Former baseball player Alex Rodriguez and entertainment icon Jennifer Lopez are raising money to buy a stake in the NY Mets. According to Variety, the power couple is working with JPMorgan Chase to raise capital for a possible bid.
J-Lo and A-Rod are hardly the first suitors for the New York Mets. But with MLB on pause due to the coronavirus and debt payments due on Citi Field, they may be the best last hope for the Mets’ longtime owners, the Wilpon family.
J-Lo and A-Rod Bid Could Disappoint Mets Fans
Mets fans have been down this road before. In 2011, a potential deal with hedge fund manager David Einhorn hit the skids. Apparently, the Wilpons were reluctant to cede control of the team.
In December, hedge fund manager Steve Cohen was negotiating to buy the Mets. By February, the deal was dead. Again, it appeared the Wilpons wanted majority interest money without giving up majority control of the team.
Just after the Cohen deal fell through, the New York Post reported the rumor that controversial ex-Yankee, Alex Rodriguez, was entertaining a Mets bid. Discussing the rumor on “The Tonight Show” on March 9, A-Rod said, “If the opportunity came up, I would certainly look at it.”
.@AROD reveals he would be interested in buying the @Mets #FallonTonight pic.twitter.com/FTCxSXNIrM
— The Tonight Show (@FallonTonight) March 10, 2020
Although it now appears the rumor is true, Mets fans know this is likely to end one of two ways. Either the deal falls through or J-Lo and A-Rod become Mets owners in name only. Unfortunately, the latter would mean Mets fans won’t have seen the last of the Wilpons.
Team Spending Could Still Be an Issue
The Wilpons have been strapped for cash for some time now. As a result, the Mets’ budget has been relatively meager for a big city team. Its 2020 active roster payroll ranks tenth behind teams like the Yankees, Astros, Cubs, and Dodgers.
Mets fans loved the idea of a Steve Cohen-run team. With a net worth of north of $10 billion, Cohen’s pockets are deep. He’s spent more money on a single painting than the Mets spent on their entire active roster payroll. So fans knew they could count on Cohen to drop big bucks for talent. But the team’s newest potential buyers may not have that luxury.
Combined, J-Lo’s and A-Rod’s net worth is shy of $1 billion, which means they need outside financing to buy a stake in the Mets. Accordingly, they are working with Eric Mernell at JPMorgan Chase to scare up additional investors. Finding investors won’t be easy during the global pandemic, however, as the world’s stock markets have taken a beating in recent months. As a result, willing investors may be few and far between until MLB restarts or, at least, settles on a final plan to begin the 2020 season in one form or another.