Despite reportedly submitting the highest bid, Cablevision Systems Corp. chairman Chuck Dolan was stymied last week in his attempt to purchase Major League Baseball's Boston Red Sox.
A group headed by Florida Marlins owner John Henry, television producer Tom Werner and The New York Times Co. last Thursday reached an agreement to purchase the storied franchise, Fenway Park and majority ownership of the New England Sports Network from the team's limited partnership for a reported $700 million.
The bid was slightly below Dolan's reported $720 million offer, but sources said the partnership had concerns about whether Dolan would get approval from MLB owners. Dolan's brother Larry owns the Cleveland Indians, which sources said would raise flags among owners.
The Red Sox join a growing list of teams that Dolan has been unable to acquire in recent years. Dolan, whose MSO owns the National Basketball Association's New York Knicks and National Hockey League's New York Rangers, has unsuccessfully tried to purchase the New York Yankees, the New York Mets and the National Football League's New York Jets.
Pending league approval, the group headed by Henry — who reportedly has a contingency arrangement to sell the Marlins to Montreal Expos owner Jeff Loria — will hold 80 percent ownership of NESN. The National Hockey League's Boston Bruins own the regional network's other 20 percent.
The regional network, which recently switched from premium to a basic service, is currently in more than 3 million households.
Kagan Sports analyst John Mansell said the cost — more than double that of any other baseball franchise — was enhanced with the addition of NESN. He said the combination of team and regional sports rights will help maximize advertising revenue, while providing the team with an additional revenue source through affiliate fees.