Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez’s dream of buying the Mets has been given fresh hope after the billionaire co-founder of Vitamin Water expressed an interest in investing.
Mike Repole, who sold Glaceau, manufacturers of SmartWater and VitaminWater to Coca Cola for $4.1 billion, is in talks to join their consortium, according to reports.
Repole, 51, was born in Queens around five miles from the Mets’ stadium Citi Field.
A lifelong Mets fan and owner of champion racehorses, he expressed interest in buying the Mets when the team was not that far from bankruptcy in 2011.
Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez are said to be pressing ahead with their dream of buying the Mets, and their hopes have been boosted by interest from businessman Mike Repole
Fred Wilpon, the majority owner of the Mets, was instead bailed out by Major League Baseball and Bank of America with a $40 million emergency loan.
Wilpon, 83, and his son Jeff, 57, have had a stake in the team since 1980.
‘Someone has shown the Wilpons the light here,’ a person close to the deal told The New York Post.
‘Some heavy hitters are getting involved here and it seems Fred and Jeff are listening.’
Repole is one of two investors working with investment bank Galatioto Sports Partners, who are considering investing up to a combined $250 million with Rodriguez and Lopez, the paper reported.
Sources suggested the deal would be done for under $2 billion.
The only known other bidders for the Mets are Josh Harris and David Blitzer, owners of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils, and the British soccer team Crystal Palace.
The sale, at this point, still does not include the profitable SNY sports network, sources told the paper.
The Wilpons have been looking to sell the Mets since at least December.
The Mets, who play at Citi Field in Queens, New York, are currently owned by Fred Wilpon
Rodriguez, who spent 12 seasons with the New York Yankees, and Lopez have been rumored to be interested since February.
‘[Rodriguez] genuinely loves the Mets,’ one source said in the story.
‘He and J.Lo have talked about him buying a team ever since Jeter got the Marlins.’
The couple have been working with JPMorgan from their lockdown in Miami and — even after taking on new investors — would still be the control owners of the team, sources said.
People close to the deal now say that the Wilpons are willing to part with enough of SNY to make a deal work but are insistent on keeping at least a slice of the network for themselves.
Rodriguez and Lopez are said to envision their ownership of the team as re-imagining the Mets brand and Citi Field as an entertainment venue.
The pair has been researching how to redevelop the ballpark and the area around it to make Willets Point a place where families could spend a day before, during and after a ballgame.
The duo also want to create a field-level box area for celebrity Mets fans like Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock and Matthew Broderick, in the mold of the Knicks’ ‘Celebrity Row.’
J-Lo and A-Rod are reportedly keen to develop the area around Citi Field
New Jersey Devils owners David Blitzer (left) and Joshua Harris are also interested in the team
‘She’s made it clear that this is not a vanity project for her,’ a source told the Post.
‘She and Alex would bring star power to a franchise in our biggest market that has been sorely lacking in both.’
In 2018 Rodriguez said he regretted not signing for the Mets when he had the chance, during the 2000-1 off-season.
‘I thought I would make great concessions to go play for the Mets,’ he said, noting that Keith Hernandez was his favorite player growing up.
‘I thought it was a great story for baseball.’
Instead, he signed the biggest deal in baseball history at the time: a 10-year, $252 million contract with the Rangers.
The Rangers move ended badly, and he was traded in 2004 to the Yankees, where he spent the final 12 years of his career, moving over to third base alongside Derek Jeter.