It’s Just Business Nothing More

See you in the courtroom.

A major league sports team in North America is worth a lot of money and people were reminded of that last week as two squabbles developed in the business of sports world. The National Basketball Association’s Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor is trying to sell the business to a group that includes Alex Rodriguez and Taylor did in fact get a deal done. But a Timberwolves minority owner, Meyer Orbach, said not so fast. Orbach filed a complaint against Taylor over something called “tag-along rights” which allows Orbach and others with a small piece of the business to sell franchise shares before Taylor. That will now be hashed out in a courtroom. But Orbach revealed something that might be far more damaging in the court of public opinion in Minneapolis. Taylor claimed the incoming owners agreed to not move the team out of Minneapolis but Orbach said that is not going to be the case. Taylor has a lease with Minneapolis for his business to operate in the city arena through 2035.

Meanwhile in St. Petersburg, Florida, Major League Baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays owner Stu Sternberg is going to court because his minority partners accused him of operating a “relentless scheme” to take control of the business and also secretly negotiating to sell an interest in the ballclub to Montreal investors. Sternberg reportedly now owns 85 percent of the franchise. The Montreal component is interesting. There is a plan on the table that would see Rays’ home games split between St. Petersburg and Montreal. Sternberg’s Rays-St. Petersburg lease runs through 2027. Sternberg had an opportunity to change the terms of lease had he landed a ballpark in Tampa. That never happened. The lawsuits are just business.

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Minnesota Timberwolves’ Malik Beasley, left, is defended by Toronto Raptors’ Norman Powell during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)