American businessman Dan Gilbert, the co-owner of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers and owner of three other professional sports franchises, is in “serious discussions” about potentially buying the Detroit Tigers, sources told The Spun.
Per sources, Gilbert is “110 percent” interested in purchasing the club, and the current owners of the Tigers are open to a possible sale, though none has been negotiated as of now.
Mike Ilitch, who passed away in February 2017, bought the Tigers in 1992 and the Ilitch family trust currently owns the franchise. Since Ilitch’s death, there has been some speculation that his family would be willing to consider selling the team.
An article by Crains Detroit from earlier this month details how a potential Gilbert sale would work. First, the 56-year-old would have to sell off his casino and gambling ventures.
MLB rules prohibit owners from having any stake in gambling operations.
Major League Baseball forbids its team owners from having any stake in wagering operations, and Gilbert would be free of that restriction if he divests himself of his Detroit-based Jack Entertainment LLC that includes six casinos and racetracks, a move that a Bloomberg report on Thursday said was under consideration.
Matt Cullen, CEO and principal at Gilbert’s Rock Ventures LLC and one of his top lieutenants, had no comment when asked by Crain’s if the Quicken Loans Inc. founder and Detroit real estate billionaire has any interest in the Tigers.
Gilbert is a Detroit native who grew up in Southfield, Michigan. He has previously invested heavily in his birthplace.
The founder of mortgage company Quicken Loans, Gilbert moved the company’s headquarters to Detroit in 2010. One year later, he founder Bedrock Ventures, his real-estate firm.
Bedrock has since invested $5.6 billion in the city on various infrastructure and development projects, according to an August article in Business Insider.
In addition to the Cavs, Gilbert owns he AHL’s Cleveland Monsters, the Arena Football League’s Cleveland Gladiators, and the NBA G League’s Canton Charge.