KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) David Glass and his family on Friday announced the sale of the Kansas City Royals to an ownership group led by local entrepreneur John Sherman in a deal expected to be worth about $1 billion.
The Royals announced the sale just days after word began to leak that the Sherman group was closing in on an agreement. Sherman and his co-investors will become the third owners since another local businessman, Ewing Kauffman, founded the club in 1969.
The 83-year-old Glass and his family helped serve as caretakers of the club following Kauffman’s death in 1993, and they took ownership of the club for $96 million in April 2000.
”The decision to sell the Royals was difficult for our family,” said Glass, whose son Dan has served as the Royals’ president. ”Our goal, which I firmly believe we’ve achieved, was to have someone local, who truly loved the game of baseball and who would be a great steward for this franchise going forward. In John Sherman we have found everything we were looking for in taking ownership.”
The 64-year-old Sherman has lived in Kansas City for more than four decades, even after he bought an interest in the Cleveland Indians. He founded, built and then sold a series of energy companies and has remained an influential local businessman, dabbling in agriculture in biosciences.
Sherman, who played quarterback at nearby Ottawa University, is also a well-respected civic leader, even though he keeps a low profile. He has given time and money to the Truman Presidential Library in nearby Independence, the Negro Leagues Museum in Kansas City, and several local schools. He and his wife, Marny, have also worked with Teach for America and other organizations.
”I am enormously grateful to David and the Glass family for this extraordinary opportunity,” Sherman said, ”and am humbled by the chance to team up with a distinguished group of local investors to carry forward and build on this rich Kansas City Royals legacy.
”Our goal will be threefold: to compete for a championship on behalf of our fans; to honor their passion, their experience and their unwavering commitment; and to carry their hopes and dreams forward in this great Kansas City region we all love for decades to come.”
Sherman will need to divest his interest in the Cleveland Indians, believed to be about 30 percent of the franchise, and the deal is subject to the approval of Major League Baseball.
Those hurdles should be cleared before owners vote on the sale at their meeting Nov. 21.
”We’re very supportive of John and his group reaching an agreement to acquire ownership of his hometown Kansas City Royals,” Indians president Paul Dolan said. ”His acquisition of the Royals is good for the game of baseball and I wish him nothing but the best.”
Sherman was introduced by Dolan by Steve Greenberg, the son of Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg. His financial involvement allowed the team to push its payroll over the years, including in 2016, when the Indians acquired All-Star reliever Andrew Miller from the Yankees before the trading deadline.