SBD/March 12, 2012/Franchises

John Moores Reluctantly Retains Majority Ownership Of Padres For Another Season

Moorad withdrew application to buy team to expedite 20-year TV deal with FS San Diego
Padres Chair John Moores said that it "isn't the way he wants it to be but he's fine with being the majority owner of the Padres for another season," according to Nick Canepa of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. Padres Vice Chair & CEO Jeff Moorad Friday withdrew his application to purchase the team "to expedite the 20-year TV deal" with FS San Diego as the season approaches. Moores said, "This was a done deal a long time ago. We were getting ready to celebrate our success. But it’s not the worst situation in the world to sit in the owner’s seat from time to time for another season -- though I am conflicted about it, no question.” Moorad and his partners own 49% of the Padres and although they "still have two years under their agreement to purchase the remainder of the franchise, it was thought the deal would be done in January." For whatever reason -- Moorad, due to his "days as an agent, is said to be unpopular with some baseball owners -- the transaction was tabled." Now it "really appears to be on the back burner." Moores said, "There are some old wounds, some relating to philosophy on how baseball teams should be run. I quit guessing sometime back. We decided to focus on the fact that we have to get the TV deal done before everything else and we’re hoping to get it done next week" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 3/10).

In San Diego, Tim Sullivan wrote the "percentage play in Moorad’s pursuit of the Home Team may be to sit tight and show sincerity: to close the game-changing television deal with Fox Sports and plow the proceeds into player payroll and improvements to Petco Park; to prove he’s committed for the long haul and not the quick buck; to use his time productively while waiting for the wind to shift." Moorad's decision to "pull back his application to acquire controlling interest in the Padres is most easily read as a strategic withdrawal in the face of entrenched opposition and certain defeat." MLB sources continue to "question Moorad’s ability to secure the required approval of 22 owners over the objections of the influential" White Sox Chair Jerry Reinsdorf and D'Backs Managing Partner Ken Kendrick, who was Moorad’s partner in Arizona. Though Friday’s maneuver "certainly sends a distress signal, it does not necessarily mean Moorad has surrendered" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 3/10). In California, Jay Paris wrote the main storyline that has derailed the Moores-Moorad transaction is that MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and other owners "have been privy to something we haven't been: the Padres' financial books, and just how much dough the new guys have." The focus on the "prospective ownership group is the short-pockets of Moorad and his gaggle of investors." What is "disappointing is the Padres fans having ownership in this team -- not to mention the citizens' $300 million funding of Petco Park -- are starting a season under a cloud of doubt" (NORTH COUNTY TIMES, 3/11).
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