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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In an effort to expand the pool of potential team buyers, the NFL, NBA and MLB are considering drastic changes to how business is done.

Why it matters: Team valuations have skyrocketed in recent years, creating a dearth of individuals wealthy enough to buy the next teams put up for sale.

1. The NFL is considering increasing the amount of money that prospective owners can borrow from $350 million to $1 billion.

  • The backdrop: The catalyst for this change appears to be the Panthers' sale to David Tepper last summer. Despite one group outbidding him, Tepper was the only one with enough cash upfront to do the deal, which led to him paying less than what the market expected.
  • The bottom line: This change would add more potential buyers to the mix, while also helping to ensure that valuations continue to rise by increasing competition.

2. The NBA is mulling the creation of an investment vehicle that would buy minority ownership stakes across multiple teams.

  • What they're saying: "Being a passive sports team owner is really being the person who pays the most for good seats. But owning a portfolio could be appealing for long-term money, and it's only a matter of time before we get a league-managed or third-party fund/marketplace for these interests," writes Axios' Dan Primack.

3. MLB has altered its rules to allow investment funds to buy limited stakes in multiple franchises.

  • What they're saying: "Traditionally, baseball owners have been wealthy individuals, but the new policy could bring in cash from Wall Street firms and college endowments," writes Bloomberg's Scott Soshnick.

Go deeper: NBA mulling an investment fund for team equity

Go deeper

9 mins ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.