Kansas City Royals owner David Glass is negotiating to sell the team to local businessman John Sherman for more than $1 billion, sources familiar with the discussions told ESPN.
The potential deal, which multiple sources believe will be finalized, would transfer ownership to a group led by Sherman, who is currently a minority owner of the Cleveland Indians. Sherman would divest himself of his share of the Indians to buy the Royals from Glass, who purchased the team in 2000 for $96 million.
In a statement, the Royals organization said it is “not in a position to make any comments on the published speculation regarding any potential sale of the ball club,” adding that no further statements would be made at this time.
The valuations of baseball franchises have skyrocketed in recent years, though the price of the Royals is expected to fall short of the most recent sale, when Bruce Sherman (no relation to John) bought the Miami Marlins for $1.2 billion.
Glass, 84, is the former CEO of Wal-Mart whose son Dan serves as team president. David Glass bore the brunt of criticism locally for his lack of spending until the Royals’ ascent five years ago. They reached the World Series in 2014, and won a championship in 2015, the second in franchise history.
The sale could happen around the same time the franchise locks into a new local TV deal with Fox Sports that could pay the team around $50 million a year for a decade-plus, according to a source. That would more than double its current local TV rights fee.
John Sherman, an energy entrepreneur, bought a piece of the Indians from owner Paul Dolan in August 2016. He has increased his investment since but would need to sell it were the deal for the Royals consummated.
The possibility of a sale was first reported by The Athletic.