Backers are swarming to Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez’s bid to buy the New York Mets. Vincent Viola is the latest interested investor.
News broke Monday afternoon that billionaire and lifelong New York Mets fan Mike Repole was joining Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez’s bid. It only took a few hours before it was reported that the power couple had begun talks with their latest major investor. According to Charles Gasparino of Fox Business, that individual happens to be Vincent Viola.
SCOOP: @FoxBusiness has learned that former NY Mercantile Exchange chairman and current @FlaPanthers owner Vincent Viola is seriously considering joining the @AROD group to buy the @Mets. Preliminary discussions have begun; no money commitment yet. Story developing
— Charles Gasparino (@CGasparino) June 22, 2020
The 64-year-old earned his billions from the stock market. With a successful career on Wall Street, he moved into the sports business. He’s currently the primary owner of the Florida Panthers and owns St. Elias Stables. Viola was also a part-owner of the Brooklyn Nets, but has since sold his share.
If J-Rod could add Viola, and his $2.4 billion net worth, to their bid, they may have all the pieces they need. Viola would be a powerhouse addition if he’s willing to spend the necessary money.
He could be the principal owner and primary financial backer while Rodriguez runs the baseball operations. That may seem weird, because why would Viola spend all that money to let A-Rod run the team? Nonetheless, it’s actually a common occurrence in MLB.
For example, the Miami Marlins are run by Derek Jeter despite the fact that he only owns about 4% of the team. The San Francisco Giants are another example. Their principal owner is Charles Johnson, but Larry Baer is the team’s CEO.
The Mets would likely operate under a similar structure, with Viola and Repole providing the money behind the team and A-Rod having the final say on baseball-related decisions. If done right, it could lead to a competitive and well-run ballclub.
But if done poorly, the Mets could look like the Marlins in a few years due to the financial losses the team is taking. It’ll all depend on how much money a J-Rod-led ownership group is willing to spend on the team if they can finalize a purchase.