MIAMI (CBSMiami) – With Spring Training just days away, there could be some big news surrounding the Miami Marlins.
Forbes is reporting that a handshake deal is in place that would see the Marlins sold for a whopping $1.6 billion (that’s billion with a ‘B’), according to team president David Samson.
Current owner Jeffrey Loria, who is one of the least popular sports figures in South Florida history, bought the team in 2002 for $158 million.
Since then he has added a new ballpark that cost taxpayers $639 million. The Marlins have yet to enjoy a winning season since moving into Marlins Park, which certainly has played a role in keeping attendance numbers low.
Last season Miami had the lowest average attendance in the National League, drawing 21,405 per game, and even that number seems large to anyone who did show up for games and saw all the empty seats.
The only information about the potential buyer is that he is a real estate developer based in New York City.
ESPN is reporting that real estate mogul Charles Kushner is part of a group a potential purchase group.
Kushner is father-in-law to Ivanka Trump, daughter of newly elected President Donald Trump.
His son, Jared Kushner, is the Senior Advisor to President Trump.
It is not known however if Kushner’s group is the same one referenced in the Forbes article or if he is part of another group looking to purchase the team.
Per Forbes, the hangup in the deal is that the buyer does not have the liquid funds to complete the purchase. With much of his money tied up in real estate, it would up to Major League Baseball to allow this buyer the amount of debt it would likely take to buy the team.
That doesn’t mean it won’t happen, but it’s certainly something to keep in mind.
CBS4 caught up with Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto who was at the Florida Panthers game Thursday night. He didn’t offer much insight on the potential deal.
“We know about as much as you guys do,” he said.
As for the Marlins, the team is considered by many as one on the rise.
With a solid lineup and strong bullpen, Miami could be a playoff contender in 2017 and beyond.