Speculation is starting to heat up on the fate of Detroit Tigers, as the team finishes up their 2018 season. Could a season in the near future find them under new, but familiar, ownership?
Property in downtown Detroit is largely owned by two companies: Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock and the Ilitch family’s Olympia Development. Bedrock owns approximately 100 properties downtown, and the company has plans to build a new jail for Wayne County and they broke ground last year on the Hudson’s site. Dan Gilbert also owns the Cleveland Cavaliers. A couple years ago, he and Pistons owner Tom Gores wanted to bring a Major League Soccer team into Detroit, but that plan hasn’t worked out.
Olympia owns the Fox Theatre, the new Little Ceasars Headquarters, and the recently-finished Little Caesars Arena, along with a swath of land across Cass Corridor. They also own many buildings they’ve said they’d renovate, but have not. They also own the Detroit Red Wings and the Detroit Tigers.
Ever since patriarch Mike Ilitch died last year, many have speculated whether the family would sell the Detroit Tigers. This speculation has increased recently as Gilbert looks to be unloading his casino properties—MLB owners cannot own gaming properties.
Now, the Spun is saying that Gilbert is in “serious discussions” to potentially buy the Tigers.
Note: the Ilitches also own MotorCity Casino, but it’s under Marian Ilitch’s name. She is not part of the ownership of the Tigers.
The Ilitches maintain that they’re committed to owning the baseball team.
The Tigers are currently in the early stages of a rebuild; a competitive team is still a few years away.
To say that Dan Gilbert has a lot of power in Detroit is a wild understatement. His company managed a deal to get prime downtown land from the county in return for building a new jail a mile away. His companies largely control the retail landscape of downtown. He’s gotten major tax breaks from the state for massive development projects. He’s also brought many jobs downtown, renovated major buildings, and led a regional effort to try to get Amazon to move here.
What would an acquisition like this mean? Detroit’s major sports teams would have four separate owners. Perhaps the land in front of Comerica Park would be developed. And maybe Olympia would focus more on developing its land.
It’s all speculation for right now, but pieces are starting to come together. What do you think?
Should Dan Gilbert buy the Detroit Tigers?
This poll is closed
Do it, Dan!
No! He owns too much!
Doesn’t anyone else want in on Detroit?
Undecided but I have a lot of opinions for the comment section.
What would LeBron do?