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Report: Mets Trying to 'Drum Up Interest' in Sale During Coronavirus Hiatus

Blake SchusterCorrespondent IIMarch 27, 2020

FLUSHING, NEW YORK - MARCH 26:  Citi Field is empty on the scheduled date for Opening Day March 26, 2020 in Flushing, New York.  Major League Baseball has postponed the start of its season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and MLB commissioner Rob Manfred recently said the league is
Al Bello/Getty Images

The New York Mets aren't letting Major League Baseball's hiatus stop them from achieving one of their ultimate goals: selling the team.  

While the baseball season remains indefinitely suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Wilpon family, which controls the franchise, continues to seek prospective buyers despite a sharp decline in both the market and interest in the team from some suitors. 

After the sale of the team to Steve Cohen for $2.6 billion fell apart in February, the Wilpons have continued evaluating their options, according to Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic, but with little luck:

"Trying to sell a team in this environment is, to say the least, not ideal. One investment banker who pre-pandemic had two buyers interested, reported they had lost 20 percent of their wealth and had ended their pursuit. [...]

"Does that mean the Mets could be had at a discount, for far less than the $2.6 billion? If the Mets do sell in this environment it's hard to see anything but a dramatically lower price; but if the best-case scenarios occur and the virus recedes and live sports are back in a few months, then the Cohen price could be back in play then."

Kaplan notes one of the big differences from the Cohen deal to the one the Mets are willing to strike now is the immediate transfer of control of the team. Where Cohen would've had to wait out a five-year period before taking charge, the Wilpons are now willing to immediately cede their power over the franchise. 

As for Cohen getting back to the negotiating table for the team, that doesn't seem too likely, either. 

Kaplan reported the hedge fund manager has burned a few bridges with the team and is on the outside looking in of any future sale, unless there is a drastic change in the Wilpons' approach:

"The Mets have long said they don't have to sell (the sale is viewed as the residue of disagreements between the controlling Wilpon family and their limited partners). If they do not need to sell, then it's hard to see why they wouldn't just put the sale on hold until the pandemic passes."  

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