On the cusp of changing its name, Cleveland’s MLB team may also have an ownership change on the horizon.
Chairman and CEO Paul Dolan is on the hunt for a minority owner who could eventually take majority control of the team. Dolan co-owns the team with his father, Lawrence Dolan (uncle to New York Knicks and Rangers owner James Dolan).
The team is looking to sell 30% to 40% of the team at a $1.4 billion valuation. Forbes valued the team at $1.16 billion in March.
- Most of the stake would be what was previously owned by Kansas City businessman John Sherman — close to 30% — plus some of Paul Dolan’s stake. Sherman had been in line to eventually acquire the Cleveland team when he pivoted to the Kansas City Royals.
- Sherman’s stake has been in escrow since he purchased the Royals for $1 billion in 2019.
- The Dolan family purchased the team for $323 million in 2000.
A potential complication in the sale is the timeline in which a buyer could take minority control. The Dolan family could reportedly retain control for at least five years — potentially longer than some investors want to wait.
The team is in the process of finalizing its name change to the Cleveland Guardians, which involves resolving a legal dispute with a roller derby team with the same name.
It is also awaiting city approval on a 15-year stadium lease with two five-year options that would end any question of the team’s relocation.