MLB owners approve Royals sale to Sherman

Kansas City Royals majority owner John Sherman

Major League Baseball team owners have formally approved the transfer of the Kansas City Royals from David Glass to new majority owner John Sherman.

The unanimous vote, made November 21 during the league’s fall business meeting in Arlington, Texas, has been in the works since the late summer when Sherman agreed to acquire the Royals for more than $1bn from Glass.

Sherman as part of the transaction has divested his partial ownership in fellow MLB club the Cleveland Indians held since 2016 and gave up his title as vice-chairman of that club. Sherman also forfeited a pathway to eventually take over the franchise from Indians owner Paul Dolan. 

Instead, Sherman, 64, is opting to lead the Royals, with his deal with Glass slated to close early next week. 

“I’m deeply appreciate of the commissioner’s office and my fellow owners for their confidence and trust in the vote today,” Sherman said. “It’s a responsibility that I’ll take very seriously.”

Sherman, a Kansas City-based energy entrepreneur, is expected to hold a news conference next week to discuss his arrival in more detail.

The deal ends a 26-year association with the Royals for the 84-year-old Glass, nearly the last 20 of which he served as the club’s chairman and owner. During that time, Glass served on numerous key MLB committees, and was a key figure in the growth of MLB Advanced Media into an industry giant while chairman of that organization’s board of directors. 

“I think for a lot of us, me included, David has kind of been the center of our industry in a lot of ways,” said MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred. 

Glass in late August said in a statement that “the decision to sell the Royals was difficult for our family. 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.”

The Royals play in MLB’s third-smallest media market, larger than only Milwaukee (Wisconsin), and Cincinnati (Ohio), and are currently going through a rebuilding phase. But they won the 2015 World Series, an American League pennant the year before, and this year ranked ninth among MLB clubs in local market TV ratings.

MLB owners at their meeting also approved Greg Johnson as the new control executive for the San Francisco Giants. Johnson, son of Giants majority owner Charles Johnson, will be the club’s designated figure accountable to the league for its operation and compliance with MLB rules.

Giants chief executive Larry Baer held that role for the club prior to his suspension by the league in March, with Rob Dean since holding the designation on an interim basis.