Part-owner Steve Cohen’s bid to buy a controlling stake in the New York Mets fell apart in February, with both sides blaming each other, but current owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon said at that time they would continue trying to sell the team. And they might have an interesting new bid to consider. Scott Soshnick, the former Bloomberg reporter who’s the editor of the upcoming Sportico sports business site Penske Media plans to launch this summer, has a piece in Penske-owned Variety reporting that Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez are raising capital to try and bid on the Mets:
Retired baseball star Alex Rodriguez and his fiancé, recording artist and actor Jennifer Lopez, have retained JPMorgan Chase to raise capital for a possible bid on the New York Mets, people familiar with the matter said.
The superstar couple is working with managing director Eric Menell, the bank’s co-head of North American media investment banking, said the people, who were granted anonymity because the matter is private.
Menell, Rodriguez and Lopez didn’t return Soshnick’s requests for comment, and this is still obviously a long way from a full bid at this point. And Lopez and Rodriguez would obviously need some outside financing to get the Mets; Celebrity Net Worth estimates they’re worth $400 million and $350 million respectively, which is impressive, but Cohen’s bid was $2.6 billion for 80 percent of the team. Still, it’s quite possible that some deep-pocketed backers might join on with big public faces like Rodriguez (in addition to his past playing career, he’s also highly visible at the moment thanks to his broadcasting work for ESPN and Fox and his business podcast with Barstool Sports) and Lopez (currently a judge on NBC’s World of Dance in addition to her fashion and music ventures).
Of course, something similar happened there with former Rodriguez teammate Derek Jeter’s role in the 2017 purchase of the Miami Marlins. Jeter only put up $25 million of the purchase price and only owns four percent of the franchise (most is owned by billionaire venture capitalist Bruce Sherman), but has been the public face of the team and has been in control of their baseball operations (where his decisions haven’t always been well–received) and statue relocation (ditto). So there’s certainly precedent for a celebrity figure to wind up in a prominent role with a team even without having a majority ownership stake. And Rodriguez has expressed interest in ownership before, including with the Mets, and reportedly was even approached by one of the rival groups bidding for the Marlins (but turned them down).
If this does come to pass, perhaps Rodriguez will do better with the Mets than Jeter has with the Yankees if he winds up in control of the baseball side. The current state of the team suggests the main way to go is up, even if that may not be as fruitful for The Strokes’ songwriting. And at any rate, it certainly could be fun to see former teammates Jeter and Rodriguez as NL East team-running rivals. And this might get Rodriguez out of the Sunday Night Baseball booth too, as a big ownership and baseball-running stake in a team is probably too much of a conflict of interest for even ESPN to overlook.