Real-World Financial Woes Worry Sports Owners

Off the field, most team records aren't promising
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 2, 2009 1:09 PM CST
New York Mets chief executive officer Fred Wilpon lost big in Bernie Madoff's investment scheme, but promises that his personal losses won't affect the team.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – As investment portfolios dwindle and businesses suffer, more professional sports teams' owners are falling on hard times. League bosses worry that potential buyers, already an endangered breed, won't go for newly available teams because their primary businesses are foundering. Even the Cubs, one of MLB's few profitable franchises, can't find an owner, reports the Wall Street Journal.

"Their ability to secure financing and continue operating is going to get hurt," one expert says of troubled owners. Only the NFL, with its lucrative TV contracts, seems immune. Aside from the Cubs and Red Sox, most baseball teams operate at a loss; in the NHL, the Phoenix Coyotes expect to be $25 million in the red this season, even though attendance is up. In the NBA, the situation isn't much better.