Monday, March 12, 2012

Mets Dependant Upon Season Ticket Sales To Avoid Bankruptcy?

In a Sunday post to Forbes.com, Mike Ozanian wrote about new Mets minority owner Steven Cohen.  Cohen, a billionair hedge fund manager has more than one affiliation within Major League Baseball right now.  In addition to purchasing one of the Mets $20 million dollar ownership stakes, he is amongst the bidders for the bankrupt Los Angeles Dodgers.

The article, which is mainly about Cohen himself, does state the following about the Mets:

Over the past two months, as Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz have been slashing their team’s payroll and looking for nickels and dimes in every nook and cranny, the only investor not affiliated with the Mets who has offered to help keep the team afloat has been Cohen, offering $20 million for a 4% stake. The Mets are praying that their season ticket sales will look good enough by the end of April that they can restructure $430 million of debt due in two years. If not, two sports bankers familiar with the team’s finances I have spoken with believe it is likely the Mets will follow the Dodgers into Chapter 11. But at least Cohen is offering the Mets a temporary lifeline. Selig owes Cohen one for that.
Interesting stuff from a very reputable website and the first time that we've really heard that the fate of the Wilpon ownership group in the short term may not be directly tied to the Madoff lawsuit.

How season ticket sales tie in with the ability to restructure the organization's debt is an issue of equity (I'm assuming)? Or possibly the necessity to show a positive business model? I'm honestly not sure, but I am curious to see what other information might become available as the New York media seeks to confirm these sources.

Once again more questions than answers when it comes to the Wilpons, but one thing remains clear...The Wilpons and the New York Mets have a mountain of financial turmoil to wade through before things return to normal.

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