Despite reportedly submitting the highest bid, Cablevision Systems Corp.
chairman Chuck Dolan was stymied 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. reached an agreement Thursday to purchase the
storied franchise, Fenway Park and majority ownership of 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 Dolan has been unable to acquire in
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 NHL'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 added that the combination of team and regional sports rights will help to
maximize advertising revenue while providing the team with an additional revenue
source through affiliate fees.