An ownership group led by retired New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter former Florida governor Jeb Bush has won an auction to buy the Miami Marlins, according to reports.
Though the sale, which was first reported by Bloomberg, has yet to be confirmed by the ownership group or Major League Baseball, the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson states that the team will be bought from New York art dealer Jeff Loria for $1.3 billion, pending league approval. Forbes values the Marlins at $940 million.
Other bidders for the Marlins included a group that contained former All-Star pitcher Tom Glavine, and a group that included the Kushner family, who are related by marriage to President Donald Trump.
If the sale goes through, Jeb would become the second Bush to get into the baseball business, as his brother, George W. Bush, was former owner of the Texas Rangers. Jeter, who created the player-run sports blog The Players’ Tribune after ending his 20-season career with the Yankees in 2014, has said he wanted to continue a career in baseball by owning a team.
The sale brings to an end a turbulent chapter for the Marlins, who have not reached the postseason since winning their second World Series title in 2003 when they were called the Florida Marlins.
The year before, Loria bought the team for $158 million. In 2012, Loria and the Marlins opened a new stadium which was paid in part by the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County, who provided $155 million towards construction.
But after the team finished last in their division that year, the Marlins traded away several of their top players in an effort to drastically reduce the team’s payroll. The trade, combined with the use of public money to build Marlins Park, earned Loria sharp criticism from sportswriters and Marlins fans alike, with a 2012 poll of South Florida baseball fans giving Loria an approval rating of six percent.
The sale requires an approval from MLB owners, who will be meeting in New York in May.