Dec 5, 2019

Mets on verge of sale to hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen

Mets president Saul Katz, majority owner Fred Wilpon and COO Jeff Wilpon. Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The New York Mets are in the process of being sold to hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen, who is currently a minority owner in the team.

Why it matters: This would represent a massive change in the landscape of New York sports and a new chapter for the beloved, if troubled, Mets franchise.

  • "It would also be the biggest step in the re-emergence of Mr. Cohen. ... [He] was a major figure in New York society and the art world when his fund became embroiled in a series of insider trading investigations that began after 2009," per NYT.
  • "He was never charged with wrongdoing, but his firm ultimately paid nearly $2 billion in fines and he agreed not to manage outside money for two years."

The state of play: Current owner Fred Wilpon, 83, would continue to serve as chairman for five years and his son, Jeff, would remain chief operating officer for that same time.

  • Fred bought half the team in 1980, and the other half in 2002. Cohen bought a minority stake in 2012, as the Wilpons struggled to recover from losses suffered in Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme.

Go deeper: Small cities fight back against MLB proposal to cut minor league teams

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When a sports team is a media investment

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Sports teams have historically been a bauble for billionaires, traded infrequently between each other for stratospheric valuations that often make little economic sense.

Exhibit A: Hedge fund manager Steve Cohen is looking to spend $2 billion of his personal cash to buy a controlling stake in the New York Mets.

Go deeperArrowDec 5, 2019

Marvin Miller, Ted Simmons elected into Baseball Hall of Fame

Marvin Miller, speaking in 1972. Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images

Last night, the Baseball Hall of Fame announced that groundbreaking union leader Marvin Miller and former catcher Ted Simmons were voted into Cooperstown by the 16-person Modern Era Committee.

The big picture: Miller was head of the MLBPA from 1966 to 1982, leading the union through five work stoppages, overseeing the birth of free agency and bringing team owners to the table to hammer out professional sports' first collective bargaining agreement.

Go deeperArrowDec 9, 2019

MLB's plan to overhaul its minor league system

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As part of MLB's desire to overhaul the minor league system and streamline player development, it wants to sever its parent-club relationship with 42 minor league teams, entirely eliminating some and reorganizing others into a lower-quality "Dream League."

Why it matters: Major league clubs currently provide and pay for the farm club's players and staff, leaving the minor league organization to cover things like fields, equipment and travel.

Go deeperArrowDec 11, 2019 - Sports