Buy or Sell: The New York Mets

Would you buy the New York Mets? In the case of SAC Capital's Steve Cohen the answer is a resounding YES. I am not so sure that this is a smart play. Not just for Cohen, but for any investor.

Today I would like to hear thoughts on the potential purchase from the analyst's perspective. I guess the better question would be... do you guys see baseball teams as a good investment overall? With the sport steadily losing ground as far as popularity and revenue is baseball the cash cow it once was? It seems that a ton of teams are having a hard time making money and even the country's most prized media market has felt the pain.

The Mets in particular present an interesting situation. They lost $60 million last season and were forced to take an emergency loan of $25 million from Major League Baseball in November. They have an expensive new ballpark, a malcontent fan base and a not-so-solid ball club. As a long time fan of the club, I am being pretty gentle in my description of their situation. If I were to be brutally honest, I would probably go so far as to call them an eternally sinking ship which is on its final descent to the bottom of New York harbor. Still, however, they are a major sporting franchise on the most lucrative stage...they have to be a buy, don't they?

I am really curious to hear opinions as to their perceived value on this forum. Many of you guys spend your days in attempts to properly value companies. Many of you soon will. How would you value a sports team, outside of the standard measures and metrics?

Is buying a sports club in a major market like New York the same as buying a regular company? Are sports really as profitable as they seem? How do you account for prestige and control in a situation such as this one? What makes a buy like this worth it?

I just can't help but to think that baseball is become one of those businesses that is slowly but surely pricing itself out of the market. The Mets seem to be the perfect example.

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