With three bids submitted for the purchase of the New York Mets and possibly the SNY network, we’ll see if the sale of the Mets ends up being a media play, a gambling play or a real-estate play.
The reported three bids for the team, as submitted last week, were varied:
- Steve Cohen, whose $2.6 billion bid was withdrawn earlier this year, has returned with a $2 billion bid for the Mets and a potential $2 billion purchase of the SNY network. This would be the media play.
- Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez have put together a group that includes Vitamin Water co-founder Mike Repole and Florida Panthers owner Vinny Viola, as well as a slew of minority investors (NFL tight end Travis Kelce and running back DeMarco Murray, NBA All-Star Bradley Beal, and Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher). A larger group is not necessarily a plus: MLB likes ownership groups to be small and accountable. Their bid was reportedly $1.7 solely for the Mets. This would be the real-estate play, as we’ll see in a minute.
- Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, led by Josh Harris and David Blitzer, have reportedly also submitted a $1.7 billion bid. Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment is a major presence in the arena-sports world as the owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, NHL’s New Jersey Devils and the e-sports franchise Dignitas and manager of Newark’s Prudential Center. This would be the baseball play: Harris Blitzer has been active on the legal sports betting front, with the 76ers the first NBA team to partner with a mobile sports book and sports book operator William Hill US is opening the William Hill Sports Lounge at Prudential Center. This could be the gambling play.
Of course, all three bids are baseball plays. But it’s fascinating to see three bids that are so varied in terms of backgrounds and motivations.
Speaking of motivations: the New York Post is reporting the pair met last week with Bob and Jonathan Kraft and toured the facilities at Gillette Stadium and Patriot Place. The Krafts are reportedly interested in developing the acreage surrounding Citi Field in Willets Point, but not interested at all in owning a chunk of the Mets. From the Post:
Sources inside the meeting tell The Post that J-Rod were accompanied on their trip by senior bankers from JPMorgan Chase’s private wealth group, including Mary Callahan Erdoes, CEO of the bank’s Asset & Wealth Management group.
Erdoes, 52, is considered the most powerful woman in finance and a potential successor to JPMorgan chief Jamie Dimon. Joining Erdoes and J-Rod was Vincent La Padula, head of global lending at JPMorgan’s Private Bank, which counts Rodriguez, Lopez and the Krafts as clients, and — as The Post has reported — has been working intimately with J-Rod on their Mets bid….
Per insiders, the visit lasted five hours, during which the Krafts showed J-Rod around both Gillette Stadium and their adjoining entertainment, retail and hospitality complex, Patriot Place. The tour was meant to show the potential new Mets owners what can be done with a stadium and the undeveloped land around it.
Citi Field development was always a goal of the Wilpons, but despite some proposals for retail and soccer-stadium additions, nothing ever panned out. Development could be an important revenue steam for the A-Rod/J-Lo bid down the line, but first that group needs to land the team. And with Cohen already exceeding $2 billion on his initial bid, it’s likely the A-Rod/J-Lo group will need to up their offer sooner than later.
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