Thursday, October 11, 2007

Phillies for Sale? Well, maybe...

Where there is smoke, there is fire. As cliche as that phrase is, its the truth. Yesterday, two Philadelphia journalists ( I use that term loosely ) Howard Eskin and Stan Hochman reported that their inside sources told them that the Phillies were approached from a group looking to buy the team. Now if this was just one reporter saying this, you could say, they're making this crap up. But Eskin and Hochman are positive that this is the truth, and I fully believe them. The story continued today, with Eskin saying that the majority owner of the Phillies, had convinced the other lesser partners that it was time to sell. David Montgomery was quick to put the rumors to bed, stating the Phillies were not for sale, right this second at least, cause they can't. Why can't they? Most likely because when the City of Philadelphia helped the Phillies get CBP built, they stipulated that they did not want the Phillies ownership group to make a quick buck and sell the team within the first 5 years of the new ball parks existence. So pretty much this story was leaked about a year to early. Right now the Phillies ownership has to make it through the 2008 season, the fifth and final year in the agreement before they can sell. Now the question is, who is the group that wants to buy the Phillies? Most likely it is a group of 3-5 partners with deep pockets that have other vested interests in this city. Now just about every fan has the dream of Pat Croce or Mark Cubian buying the Phils but I do not think that is the case. Now this is complete speculation but I believe I know who it is. I just got done reading a book about the Boston Red Sox called Feeding the Monster. Very good book. Now this was about the selling of the Boston Red Sox in 2002 and how new ownership came in and changed the Red Sox losing ways. The book goes in depth into the whole behind the scenes story of the bidding wars between different groups trying to buy the Red Sox. At the high point the bids were in the $650M to $750M range. They ended up selling the team for $700M ($40M donated to charities) to John Henry, former Marlins owner. Now the highest bid for the Sox of $750M was not accepted because the group did not follow the guidelines set in place in order to bid. Now this group was dead serious about purchasing the Red Sox, and if another opportunity to purchase a good ball club came along they might jump on it. They were so serious about buying the Sox that their original bid of $700M was bumped to $750 within a day. They wanted that team bad. So who is this group. The leader of this group is a man named Miles Prentice, who is involved in minor league baseball but is also a well known lawyer in New York City who represents many big corporations worldwide. At the time he was ready to buy the Red Sox he had the backing of two big corporations. The first is the Quadrangle Group, which is an investment firm with $6B in assets. Not bad. Now the second group was a Philadelphia based media company called Comcast. With $110B in assets the Comcast corporation was ready to back Miles Prentice and go forward and buy the Red Sox for $750M. Now I'm going to go out on limb and speculate that I believe that Comcast has been waiting to purchase Phillies since they lost the bid for the Red Sox. Now with the Phillies clearly being only steps away from being a true contender, I think they are ready to ponce. With the last year of that 5 year agreement with the city only being 2 months away, they probably wanna get the bid down and the ball rolling on something that could take up a year to complete. We can only hope. With the new Comcast building taking over the skyline already with a March 2008 completion date, Philadelphia is Comcast's city. Owning a sports franchise like the Phillies would be great for business, especially if they can bring a parade down Broad St. one day. My feeling is they wouldn't have a problem pushing the Phillies payroll up to around $115M to get championship to this city. And I would gladly have them bump my cable bill up to $200 to help them make that happen. Comcast's Triple Play anyone?

Tomorrow I play GM. Look out Pat Gillick, I'm breaking hips and taking names later.

1 comment:

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