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Report: David Blitzer’s Cleveland Guardians minority investment values franchise at US$1bn

Billionaire set to take 35% stake in MLB team, pending approval.

4 February 2022 Rory Jones

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  • Agreement would reportedly allow Blitzer to take full control of MLB team within five to six years
  • HBSE partner to acquire John Sherman’s 15% stake and 20% of Dolan family’s holding
  • Blitzer recently took joint ownership of MLS’ Real Salt Lake in US$400m deal

David Blitzer’s pending investment in a 35 per cent share of the Cleveland Guardians values the Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise at US$1 billion, according to Forbes.

The deal for Blitzer – who is a partner in the Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment (HBSE) ownership group – to take a minority holding on his own in the Guardians was originally reported by Sportico in December.

The Guardians are majority-owned by the Dolan family, which holds 85 per cent of the franchise’s shares. The remaining 15 per cent is held by Kansas City Royals owner John Sherman. According to Forbes, the potential deal would see Blitzer acquire all of Sherman’s shares, as well as 20 per cent of the Dolan family’s holding.

Having acquired the Royals for US$1 billion in 2019, Sherman has to divest his interest in the Guardians under MLB ownership rules.

According to Forbes, once Blitzer’s initial deal with the Guardians is completed, the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils co-owner will be able to take full control of the MLB team over five to six years. However, such a move would require the approval of at least 22 of the MLB’s 29 other owners.

Blitzer has been adding to his portfolio of sports investments away from HBSE recently. In January he and Qualtrics co-founder Ryan Smith acquired Major League Soccer’s (MLS) Real Salt Lake in a deal reportedly worth US$400 million.

According to Forbes, the Guardians made an operating profit in the range of ‘mid-to-high seven figures’ last year. The franchise also recently extended the lease for their Progressive Field home until 2036 and are planning a state-funded US$435 million renovation of the venue.

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