Loria to Sell the Marlins: What We Know, Current Value and Future Potential

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By Tiffany Grau, @tiffany_grau (ODU)

With new owners, the Marlins could have a bright future. Photo via Wikipedia

With new owners, the Marlins could have a bright future. Photo via Wikipedia

Jeffrey Loria is rumored to be in talks with potential investors about the selling the Miami Marlins according to Barry Jackson, a sports writer for the Miami Herald. 

But what are the details of the sale and what does this mean for all parties involved?

Here is a short timeline of what we know so far: 

·       2002 – Jeffrey Loria purchases the Marlins for $158 million

·       2003 – The Marlins win their second World Series title

·       2012 – Loria talks his way into the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County’s checkbooks and receives a taxpayer-funded stadium.  This stadium cost taxpayers $634 million

·       2017 – Rumors of potential investors interested in purchasing the Marlins who are now valued between $1.2 – $1.6 billion

Glancing at this snapshot of Loria’s ownership of the Marlins, we can see just how lucrative owning an MLB team can be, if you make the right moves.  

The Current Value of the Marlins

The value of the team, if we assume that the high end of the valuation is true, has jumped 912% in just 15 years.  Usually, the value of the team increases due to its success on the field and the contracts that it owns on its athletes, but this is not true in the Marlins case.  The Marlins may have won their second World Series title in 2003, but after the teams win, Loria sold off all of its best and highest paid athletes (assets), and have yet to make a post-season appearance since.

If the increased value of the team is not due to the player's performance on the field, then that leaves the only other asset it has, a brand new $634 million taxpayer-funded stadium that the Marlins received in 2012.

Rumored Investors

In an article published by Forbes on February 9, 2017, “two sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that Miami Marlins president David Samson said that there is a $1.6 billion “handshake agreement” for the MLB team,” but the identity of the potential buyer was not revealed at that time.

Later in the week, we learned that Joshua Kushner, son of Charles Kushner, was the potential buyer in the “handshake deal” to purchase the Marlins.

The deal, if there ever was one, between Kushner and Loria has since fallen through, but the Marlins are actively engaged in discussions with other potential buyers.

As of April 19, two of those potential buyers are Jeb Bush and Derek Jeter.  According to an article written in the Miami Herald, the former Florida governor and retired New York Yankees SS have teamed up to try and purchase the Marlins. 

Future Potential

At the end of the day, owning, running and maintaining a sports team is a business.  It all comes down to benefits vs. costs, creating and maintaining productive relationships with your employees and developing a brand that will retain a loyal fan base.

Loria has done a great job of creating wealth for himself, but he has done so at the expense of the City of Miami, Miami-Dade County, his employees and most importantly the fans.

The Marlins may be valued at $1.6 billion now, but I strongly believe that with new ownership, the Marlins have the potential to be so much more than a bag of money for top management and the shell of a team they have become.

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