CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Guardians may soon have a new minority stakeholder who could eventually become the club's new owner.
According to a report in Sportico, David Blitzer, who is a part-owner of the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers and NHL's New Jersey Devils, is nearing a deal to acquire approximately 35% of Cleveland's Major League Baseball team.
The deal would also include a path to control for Blitzer, who would eventually take over principal ownership of the Guardians from the Dolan family. However, Sportico points out that the complex negotiation includes equity from at least two places—the Dolans and current Kansas City Royals owner John Sherman—and talks could still fall apart.
"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," said Cleveland Guardians Owner/Chairman/CEO Paul Dolan in a statement to 3News.
Blitzer didn’t immediately respond to a message from Sportico seeking comment.
Last month, The Athletic's Zack Meisel and Daniel Kaplan reported that Dolan retained New York-based investment bank Allen & Co., the same firm that first identified Sherman as an ownership candidate in Cleveland, to sell a 30-40 percent stake in the team.
Sherman, who was a former minority investor in Cleveland, left to take a controlling interest in the Kansas City Royals two years ago. Per MLB rules, individuals are prohibited from owning stakes in multiple franchises, so Sherman must unload all of his Guardians equity.
Paul Dolan took over for his father, Larry Dolan, as the then-Indians' controlling owner in 2013. The Dolan family purchased the franchise from the Jacobs family in 1999 for $323 million.
According to Forbes, the Guardians are currently valued at $1.16 billion. In addition to announcing its new name, which will take effect beginning in 2022, the team announced earlier this year that it has agreed to a new deal to extend Progressive Field's lease in Cleveland through 2036 that included $435 million in renovations for the stadium.
Blitzer's resume includes being the global head of Blackstone’s tactical opportunities group and a member of the firm’s management committee. He is also a partner in Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, the holding company that includes the Sixers, the Devils, the Prudential Center and a series of other sports assets. Blitzer also owns a handful of European soccer teams, and is part of a group that is currently speaking with MLS about buying Real Salt Lake.
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