In a plot twist straight out of HBO’s Ballers, a Miami baseball team is suddenly at the center of an intense bidding war between an international music star, a former presidential candidate, two sports legends, and a Florida billionaire.
This week, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred revealed three groups of investors, two with a number of celebrity backers, were interested in buying the Florida-based team from New York art dealer Jeffrey Loria. On one side, there’s former New York Yankee Derek Jeter, who partnered up with NBA All Star Michael Jordan and a few Wall Street investment firms, to present a reported 1.2 billion dollar bid for the Marlins. (Jeter has reportedly always dreamed of owning a MLB team.)
On the other hand, there’s an even more unusual pairing: 2016 Republican presidential contender and former Florida governor Jeb Bush and the club music purveyor Pitbull, who, along with another team of financial investors, have matched Jeter’s offer for the Marlins. Miami-based billionaire Jorge Mas has also jumped into the bidding ring with an equal offer.
Out of all those interested, Pitbull is perhaps the bidder with the most longstanding ties to the Miami Marlins. Not only did he start his music career as an in-house DJ for the team, Mr. Worldwide also recently performed at this week’s Home Run Derby at their stadium (wearing a tight, tucked in jersey, spawning a number of jokes on social media.)
The musician is also one of Miami’s most famous entrepreneurs. He has several businesses based in the city, including a charter school focused on sports and a sandwich chain, and he has been one of the biggest faces of the “Visit Florida” tourism campaign. After news of his potential bid in the team was revealed on Tuesday, Pitbull took to Facebook to share his enthusiasm for the project. “As a homegrown 305 Miami-Dade County first-generation Cuban American, it is a true honor to be part of this visionary group,” he wrote. “It’s an unbelievable opportunity to make the Marlins and their stadium the heart of Miami, the same way the Orange Bowl was for me when I lived in Little Havana.”