Who will buy the New York Mets?
After 18 years of control by real estate developer Fred Wilpon, the Amazins are on the block—and the twists and turns to see the sale through are as dramatic as some of the MLB team’s bids for the postseason.
The latest development: NFL players have entered the fray. Brian Urlacher (retired; formerly of the Chicago Bears), Travis Kelce (active; Kansas City Chiefs), and DeMarco Murray (retired; formerly of the Dallas Cowboys, among others) are part of a group of investors that have joined Bronx-born pop star Jennifer Lopez and retired New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez in a first-round bid to buy the Mets, according to an ESPN report.
The magic number? A reported $1.7 billion. (J.P. Morgan Chase is working their side of the deal.)
The sporting supergroup—which also includes Joe Thomas (retired; Cleveland Browns), Bradley Beal (active; Washington Wizards), Mason Plumlee (active; Denver Nuggets)—isn’t the only suitor in the mix. Hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen has offered $2 billion, according to a Fox Business report, which is much closer to the number that Mets COO Jeff Wilpon reportedly has in mind.
All are said to await the input of MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, who has been admittedly busy trying to salvage the league’s now-shortened 2020 season.
Last year Cohen reportedly made a bid for 80% of the Mets that valued the club at $2.6 billion, but the deal didn’t make it to the finish line. (What should you know about Long Island native Cohen, who is no stranger to Fortune‘s pages? Glad you asked.) New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia 76ers owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer also made a Mets bid last week, according to the New York Daily News, though the figure remains unknown.
The Mets last won a World Series (over the Boston Red Sox) in 1986, but there have been recent bids at greatness. The club won the National League pennant in 2015 (losing the World Series to the Kansas City Royals) and secured a Wild Card berth in 2016 (losing to the San Francisco Giants). The ballclub—one of Fortune’s 101 Great Things About America this year—had a winning record last season but failed to make the playoffs.
It also appears to be a bit of a moment for athlete investors. Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan picked up a stake in the Miami Marlins baseball team in 2018. Last year Houston Rockets star James Harden acquired stakes in both the Houston Dynamo and Dash, the men’s and women’s pro soccer teams, respectively. International soccer star David Beckham recently kicked off the inaugural season of his MLS team Inter Miami, rights which he obtained as part of his own 2007 Los Angeles Galaxy contract. And just last month New Jersey Nets star Kevin Durant became a minority owner of the Philadelphia Union soccer team.
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