Photo of Miami Marlins players inside the dugout at Marlins Park.

Image Credit: Elizabeth Gilbert (CC BY 2.0)

Jeffrey Loria, owner of Major League Baseball's Miami Marlins, is currently in discussions with outside investors about potentially selling the team. Interested parties include Joshua Kushner, a venture capitalist from New York City and brother-in-law to Ivanka Trump. Kushner along with Joshua Meyer, another in-law, would purchase the team along with other investors that have yet to be named.

There is no set timetable for the transaction, however, Loria has expressed interest in selling the Marlins in the past. Solamere Capital, a private investment firm in Boston, had previously expressed interest in purchasing the team. The sale would net Loria, a former art dealer from New York City, nearly $1.6 billion. Loria only paid $158 million for the Miami Marlins back in 2002. The original purchase was made with a $38 million loan and the $120 million Loria made from selling his stake in the Montreal Expos. The Montreal Expos have since relocated to Washington, DC and are now the Washington Nationals.

Baseball fans in the Miami area would love to see Jeffrey Loria sell the team. Since Loria took the reigns in 2002, the Miami Marlins have had just five winning seasons, including the 2003 World Series Championship. Despite rebranding the team's name and colors and debuting at a brand new ballpark in 2012, the Miami Marlins have still continued their losing ways. Marlins Park often boasts some of the lowest attendance numbers in Major League Baseball. The average attendance for a Marlins home game during the 2016 Major League Baseball season was just over 20,000 people. 

So what exactly is driving up the asking price for a losing team that Forbes values at less than $700 million? For Major League Baseball as a whole, it's been a combination of revenue sharing, TV rights deals and new ballparks with club seating and additional amenities. There is a ton of financial upside if the right ownership group could come in and turn the franchise into a winner. Let's not forget that the Miami Marlins have won two World Series Championships (1997, 2003) since debuting as an expansion team in 1993. Many Major League Baseball organizations would be happy with two championships every 24 years. However, 2003 marks the last time the Miami Marlins made the MLB playoffs and Loria, a new owner at the time, had little to due with the success of that season.

Moving forward, the Miami Marlins organization had better be able to prove that baseball makes financial sense in South Florida. If not, Major League Baseball might eventually apply pressure and feel more comfortable with teams in unexplored markets like Nashville, Tennessee or Charlotte, North Carolina.




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