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Future of Orioles ownership in transitional time

Oriole Park at Camden Yards 2019

With John Angelos approved as the Baltimore Orioles control person and franchise buyers in the wings, the team is potentially entering a transitional time in the owner’s suite — but there’s no indication the team is leaving Oriole Park.

Angelos replaces his father, Peter Angelos, who is 91 years old and reportedly in declining health. In Major League Baseball, the control person is designated as the executive accountable for the team operations and compliance with MLB rules. Peter Angelos and a group of investors bought the Orioles for $173 million from Eli Jacobs–at the time the richest price paid for an American sports franchise.

The Angelos family would be in line for a significant return on that investment. Though no one thinks the team is worth the $2.42 billion Steve Cohen paid for the New York Mets, a valuation of $1.5 billion isn’t out of the question, especially if there are multiple groups bidding for the privilege of owning a Major League Baseball team. And, let’s face it: it’s not every day an MLB team hits the market.

But talk like this is premature while the elder Angelos is still alive. Those familiar with the tax laws say it’s highly unlikely the Orioles would be put on the market at this time: a sale would be subject to capital-gains taxes, but that’s not an issue when Angelos passes away and the family decides to sell. There’s no indication the family is ready to sell, and in fact the Orioles have been working with the Maryland Stadium Authority on a new Oriole Park lease that would provide for ballpark improvements as well as a long-term commitment to Baltimore.

Still, the Baltimore Sun reported that investors have been talking about buying the team down the line; the likes of Larry Lucchino, Cal Ripken Jr., Carlyle Group CEO David Rubenstein and Allegis Group co-founder Jim Davis were mentioned by the Sun.

RELATED STORIES: Orioles, stadium authority negotiating new Oriole Park lease

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