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Sports


No billionaire wants a baseball team
Terry Pluto explains why NFL teams are a hot sell, while baseball teams are viewed as a "loser"
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
Indians CEO Paul Dolan tells Terry Pluto the Indians aren't for sale.
Courtesy of Mark Urycki
Download (WKSU Only)

There are two family names that Cleveland sports fans love to hate – the Lerners, owners of the Browns, and the Dolans, who own the Indians -- two consistently bad teams. But, the Browns have been sold to Flying J owner Jimmy Haslam. So that makes the Dolans public enemy No. 1 in Cleveland. So, why don't the Dolan's sell the team? Commentator Terry Pluto explains why no billionaire wants a baseball team.

Terry Pluto: why no billionaire wants the Indians

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Terry Pluto on the Browns and what needs to change about pre-season football

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The Dolans had what Pluto calls “franchise fever” at the time they bought the Indians in 1999, paying $323 million for a team in a market much smaller and less lucrative than Los Angeles, where the Dodgers sold the same year for $320 million.

And Pluto says they’ve been paying ever since, including likely on a large debt.

Pluto sat down with Paul Dolan just after the Indians dropped 11 games, and had fallen from a team in contention to one in a of mediocrity. He asked if Dolan was ready to spend more money to improve the team. The answer was “probably not.” And while Dolan says the team is interested in finding minority owners, it is not up for sale.

And Pluto says there’s a good reason.

“I think it’s hard to sell a team like the Indians. … It’s not like the Browns. You buy into the NFL, you’re locked into a league where anybody from Green Bay to New England can win a Super Bowl.”

But unlike the NFL and NBA, where salary caps and revenue sharing even out the chances of large-market teams and small, Major League Baseball is living with massive disparities in payroll. And Pluto says that’s chasing many would-be owners elsewhere.

Cavs owner Dan  Gilbert, for example, bid on the Milwaukee Brewers, but backed out when the price hit $200 million. Instead, he put up $365 million for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“A lot of these younger self-made millionaires, billionaires, just look at it (Major League Baseball) as a loser.”

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