Less than three months after they attempted to get Philadelphia 76ers employees to take a pay cut because of the economic impacts of COVID-19, Joshua Harris and David Blitzer appear to have found the money to purchase a majority stake in a third professional sports team.
According to Scott Soshnick of Variety, Harris and Blitzer are at the front of a group that is interested in buying the New York Mets.
In March, Harris and Blitzer asked full-time employees of the Sixers to take a 20 percent paycut, suggesting that this would help to offset the losses from the COVID-19-forced suspension to the 2019-20 season and help the organization to continue to pay all of it’s hourly employees. However, after widespread backlash – and Joel Embiid offering to personally make up large chunk of that difference himself – Harris and Blitzer changed their mind and decided that they wouldn’t ask for paycuts.
Harris – who also is the majority owner of the New Jersey Devils and owns a share of the English Premier League team Crystal Palace – is estimated by Forbes to be worth $5 billion. That he and Blitzer would have interest in buying a baseball team isn’t especially shocking. The optics of jumping into the fray just months after suggesting they had no choice but to ask employees to take a pay cut, well, they aren’t great.
It’s unclear at this time exactly how aggressive Harris and Blitzer plan to be with their bid. Forbes estimates that the Mets are worth $2.4 billion. Late in 2019, the Wilpon family, who currently own the Mets, struck a deal with Steve Cohen to buy 80 percent of the team for $2.6 billion, with the stipulation that Cohen wouldn’t truly become the controlling owner of the team for five seasons. The deal ultimately fell through.
Still, it appears as though the embattled ownership group in Queens plans to sell the team. If Harris and Blitzer move forward with their attempt to buy the team, they could face competition from Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez, who according to Thornton McEnery of The New York Post are “working closely with very senior bankers at JPMorgan Chase” in their attempt to purchase the Mets.
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