David Blitzer is on the verge of a major milestone—owning equity in all five major U.S. sport leagues.
The Blitzer group’s agreement to purchase 35% of Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Guardians was approved this week by MLB, pending close, commissioner Rob Manfred told reporters Thursday. It includes options to purchase a controlling stake within the decade.
When the transaction closes, Blitzer will add an MLB team to his vast sports portfolio, which includes equity stakes in franchises in the NFL, NBA, MLS and NHL, plus a handful of European soccer clubs. While it’s common for investors to own franchises across multiple U.S. leagues—Stan Kroenke currently owns at least of piece of teams in four of them—Sportico is unaware of anyone having achieved ownership across all five prior to Blitzer.
It’s unclear how much Blitzer is paying for his stake in the Guardians, or who else is in his group. A representative for Blitzer declined to comment; a representative for the Guardians didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Blitzer—the global head of tactical opportunities at Blackstone and a member of the firm’s management committee—is already co-owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils, owner of MLS club Real Salt Lake, and a minority investor in the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers.
In addition to the U.S. teams, he also owns a piece of English Premier League club Crystal Palace, plus teams in Germany (FC Augsburg), Portugal (G.D. Estoril), Belgium (Waasland-Beveren), Spain (AD Alcorcón) and the Netherlands (ADO Den Haag).
Blitzer’s Guardians agreement is a complex transaction that includes equity from at least two places—the Dolan family, the team’s principal owner, and current Kansas City Royals owner John Sherman. MLB rules prevent individuals from owning stakes in multiple franchises, so Sherman, who bought the Royals in 2019, has to sell his Guardians equity.
Sherman’s stake included an eventual path to becoming the team’s controlling owner, according to the Kansas City Star. The options in Blitzer’s deal allow him to purchase a controlling stake in the team in six to eight years, people familiar with the deal told Sportico in December.
Sportico’s valuations have the Guardians at $1.385 billion, ranked No. 24 in MLB. The franchise has been controlled by the Dolan family since 1999, when Larry Dolan purchased the franchise from Dick Jacobs. Paul Dolan, Larry’s son, took over in 2013.
The Guardians haven’t won a World Series since 1948 and have won just three playoff series since 1999. The team is averaging 14,581 fans per game this season, which ranks 26th among MLB teams.