By Joe Pantorno
The Wilpon family could have a bidding war on their hands.
Major League Baseball has pre-approved seven groups — who were forced to sign non-disclosure agreements — as qualified bidders for the New York Mets, according to Scott Soshnick of Sportico.
At the time of this article’s publishing, only three of the seven bidders have been revealed in recent weeks.
The headlining group is being led by former All-Star Alex Rodriguez and his wife, pop star Jennifer Lopez. They recently brought on Vitaminwater founder and racehorse owner Michael Repole to their group and have since been linked with the likes of Barstool Sports founder, Dave Portnoy — though that has not been confirmed.
Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Devils, and Crystal Palace owners Joshua Harris and David Blitzer have also been reported to have interest in the Mets. The duo recently acquired a minority stake in the Pittsburgh Steelers to add to its sports entertainment empire.
Most recently, brothers David and Simon Reuben have been tabbed as suitors for the Mets as well. The real-estate moguls have a combined net worth of approximately $14 million and have reportedly taken quite an interest in developing the land around Citi Field in Queens.
The Mets were nearly sold earlier this year to hedge fund billionaire, Steve Cohen, a current minority owner of the club with an 8% stake.
Entering negotiations in December for an 80% majority share of the team for $2.6 billion, talks fell through in February. It remains to be seen if Cohen is still in the hunt for the team.
The ensuing outbreak of COVID-19 has seen the value in the team presumably drop — it was reported in April that the same 80% stake was worth around $1.6 billion — but Forbes estimated the franchise’s worth at around $2.4 billion.
Still, the Mets are losing an average of $50 million per year with the Wilpons at the helm. That deficit is only expected to grow in 2020 as MLB teams around the league suffer losses with the impending 60-game schedule of crowd-less games set for late July.