SBD/May 30, 2012/Franchises

Phil Mickelson Joins Peter O'Malley Family's Bid To Purchase Padres

Mickelson wants a personal involvement with the players and the community
In disclosing his decision to align himself with former Dodgers Owner Peter O’Malley family’s pursuit to purchase the Padres, golfer Phil Mickelson "made it clear he was bringing his cash as well as his cachet," according to Tim Sullivan of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. Mickelson “wants a piece of the Padres and he comes prepared.” Mickelson said of what he brings to the table, "A lot of my own money. And given the price tag, it’s going to be a significant amount.” Sullivan noted while the endorsement of Baseball HOFer Tony Gwynn “clearly enhances the bid of Hollywood producer Thomas Tull, landing Mickelson brings both street cred and bank cred to the O’Malley family’s efforts.” Mickelson, a San Diego native, said, “Growing up, the Padres were my team and still are. ...  But (recently) I just felt disassociated with the organization a little bit as a fan. I just know I didn’t identify with the players or have an emotional connection.” He added, “Where I want to get involved is I want to get a personal involvement with the players and the community -- personal interaction with fans, more community outreach. I want to create an emotional tie with the players and the community.” Sullivan noted, "At least three other groups have expressed interest in purchasing the Padres, and others might still emerge before a deal gets done.” Yet the O’Malley and Tull groups “have clearly been the most aggressive contenders to date and one or both of them may soon submit a bid for John Moores’ controlling interest in the ballclub.” Both Tull and the O’Malley group "have reviewed the club’s finances and met with key executives," and a baseball source "anticipates a sale could be confirmed as early as the quarterly owners meetings in August” (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 5/29). Mickelson said that “he was asked to get involved in an ownership bid three years ago, but didn’t think it was a good fit.” In terms of what his role with the club would be, Mickelson said, “Day-to-day operations, running a sports organization, that’s not my forte” (AP, 5/29).

A GOOD FIT: Golf Channel's Jerry Foltz said Mickelson "would be fantastic" as part of the Padres ownership because the owners that "have had the most success are the ones that are personable people, that are out there in front of the public, that are out there in front with their team, that are glad-handing." Foltz: "I think Phil would have a lot of success. I can't think of another guy who as an owner that I think would be as successful, except maybe Freddie Couples” (“Morning Drive,” Golf Channel, 5/29). ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser said, “Michael Jordan bought the Bobcats. Magic Johnson bought the Dodgers. Three is a trend” (“PTI,” ESPN, 5/29).

OPENING THE BOOKS: Moores said that three groups "have been approved by Major League Baseball to review the financial records" of the Padres for a possible purchase of the franchise. He added that he “expects that number to reach at least six before the bidding on the club is complete.” Moores: “I can’t give you a timetable, but I remain optimistic. There’s no reason for me to believe that we won’t have a sale in place by the end of the season.” He said that the three groups that "have received MLB approval” include Tull, O’Malley, and SAC Capital Advisors Founder and Mets investor Steve Cohen (MLB.com, 5/25). FORBES' Mike Ozanian reported that Moores is "asking for between $600 and $650 million for the Padres after he pockets a $200 million upfront payment on the team's new television deal that is worth $1.4 billion over 20 years." The Padres' deal with FS San Diego gives the team "a 20% equity state in the regional sports network and carries with it an average annual rights fee" of $50M (FORBES.com, 5/29).
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