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Bill Maher Buys a Share of the New York Mets

This article was written by in Investing. 7 comments.

Over the weekend, political comedian Bill Maher revealed he invested in the New York Mets. As you could imagine, the polarizing figure’s investment spurred mixed reaction. Those who share his liberal views consider the investment to be solid, while those who disagree with the outspoken television show host pointed out the hypocrisy of the investment.

With $20 million, investors receive one share or 4 percent of the team’s ownership. The team is looking to sell ten to twelve such shares.

In return for the $20 investment, investors have benefits. From the financial perspective, investors are guaranteed a 3 percent annual compound return for six years if they choose to liquidate their investments at that point. The team also offers baseball perks like access to the team’s mascot, Mr. Met, one free parking spot, a business card identifying the investor as “Owner,” a luxury box in Citi Field, a free away trip with the team, and a free stay for spring training. The list goes on, but isn’t particularly Amazin’. $20 million should entitle an investor to a bucketful of perks, without additional fees.

Mr. MetAlso missing from the list of benefits is any control of the team’s operations. Buying a share entitles the investor to become a limited partner, not a general partner. Limited partners receive the benefits of investment appreciation (or loss) while general partners have votes on decisions in addition to the financial benefits. If your dream is to own a baseball team because of your love for the game and you’re interested in testing your management skills to make a failing team a contended in the World Series, you can’t live that dream by being a limited partner.

It’s not clear whether Maher invested the full $20 million or teamed up with other investments whose contributions totaled $20 million.

While investing in a sports team is a risky endeavor, a guaranteed 3 percent annual compound return for six years isn’t as much of a risk. The opportunity cost may be high. Over the next six years, much better investments might come your way, but with your money locked up in an investment in the Mets, you could miss those opportunities. But for life-long Mets fans — or dedicated fans of any product or brand — logic rarely gets in emotion’s way. Loyalty can make you do stupid things, like staying in a job longer than you should, putting up with harmful interpersonal relationships, and refusing to shop around for the best deals.

Would you invest in a product or brand you’ve enjoyed as a fan your entire life?

Photo: jen_rab
New York Times

Published or updated June 5, 2012.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar 1 Anonymous

It seems like a bad investment! If I had $20 million, I definitely would not invest in a sports team. I would diversify it over a variety of investments.

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avatar 2 Anonymous

If I had a spare $20 mil, this is exactly the sort of investment I’d look to make. Fun! and a respectable return as well. A photo of Mr. Met and me on my Christmas card? You can’t put a price on that. :-)

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avatar 3 Anonymous

If I had the a crazy amount of money and $20 million wasn’t a huge chunk of my fortune then I could see myself doing it if the prospects looked good but I don’t think I’ll ever have the money to consider such an opportunity. It would be cool to say I was an owner though…

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avatar 4 Anonymous

Definitely I would have invested just like him but only if I have spare $20 million. Investment is always risky so why not to have fun along with…

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avatar 5 Anonymous

It’s definitely my life long dream to own a professional baseball team. My favorite team, the Colorado Rockies would be quite risky to say the least! But, if I had the same perks with 3% annually, I might just do it if I see great potential for the team and organization!

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avatar 6 qixx

I would also invest if i had the funds to do so. I have always been a Lakers fan. If you want blame it on having been born in Southern California just before the Magic Johnson Championship years. To be able to say i’m part owner would be sweet.

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avatar 7 Anonymous

I think it is actually a pretty good investment. $20 million for 4% of the team means they are valuing the team at only $500 million. But the Dodgers recently sold for $2 BILLION. In the New York market, with a beautiful new field, and their own TV station I think the Mets are woefully undervalued.

The Wilpon’s association with Bernie Madoff and the teams poor performance in recent years has certainly had a negative effect on the team. But with a strong management team finally in place they seem ready to step out of the darkness. Improved play on the field will boost attendance and revenue. And if the Yankees finally succumb to age they’ll see a lot of fair-weather fans make the move across town to Citi Field.

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