Thursday, March 3, 2011

Would You Rather Own The Mets Or Rays?

Unless your mysterious uncle recently passed away and you inherited all of his Nazi gold, you probably can't afford to buy an MLB franchise or even a stake in one. But the Mets have some shares available and investors are lining up. The most recent rumor is about a group that includes a minority owner of the Tampa Bay Rays.
Starker’s consortium includes Kenny Dichter, a co-founder of Marquis Jet, a company that pioneered the fractional private jet card concept; and Doug Ellin, the creator of “Entourage,” the HBO series; and Randy Frankel, a minority owner of the Rays.

The group’s interest in the Mets was first reported by The New York Post, but the Rays connection was not known until now.

Frankel would sell his share in the Rays should his group’s bid for the Mets be successful, people with knowledge of the investment group said.
Which leads us to the title of this post. Would you rather own, even partially, the Mets or the Rays? I guess it depends on which camp you fall into.

1. Straight Cash Homey
Despite the Wilpons affection for Ponzi schemes, the Mets are the third most valuable MLB team at $858 million according to Forbes. But the Mets aren't exactly on stable ground right now, hence the opportunity to buy in, and they even took a $25 million loan from MLB last season. When the ship is righted though, a stake in the Mets would likely help line your designer pockets.

On the other hand, the Rays only top the A's and Pirates in cash value. Hopefully, a new stadium is on the way and fans won't have to cross that dreaded bridge. The Rays get good ratings for televised games so the fan base is there. Money can be made just not at the New York market level.

2. Championship Bling
The Rays play in the toughest division in all the land but they're being run by an incredible braintrust. Aside from passing on Buster Posey, they draft, trade and sign at a brilliant level. With a deep farm system and franchise corner stones already in place, the Rays figure to contend for the foreseeable future.

The Mets also play in a tough division with the Phillies and Braves at the top and the Marlins and Nats on the upswing. The Mets don't have loads of talent to count on in the minors and haven't exactly lit the world on fire with their free agent acumen. Johan Santana isn't the pitcher he used to be, David Wright lost his power, Jose Reyes is about to be a free agent, and they still employ Ollie Perez and Luis Castillo.

So which team would you choose? The big market, potential cash cow or the team with the potential to bring home some rings in the next few years? Personally, I'd stick with the Rays because if I was in that situation, I'd already be plenty rich and winning is fun. Just ask Charlie Sheen.

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