The rumor, if true, would have broken New York Twitter. But, no luck, Metsies.
The rumor started Friday night. Ex-Net Mason Plumlee, an investor in the Alex Rodriguez-led effort to buy the Mets from the Wilpons, wrote on his personal site that Joe Tsai, already owner of the Nets, Liberty and Barclays Center, had joined the A-Rod group!!
In a statement about the status of the group’s bid, Plumlee wrote on masonplumee.com ...
“And spoiler alert: we’ve now got another billionaire sports owner in the mix as a partner — Joe Tsai — who brings our collective net worth to the top of the bid list.”
The inclusion of Tsai would have been a big boost to the A-Rod bid (which Bradley Beal has also joined). Despite all of its celebrity power, the leading competitive bid has the backing of a recognized multi-billionaire, investor Steve Cohen, One of the criticisms of the A-Rod bid is that it isn’t sufficiently capitalized. Cohen, according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index, is worth $10 billion while Tsai’s net work tops $13 billion.
The euphoria among fans of both the Nets and Mets fans was short-lived. Brian Lewis put the kabosh on it not long after Plumlee’s post.
There are reports out there that #Nets owner - and Alibaba co-founder - Joe Tsai has joined the A-Rod group trying to buy the #Mets. But I’m told he’s not involved, and isn’t part of A-Rod’s group. #nym #nba #mlb— Brian Lewis (@NYPost_Lewis) July 18, 2020
Then, an hour after that, Tsai himself retweeted a NetsDaily post about the consequences if Plumee’s statement had been accurate.
Sorry Twitter, it is not true. I grew up as a Mets fan and I have a lot of respect for Alex and Jennifer. But I’m not involved in bidding for the Mets. Gotta focus on basketball. https://t.co/lX3C4sWnJk— Joe Tsai (@joetsai1999) July 18, 2020
Plumlee late removed the sentence about Tsai from his post.
So why wouldn’t Tsai, who’s spent three and a half BILLION dollars on his New York sports acquisitions and is doing quite well, thank you very much, want to add an MLB franchise?
Lewis explained one issue would be the inherent conflict of owning the biggest piece of SNY while your two pro basketball teams are carried on YES ... which once again is owned by the Yankees.
A potential complication could have arisen should Tsai have joined A-Rod’s bid, as the Nets play on YES Network and the Mets play on the rival SNY.
“The Nets have a relationship with YES Network [Yankees] and that relationship is [their] priority,” a source said.
Interestingly, Plumlee also wrote that having a multi-billionaire like Cohen is no guarantee of success for a sports franchise. He spoke from experience.
“I learned a few important lessons about team ownership in Brooklyn. We had big money backing and at the time the highest payroll in league history. And while I wouldn’t trade my rookie year with KG, Paul Pierce, Joe Johnson, D-Will, Jet and J-Kidd for anything, it was far from successful. We spent much of the year hovering around .500 and got knocked out in the second round of the playoffs. Prokhorov went all in and compromised the franchise’s foreseeable future for a roster that was past its prime.
“The point is, having a multi-billionaire as your owner doesn’t guarantee success. It really helps to have someone, and ideally a team of people that can create a culture and environment to allow players to thrive and realize their full potential individually and collectively. That’s a big reason why I believe in our group and the people driving the deal.
So, Mets fans will have to wait to see who takes over from the Wilpons. But it won’t be Joe Tsai. Would Tsai be interested in other sports properties? No doubt. In 2018, he was part of a failed bid for the Carolina Panthers. In addition to his New York properties, Tsai is the principal owner of the San Diego Seals in the National Lacrosse League, a part owner of the FC LA in Major League Soccer and a big investor in the Premier Lacrosse League.
- Joe Tsai shoots down Alex Rodriguez, Mets ownership rumor - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets owner Joe Tsai says he’s not joining Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez’s bid to buy the Mets - New York Daily News