Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Mets sale rumor followup

Turns out Martin Luther King III isn't "leading" any group hoping to purchase the Mets. He may (or may not) be part of the group (which may or may not made a bid, and if it does, may or may not be accepted), but he's not the big dog pulling the sled.

Which makes sense. Limited general partnerships in baseball ownership appear to work when (a) they involve large market teams, which makes it relatively easy for investors to move in and out (as with the Yankees and (b) when the big dog also has the biggest chuck of capital involved.

This is part of why the famous Bill Veeck never owned a team for long. He didn't have the money to buy a team outright; he was always the managing partner in a limited general partnership, and the people who did have the money generally wanted the money back after a few years. (There were other factors too -- health, family issues, and a general preference on Veeck's part to chase the next deal rather than build.)

The main point with the Mets right now isn't so much who is looking to buy into the team, but whether the Wilpons' ownership of the Mets can survive the squeeze of the python that is the Madoff scandal. My guess-- purely a guess -- is that a full sale is inevitable, just as I believe the McCourt divorce is going to force that bickering couple to sell the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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