MLB owners approve $1.725 bn Orioles sale deal on season's eve

A group headed by <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Baltimore;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Baltimore</a> native and private equity investor David Rubenstein was unanimously approved as the new owner of the <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Baltimore Orioles;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Baltimore Orioles</a> by MLB club owners (Fabrice COFFRINI)

Major League Baseball team owners unanimously approved the sale of the Baltimore Orioles to a group led by private equity investor David Rubenstein on Wednesday, a day before their season begins.

The deal, reportedly worth $1.725 billion, transfers ownership from the family of the late Peter Angelos to Rubenstein, 74, a co-founder of The Carlyle Group private equity firm.

MLB ownership approval was the final step in a transfer process that began when an agreement was reached in January and also included the Orioles' stake in Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), which owns telecast rights for the Orioles and the nearby Washington Nationals.

An ownership committee backed approval of the deal earlier this month.

"I congratulate David Rubenstein on receiving approval from the major league clubs as the new control person of the Orioles," said MLB commissioner Rob Manfred.

"As a Baltimore native and a lifelong fan of the team, David is uniquely suited to lead the Orioles moving forward. We welcome David and his partners as the new stewards of the franchise."

Among those in Rubenstein's group are Baseball Hall of Famer and Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr., entrepreneur Mike Bloomberg and Basketball Hall of Fame player Grant Hill, also a co-owner of the NBA's Atlanta Hawks and Orlando City of MLS.

Angelos, who bought the Orioles for $173 million in 1993, died Saturday at age 94.

The Orioles have not won the World Series since 1983, when Ripken was the American League's Most Valuable Player.

They have not won a play-off series since 2014 and had not reached the play-offs since 2016 until last year, when Baltimore was ousted by eventual champion Texas in the best-of-five AL division series.

"To own the Orioles is a great civic duty," Rubenstein said. "On behalf of my fellow owners, I want the Baltimore community and Orioles fans everywhere to know that we will work our hardest to deliver for you with professionalism, integrity, excellence, and a fierce desire to win games."

The Orioles play their first contest under the new ownership team on Thursday when the Los Angeles Angels visit Baltimore at Camden Yards.