Toronto Blue Jays, Denver Broncos And More Sports Teams Could Be For Sale: Will A SPAC Land A Deal?

Ownership of sports teams has often been limited to the wealthy or family members who inherited the team. A handful of sports teams are publicly traded, offering investors the opportunity to buy shares in the company.

A handful of sales have happened across the four major U.S. sports over the last year. Two more teams are potentially on the block.

Could a SPAC targeting the sports industry and team ownership land a stake in a professional sports team?

Sports Teams For Sale: Among the newest sports teams put up for sale are the Toronto Blue Jays of Major League Baseball and the Denver Broncos of the National Football League.

A sale of the Toronto Blue Jays could be put on hold given the league entering a lockout. The team is currently owned by Rogers Communications Inc. RCI, a leading telecommunications and media company in Canada.

Rogers is exploring selling a stake in the Blue Jays and the team’s stadium. A sale is happening to help the company pay down debt as it works to close its acquisition of Shaw Communications SJR.

The company said in early November it was looking for ways to monetize the Blue Jays and Rogers Centre.

The Blue Jays and stadium could be worth around $2 billion combined, according to sources. A sale of the team or stake in the team has been rumored for years but has never been completed by the company.

Given the need to raise money and lower debt for the acquisition of Shaw, a deal could be much more likely than in years past. Rogers could sell a minority stake or spin off the team as a separate company.

Rogers also owns a 37.5% stake in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Toronto Raptors (NBA), Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL) and other sports assets. This stake was not part of the sale talks, according to sources.

The Denver Broncos could also find themselves on the sales block, in a rare sale of a National Football League team.

Only the Carolina Panthers and Buffalo Bills have seen controlling stakes sold in the last nine years. The Broncos are valued at $3.8 billion by Sportico, ranking 11th in the league. The record valuation for a sale in a U.S. sports team is the Brooklyn Nets (NBA) valued at $3.3 billion in a 2019 sale.

The Broncos find themselves at the discretion of a battle over ownership after Patrick D. Bowlen passed away in 2019 and his trust failed to name a controlling owner. Bowlen has seven children with none named as the team’s decision-makers, which is a league requirement. Each child owns 11% of the team, with some seeking a sale and others wanting to keep the team in the family.

There are also reports the NBA's Phoenix Suns could be up for sale with the current owner Robert Sarver facing allegations of racism and misogyny. 

Related Link: 6 Sports SPACs To Consider For Your Investing Playbook 

Sports SPACs: Sports team ownerships are often limited to the wealthy. The publicly traded sports teams like Madison Square Garden Sports Corp MSGS and the Liberty Braves Group BATRA offer limited ownership to public shareholders.

The NFL features the publicly-traded Green Bay Packers, but shares act more ceremonial as they aren’t on an exchange and can’t go up in value.

RedBall Acquisition Corp RBAC was previously linked to acquire a stake in the Boston Red Sox, but ultimately missed out.

Other sports SPACs have targeted sports team ownership as a possible sector in their prospectus.

Some mentioned by SPAC expert Julian Klymochko on Twitter that could be in play are Slam Corp SLAM, Argus Capital Corp ARGU, Goal Acquisitions Corp PUCK and Sports Ventures Acquisition Corp AKIC.

Slam Corp is backed by Alex Rodriguez, who was part of a team that bought the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves this year.

Bull Horn Holdings BHSE is targeting the sports sector including teams, but is on the smaller side of SPACs.

Iconic Sports Acquisition Corp, which still trades as units ICNCU, is targeting the global sports industry and listed a focus on iconic business, including sports franchises in its filing.

A sports SPAC could attempt to acquire a controlling interest in a professional sports team, but it is also possible it would be a smaller stake. The idea of a sports SPAC acquiring a team could also face a bidding war with billionaires with big pockets. 

Former Walt Disney Co DIS CEO Bog Iger is rumored to be interested in acquiring a sports team., Inc. AMZN founder Jeff Bezos and musician Jay-Z have also been linked to sports team ownership. 

Photo: RIchard Ha via Flickr

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Posted In: M&ANewsSportsTop StoriesTrading IdeasGeneralAlex RodriguezAtlanta Bravesdenver broncosJulian Klymochkopublic sports teamsSPACSPACsSports StocksToronto Blue Jays
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