains committed to long-term ownership of the Tigers, something that the organization has stated consistently. More from The Detroit News:

“We are on the record and have consistently stated that Christopher Ilitch is 100-percent committed to long-term Ilitch ownership of the Detroit Tigers,” Ron Colangelo, a Tigers spokesman, said in a statement.

The sports website, The Spun, reported Tuesday that Gilbert, the Quicken Loans co-founder and owner of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, was in “serious discussions” about purchasing the Tigers.

That story, citing anonymous sources, seemed to lend some credibility to the speculation that Gilbert was indeed interested in adding Major League Baseball to his vast portfolio amid a report by Bloomberg earlier this month that said Gilbert was looking to cash out of the casino business. Gilbert is part of an ownership group of Greektown Casino, as well as multiple casinos in Ohio.

Gilbert–a native of Southfield, MI–owns the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers among other sports franchises, and has made considerable business investments in Detroit. In fact, he may expand on both his sports and Detroit business endeavors through an ongoing effort to bring an MLS expansion team to the Detroit Lions’ Ford Field.

While Gilbert could add MLB to his holdings down the road, it has been stated on previous occasions–including in a Crain’s Detroit Business story earlier this month–that the Ilitch family is committed to continuing its ownership of the team. Along with the Tigers, the Ilitches own the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings and opened Little Caesars Arena for the team last fall. Little Caesars Arena–which is located near the Tigers’ Comerica Park–is intended to be a part of a larger downtown Detroit development initiative.

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