The celebrity power couple’s interest in buying the team waned after talks with potential business partners failed to yield progress, the New York Post reported citing multiple sources familiar with the matter. The steep asking price posed by the Mets’ current owners, the Wilpon family, also contributed to the decision.
Current Mets ownership is said to be reluctant to sell SportsNet New York, the Mets’ profitable cable network, of which the Wilpon family’s Sterling Equities owns a significant stake. As a result, any attempt to buy both the Mets and SNY would require an ownership group with access to billions of dollars.
“They really think they can sell the team and keep SNY,” a source told the New York Post, referring to the Wilpons. “But the only person to agree to that was Steve Cohen, and we all know how that ended.”
The Mets have sought a buyer ever since an agreement with billionaire Steve Cohen fell apart last December. Cohen agreed to buy an 80 percent stake in the franchise at a $2.6 billion valuation as part of a deal that would have allowed the Wilpons to maintain control of SNY. However, the deal collapsed after Cohen balked at the Wilpons’ plan to maintain operational control of the Mets during a five-year transitional period.
Rodriguez and Lopez hired JPMorgan Chase to assist in their efforts to find partners in a potential acquisition. However, talks with those potential partners, including Long Island-based billionaire Wayne Rathbaum, proved fruitless.
A number of MLB insiders have raised questions about the Mets’ valuation during the coronavirus pandemic. The crisis indefinitely delayed the 2020 MLB season and has cost the league’s 30 teams millions of dollars in lost ticket revenue.
MLB officials are expected to send the MLB Players Association a proposal on a potential restart for the 2020 season within the next week. A cancellation of half of MLB’s typical 162-game schedule, which includes 81 home games, would cost the Mets an estimated $150 million, according to the Post.