How Much Longer Can The Wilpons Hold Onto The Mets?
Before the country was shut down due to COVID19, the Wilpons were already struggling financially. With all that has happened, you might forgotten Mike Ozanian of Forbes reported the Wilpons, by and through their real estate arm, Sterling Equities, had not come up with their share of the $800 million financing for the building of the Islanders new arena at Belmont.
Not too long after this news had disseminated, we heard that the Wilpons had agreed to sell their majority stake in the New York Mets to Steve Cohen. As we know, Cohen walked away from the deal after the Wilpons insisted on control of the team using Cohen’s money to finance their decisions and for escalating salaries. Unlike other times the Wilpons almost sold the team, the Wilpons renewed their efforts to sell their stake in the team.
After that, the country would be shut down by COVID19 thereby affecting the economy. Nearly every industry has been negatively impacted. On the sale front, it only seems as if Alex Rodriguez wants to buy the team, but he is still struggling to amass a group of partners to build the capital necessary to purchase the team.
As the COVID19 shutdown has continued, we have seen the Mets and the Wilpons make cuts. While teams like the Kansas City Royals did not release minor leaguers, the Mets released 39. While nearly every team released players, the Mets 39 is near the top of the list.
Unlike most teams, we have seen the Mets make fans jump through hoops to get refunds. They were one of only two MLB teams to not immediately refund games for the Month of May. Finally, in June, they opted to give an option for a May refund. As noted by Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, you needed to do some digging to even find the refund option.
SNY, which has been a cash cow for the Mets for years, has also been impacted. Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reported the network cancelled two shows while also laying off some staff. That came after there had been some other layoffs at the network. When SNY is this impacted, you know things are bad for the Wilpons.
Now, Josh Kosman and Thornton McEnery of the New York Post report Standard & Poor’s has now downgraded Citi Field bonds to junk status “saying it may need to tap its debt reserve to make a $22 million payment due in December — and warning that it could run out of money next year if there’s a baseball strike.”
Keep in mind, this is just June. There is still a half a year remaining, and we are seeing the Wilpon owned Mets and SNY losing money and having to make significant and deep cuts. This is all the more notable when the Wilpons struggled to secure financing on the Islanders arena project, and as Kevin Draper of the New York Times reported, the Mets were a team up against MLB’s debt limits and were losing $50 million a year.
At this point, the question needs to be asked – how much longer can the Wilpons hold onto the Mets? At what point does everything come toppling down? When does MLB step in like they did with the McCourts, or when do the Mets have to go through bankruptcy like the Rangers?
No matter what the answers to those or other questions, one thing is painstakingly clear – the Wilpons are forever going to ruin the day they let their own hubris stand in the way of collecting $2.1 billion from Steve Cohen. That goes double when you consider no one is rushing to their door now with any money.