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What will your $20 million get you if you buy into the Mets?

Dec 21, 2011, 8:15 AM EST

Rich and Famous

As we know, the Wilpons are selling off minority stakes in the New York Mets. They want multiple investors to give them $20 million a pop for a non-controlling interest.

Now, anyone familiar with close corporations knows that having that kind of stake in such a business — especially a family business — is an exercise in powerlessness. You have no say in just about anything. The draw of such an investment is that you’ll either (a) get some good cash flow out of it; or (b) your stake will appreciate nicely. And neither of those two things seem likely any time soon with the Mets.

So why would you invest? Well, Richard Sandomir of the New York Times tells us today. Among your ownership perks:

… the $20 million would include one free trip with the team during the regular season (the Mets would pick the city); one free weekend’s stay at spring training; and a lot of potential lunch dates — with broadcasters and former players. A luncheon with the manager and general manager? Off-season only, the document says. Merchandise? Discounts, but not giveaways.

So if a midweek trip to Houston, an all-expenses paid stay at the Holiday Inn Express in Port St. Lucie, an in-season lunch with Wally Backman, an offseason lunch with Terry Collins and deep discounts on an R.A. Dickey bobblehead all sound enticing to you, by all means, give Fred Wilpon that extra $20 million you have laying around.

  1. purnellmeagrejr - Dec 21, 2011 at 8:23 AM

    I believe it was Paperlions that described these as “Vanity Shares;” I certainly can’t think of a better way to describe them. Why would anyone want to bail out the WIlpon’s? I think buying a good mirror and maybe even hiring a few toadies would be more cost effective.

  2. brockw82 - Dec 21, 2011 at 8:28 AM

    Um, if you are part owner, why wouldn’t you get anything you wanted for free or travel with the team whenever you wanted?

    • derekjetersmansion - Dec 21, 2011 at 2:57 PM

      Because the Wilpons are nuts.

  3. mcsnide - Dec 21, 2011 at 8:45 AM

    Or you could just buy a Packers “share” for $250 and also be a professional sports team “owner.”

    • kopy - Dec 21, 2011 at 9:01 AM

      No need for quotation marks in that sentence.

      • umrguy42 - Dec 21, 2011 at 10:32 AM

        Actually, I think mcsnide is referring to the most recent sale, which really doesn’t give people power, as far as I could tell – it was about raising money for stadium renovations (mind you, not a bad way to do it), but it doesn’t appreciate in value, and I don’t think it gives you a real vote on the team. http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/12/06/packers-non-stock-stock-is-for-sale-for-only-the-fifth-time/

      • notdumb - Dec 21, 2011 at 2:54 PM

        actually it does need quotation marks. every sports team has a fan club but every team doesn’t have a bunch of inbred hick fans stupid enough to pay 250 bucks to join

  4. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Dec 21, 2011 at 8:47 AM

    Craig, you forgot to mention your biggest perk as a minority owner of the Mets. You get to watch most of your $20 million slowly circle the drain during the bankruptcy process.

  5. franklapidus316 - Dec 21, 2011 at 8:52 AM

    The $20 million pays for itself, you get First Call on Lenny Dykstra’s investment advice.

  6. indyralph - Dec 21, 2011 at 8:55 AM

    “The draw of such an investment is that you’ll either (a) get some good cash flow out of it; or (b) your stake will appreciate nicely”

    I know times are tough, so there may not be many folks around with extra money to invest. I’m fortunate to have a small fraction of $20M, and I can promise you that there is no investment available to me that has both (a) and (b) with the kind of certainty that professional sports franchises have shown over the previous two decades. It won’t be immediate cash flow or appreciation, but wise investors with lots of cash look specifically for opportunities where short term problems allow buying opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise exist (see Buffet, Warren). The real problem is, and Pancho suggests, handing over $20M to a dope who fell for a Ponzi scheme.

  7. jimatkins - Dec 21, 2011 at 8:59 AM

    $20 million is an awful lot of vanity. Do the Wilpons really think anybody will fall for this? I mean, this seems like “Give us a large pile of cash and watch the really pretty bonfire we’ll have!”. The craptasticness of the whole idea is mindboggling.

  8. stex52 - Dec 21, 2011 at 9:00 AM

    Seems like season tickets for about $40,000 (guessing on the number), a couple of Southwest Airlines flights, and you probably have most of the advantages. On that basis you could watch the Mets for 500 years before you invested 20 MM$ (that must be an existentialist’s definition of hell).

    BTW Craig, cut Houston a little slack. The summer weather is awful, but if you like great restaurants and full employment and don’t mind lousy sports teams (for the moment) it’s a pretty good place to be.

  9. rooney24 - Dec 21, 2011 at 9:22 AM

    Where are all the people that were yelling how dumb the Packer stock sale was?

    While I can understand that someone might pay the $250 to call yourself a Packer owner, $20 million is something different entirely. Is this just a test to see if they can find rich people that aren’t very bright? People that worked hard to earn their millions and/or made some discovery/invention should be smart enough to avoid this. But, someone that just fell into the money (inheritance?) might not be frugal/smart enough to avoid this?

    Just think, if former NBA player Latrell Sprewell hadn’t turned down his final offer of 2 years for $28 million, because it was an insult and he had to “feed his family”, maybe he could blow that money on a share of the Mets.

  10. sdelmonte - Dec 21, 2011 at 9:29 AM

    The question is, when the Wilpons sell, how much more will the $20 million investor get? Is there a way to guarantee that they will make a profit even if in the end the debt-riddled Wilpons don’t?

    • Kevin S. - Dec 21, 2011 at 10:41 AM

      If I understand the terms of the contract involved on these stakes, they’re guaranteed three percent interest. That would be paid out to them before the Wilpons got their share, I would think.

  11. phukyouk - Dec 21, 2011 at 9:34 AM

    “What will your $20 million get you if you buy into the Mets?”

    Part of Jason Bay’s left arm i think…

  12. yankeesfanlen - Dec 21, 2011 at 10:05 AM

    We’ve had “mystery teams”, now we have “mystery investors”. I’ll believe it when I hear reports of the Wilpons sauntering down the street with BofA ATM receipts dangling from their pockets.

  13. birdman6824 - Dec 21, 2011 at 11:10 AM

    Or you could buy a share of the Indianapolis Indians (AAA) for $25,000. My dad has one share, bought in 1957? for $10, purchased 4/5 of a new share in 1988? due to a stock recall/new issue for @$95, now has one of @ 880 shares, current offer from the club is $25,000 to buy stock back – dividend for 2011 was $350

  14. pellypell - Dec 21, 2011 at 12:53 PM

    This should be considered a tax deductible donation considering the money is going to a “non profit” organization.

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