UTK Short 12/31/22
Big Sales Coming in 2023
First time at Under The Knife? Welcome. Hit the subscribe button below and you’ll get notice every time I put up a newsletter. Some of it is free, but subscribe for five bucks a month and you get everything. This newsletter is largely about baseball injuries, but I talk to a lot of people inside the game and that means sometimes, I get something like what you see here.
I didn’t intend to throw together a New Year’s Eve post but then, this happened:
Yeah, nearly a million views (if the new Twitter view thing is to be trusted.) 13 new followers is a bit disappointing and for those sure to ask, zero new subscribers here.
Anyway, the teams from the tweet are the Angels and the Diamondbacks, and it’s related. The Angels have been for sale — or “exploring a sale” in today’s terminology — for a while, largely due to the inability of Arte Moreno to get land concessions. It’s not just a new stadium, but the land development around it that’s the new ask from owners. Anaheim’s situation has been an issue, even creating some political issues, and Moreno after a couple rounds is done.
The Angels have several bidders. Patrick Seong-Shoon, who owns a piece of the Lakers, a hospital system, and the LA Times is leading one group. A Japanese consortium is funding another and wants a good front man. At least one group from minority Dodgers owners is circling a bid, if not actually making one. There’s some smaller characters around, but this is following the typical pattern. They’d like to select one ownership group well ahead of the season due to the unique Shohei Ohtani situation. Sign him, trade him, it needs to be dealt with relatively quickly.
However, one of those groups also took a hard look at another team, the Diamondbacks. They haven’t been openly for sale, but Ken Kendrick has been more frustrated lately, with both a CBA he didn’t love and no luck getting his own stadium. The key there is that the group thinks they could build a stadium, largely on their own dime, with some infrastructure and tax breaks rather than a large payment like most want. Again, this is about land development more than a stadium and Japanese financial firms are often based in the real estate realm.
The Diamondbacks could sell for much less than the Angels, but the NBA Phoenix Suns just sold for $4 billion dollars, so there’s not going to be a big discount for the always rare asset class of “professional sports team.” This is less a Plan B than an opportunity to get in while several teams are potentially for sale. (The Guardians recently sold a minority to majority section to David Blitzer, while the Nationals are also in “exploring a sale” mode. There’s at least one other team, the White Sox, looking for the same type of deal as the Guardians, though that’s been ongoing for years.)
A baseball person I trust suggested the stadium could go on Native land up by Talking Stick. There are tax advantages to building there, but there’s also disadvantages since the land development had to be Native focused and owned. I couldn’t tell whether a location had been picked, but both split politics and a number of smaller municipalities often make these sorts of things both complex and competitive.
We’ll see how both these situations play out, but I expect the Angels to be first, perhaps getting to a preferred bidder ahead of spring training. The Diamondbacks will take longer, if at all, but it bears watching as the Selig-era stadiums start to age and owners look at things like Steve Cohen’s checkbook and the sale price for the Suns.