Rubenstein’s Orioles takeover approved

Featured image credit: Chris6d/CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED/Edited for size

Major League Baseball team owners have unanimously approved the sale of the Baltimore Orioles to a group led by David Rubenstein.

The Orioles announced in January that Rubenstein had agreed to buy a controlling stake in the team from the Angelos family, in a deal that valued the franchise at $1.725bn (£1.4bn/€1.6bn).

Rubenstein’s investment group will also include Michael Arougheti, co-founder and chief executive of Ares Management, as well as Mitchell Goldstein and Michael Smith, co-heads of the Ares Management Credit Group.

Subject to MLB approval, the ownership group is also set to include Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr, Washington Spirit owner Michele Kang and former Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke, among others.

Rubenstein is a lifelong Orioles fan having grown up in Northwest Baltimore. He is co-founder and co-chairman of The Carlyle Group.

The Orioles said in January that the Angelos family would continue to hold a sizeable investment in the team, with John Angelos to serve as a senior advisor. Angelos assumed control of the Orioles from his father, Peter, who purchased the team in October 1993 for $173m.

Following yesterday’s (Wednesday’s) approval, Rubenstein said: “To own the Orioles is a great civic duty. On behalf of my fellow owners, I want the Baltimore community and Orioles fans everywhere to know that we will work our hardest to deliver for you with professionalism, integrity, excellence, and a fierce desire to win games.

“I thank John Angelos and his family for all they have done to bring us to this point. John led a dramatic overhaul of the team’s management, roster, recruitment strategy, and farm system in recent years. Our job is to build on these accomplishments to advance a world-class professional sports agenda – with eyes on returning a World Series trophy to Baltimore.”

Approval has been granted after the Orioles in December finalised a partnership with the State of Maryland, Governor Wes Moore and the Maryland Stadium Authority to continue playing at Oriole Park at Camden Yards for 30 more years.

The Orioles have played at Camden Yards since 1992 and the team’s previous lease deal had been due to expire on December 31. The new deal includes an option to pursue development rights at the Camden Yards complex.

In February last year, the Orioles and Governor Moore announced a joint commitment to develop and revitalise the Camden Yards complex, which houses the ballpark as well as M&T Bank Stadium, home of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens are also planning a $430m redevelopment of M&T Bank Stadium.

Elsewhere in MLB, the Kansas City Royals have agreed to a minor design change for its proposed new ballpark that would keep Oak Street open if the stadium is built in the Crossroads District of the city.

Last month, the Royals unveiled plans to build a new ballpark and entertainment district in the Crossroads District, with the team proposing an extension of the South Loop Park and the P&L Park Pedestrian Bridge to connect the stadium with other areas of the city.

Earlier this week, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said that he opposed the part of the Royals’ renderings that close off a two-block section of Oak Street, and Royals chief executive and chairman John Sherman has now announced that the team has tweaked the design.

Sherman, who insisted that the change will not impact the construction of the stadium, said: “I want to thank Mayor Quinton Lucas for his leadership and tireless advocacy as we work to make the best possible ballpark district in downtown Kansas City. We have been listening to members of the Crossroads community and had thoughtful conversations with the mayor and city council to improve the ballpark district impact.

“Through these conversations, we have come to realise the importance of keeping Oak Street open. We acknowledge Oak Street is an integral part of the downtown experience, and therefore, we agree to change the ballpark district design to keep Oak Street open. We look forward to working with the mayor and city council to begin this joint effort.”