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Commissioner Bud Selig announced the endorsement after the conclusion of the owners meetings in Denver.
Under the deal, the group will buy the franchise from John Moores for around $800 million. The final closing of the sale will be on or before Aug. 31.
The new ownership group includes Kevin and Brian O'Malley, the sons of former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley. Peter and Tom Seidler — the nephews of Peter O'Malley — also will be involved in the deal. Two of the four are expected to move to San Diego.
“This group knows what it takes to compete,” Selig said. “They’re very optimistic. I’m optimistic. I’ve gone over their projections, gone over everything. I think their projections are optimistic, but realistic. This is a good day for baseball.
“I think Padres fans have a right to be very happy today — very happy.”
Ron Fowler, chief executive of Liquid Investments, is set to become controlling owner and executive chairman, Peter Seidler said. He also gave a vote of confidence to CEO Tom Garfinkel and general manager Josh Byrnes.
“Really, the ‘Padres Group,’” he said. “We want the attention and spotlight to be on a great product on the field. We’re going to be supportive and do everything we can to bring that down to San Diego. We’re a bunch of Padres up here.”
The agreement with the new group came months after Jeff Moorad’s attempt to buy the team on a layaway plan collapsed. Moores‘ deal with Moorad, who began his attempted purchase of the club in 2009, was valued at about $500 million. Moores‘ divorce forced him to put the team on the market in 2009.
“I saw him this morning and I got very emotional,” Selig said. “John did a lot of wonderful things for baseball. Very helpful for me, during a time when things weren’t, frankly, as great as they are right now. I know it’s the right thing for him to do. Believe me, I like John Moores a lot. He did a lot for this sport — a lot.”
Selig said he was amazed at the ease with which this deal got approved by the owners.
“There’s always a little bit of a problem here or a problem there,” Selig said. “They were very cooperative. They came in and had all of their work done. It was just easy. There was no other way to say it, it was just easy.”
The price for this sale was inflated thanks to a deal with Fox and the recent sale of the Dodgers for $2 billion.
San Diego fans hope a change in owners can turn around the Padres, who regularly have had one of baseball’s lowest payrolls and have largely struggled since reaching the 1998 World Series. The Padres are 52-67 this season and sit in fourth place in the NL West.
“We’re looking for a long, consistent ownership group here,” Fowler said. “As a San Diegan — I’ve been there for 30-plus years now — I think it’s great for baseball in San Diego, that the O’Malley family and the Seidler family are going to be the owners. I’m looking forward to having some fun over the next five to 10 years.”
AP Sports Writer Bernie Wilson in San Diego contributed.
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