Last month the New York Times identified hedge fund manager Steve Cohen as the frontrunner to buy a minority share of the Mets. Today the New York Post is saying that is still the case, reporting that Cohen was to meet with with the Wilpons and/or Saul Katz “at 8 pm at Gabriele’s Steak House in his hometown of Greenwich, Conn.” No word if he had the creamed spinach.
In the Times’ report, people who knew Cohen said that they would be surprised that he would accept a minority stake in the Mets, on the presumption that such a stake would provide him with no control over the direction of the team. The Post reported last week, however, and repeats today, that “a minority owner will have significant input immediately on key budgetary decisions” and that he would “be part of a newly created board.”
Perhaps those changes were designed specifically for Cohen? Perhaps the hedge fund manager is looking for a foothold he could use to one day get a bigger piece of the Amazin’ pie?
Earlier this year Disney agreed to purchase the majority stake in BAMTech, the digital media company spun off from MLB Advanced Media. We know it as the source of the technology for MLB.tv and MLB.com, but it’s far more wide-ranging than that now. At present it powers streaming for MLB, HBO, NHL, WWE, and, eventually, will power Disney’s and ESPN’s upcoming streaming services.
The company was started by an investment from baseball’s 30 owners, so they’re getting a big payout as a result of the acquisition. Earlier this morning Jim Bowden dropped this regarding how much of that payout is in the offing in the short term:
That’s probably on the low end, actually. Some people I’ve spoken to who are familiar with the acquisition say the figure is more like $68 million in Q1 of 2018.
Good for the owners! It was a savvy, forward-thinking investment that, in the past, baseball owners might not have made. Bud Selig, Bob Bowman and others deserve credit for convincing the Jeff Lorias and Jerry Reinsdorfs of the world to think big and long term. It’s money out of the sky, raining down upon the owner of your baseball team for, basically, doing nothing.
Money which should be remembered when your buddy complains about a relief pitcher getting $6 million for only pitching 65 innings. Money which should be remembered when your team’s GM says that he has to cut back on payroll in the coming year.