ESPN and The Athletic are both reporting that Kanas City Royals owner David Glass is poised to sell the team to a group led by local businessman John Sherman for more than $1 billion. The deal is expected to be finalized without much trouble in relatively short order. Sherman is currently a minority owner of the Cleveland Indians. He would, obviously, divest himself of his share of the Indians once the deal goes through.
Glass, the former CEO of Wal-Mart, purchased the Royals for around $96 million in 2000. That $1 billion figure is expected to be on the low-end, actually, and he could and probably should get at least $1.2 billion for the team, which was the sales price for the Miami Marlins. The Royals draw better than Miami and are in line to get a new TV deal sooner than Miami, which is expected to be double that of their current broadcast deal. In light of that, most sports business types opining on all of this yesterday said they believed the Royals would be worth more. We’ll see, of course, when the final numbers come in.
Either way, Glass is going to realize a greater than 1,000% gain on his initial investment in less than 20 years. There aren’t many legal ways to do that, but such are the benefits of owning one of only 30 units in a legalized monopoly.
Under Glass’ stewardship the Royals were, for the most part a less-than-competitive team, finishing higher than third place in the AL Central on only two occasions. The exception to that, however, was considerable, with the club winning back-to-back American League pennants in 2014 and 2015 and winning the 2015 World Series by defeating the New York Mets. In the wake of that the Royals drew over two million fans to the ballpark for three straight seasons after failing to break the two million mark for over 20 seasons. They’re back down below that now but the goodwill from the 2014-15 seasons remains to a large extent, making the Royals a more desirable property than they might’ve been just a few short years ago.