Buying a professional sports franchise is not a cheap endeavor. Team valuations continue to skyrocket as leagues make copious amounts of money. But for those with the cash, it’s a pretty cool thing to own a squad. As is often the case, an ownership group will emerge, consisting of several people pooling their finances to make a deal happen.
We’re seeing this unfold in Baltimore, where Orioles chair and CEO John Angelos just agreed to sell the team at a value of $1.725 million, per Puck News. The buying group is led by private equity billionaire David Rubenstein and Ares Management Corp. co-founder Mike Arougheti.
Other buyers in the group include several Maryland leaders and sports legends, including Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. Ripken played 21 seasons with the Orioles from 1980 to 2001, including an MLB record 2,632 consecutive games.
The buying group will initially own 40% of the Orioles. John Angelos has been running the team operations since 2020 when his father, Peter Angelos — now 94 years old — faced mounting health issues. After Angelos dies, Rubenstein, Arougheti, and the rest of the buying group will purchase additional shares in the team.
Rubenstein will serve as the controlling operator for the Orioles, though he’ll likely incorporate Arougheti into the mix. The new owners would also be wise to listen to Ripken, who certainly knows a thing or two about baseball.
Both Rubenstein and Arougheti made their money in private equity. Rubenstein is a co-founder and co-chair of The Carlyle Group. He’s also the chairman of the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts and the National Gallery of Art. He’s a member of The Giving Pledge, a group of wealthy individuals who have pledged to give away at least half of their fortune to charity.
Arougheti co-founded Ares Management Group in 1997. The company operates in private equity, credit, and real estate and manages more than $300 billion in assets.
Rubenstein previously expressed an interest in buying the team last year, but John Angelos publicly said the team wasn’t for sale. His tone changed this month, though — perhaps it was a negotiating tactic?
Either way, it’s an impressive return on investment. Peter Angelos purchased the Orioles back in 1993 for $173 million. The new owners have already said the Orioles aren’t going anywhere; the team will continue playing its home games at Camden Yards.
The new ownership group is inheriting a solid team. Last season, the Orioles finished a surprising 101-61 and won the AL East. However, the team was swept by the eventual champion Texas Rangers in the divisional round.