Cleveland Guardians: David Blitzer nearing deal to own 35% of team
The Cleveland Guardians have been looking for a new minority owner, and they may have finally found one in Philadelphia 76ers/New Jersey Devils minority owner David Blitzer.
It has been no secret that the Dolan family has been on the hunt for a new minority owner of the Cleveland Guardians ever since John Sherman left the organization to purchase the Kansas City Royals in 2019.
And now, the team is reportedly nearing a deal with David Blitzer, part-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils, to purchase about 35% of the team with a path to eventually becoming majority owner. What that actual timeline would be is anyone’s guess; that has always been at Paul Dolan’s discretion and is probably at least part of the reason why Sherman left to buy his hometown Royals.
As for Blitzer, he is the global head of Blackstone’s tactical opportunities group and a member of the firm’s management committee, and is no stranger to the world of sports. He also owns a few European soccer teams and is part of a group in the running to buy Real Salt Lake of MLS. It’s unclear how much Blitzer would have to spend to get his share of the Guardians, but the billionaire clearly has plenty of assets to draw from.
The most recent Forbes valuation of the team was $1.16 billion back in March, but there have been higher estimates since then, and Dolan himself has valued the team at about $1.4 billion, putting Blitzer’s potential investment somewhere in the neighborhood of $490 million.
This isn’t the fist time Blitzer has tried to get into Major League Baseball, either. He and Josh Harris, the majority owner of the Sixers and Devils, were also trying to buy the New York Mets from the Wilpon family before it ultimately went to current owner Steve Cohen, who has so far been spending money on his team like it’s going out of style.
Now that the word is out about the potential deal, Dolan released a statement:
"“While I can confirm meaningful discussions with David Blitzer about purchasing a minority ownership interest in the Cleveland Guardians, we can’t comment any further.”"
Assuming this deal with Blitzer comes to fruition and he becomes a significant minority owner in the team, and eventually the majority owner, it’s important to note that this does not effect the team’s future in Cleveland in any way whatsoever. That is, of course, the first thought of many people, but the recent fifteen-year lease extension at Progressive Field and $435 million in renovations should ease your minds.
More importantly, this infusion of cash to the franchise could very well mean an increase in payroll, which the team has signaled in the past. So while there is a very vocal segment of fans that would prefer to run the Dolan family out of town for not spending enough money, the arrival of Blitzer should help the franchise do just that.