sport news Buyer beware: Apple's interest in Man United follows DECADES of corporate ... trends now

sport news Buyer beware: Apple's interest in Man United follows DECADES of corporate ... trends now
sport news Buyer beware: Apple's interest in Man United follows DECADES of corporate ... trends now

sport news Buyer beware: Apple's interest in Man United follows DECADES of corporate ... trends now

Apple's reported interest in buying Manchester United has been predictably well received by Red Devils fans, who think of the current owners' tenure like a 17-year root canal.

'There is euphoria within the United fan base right now,' The United Stand contributor and long-time supporter Adam Scott told British news channel, GBN.

Since buying the club in 2005, the American Glazer family has been criticized as disinterested, incapable, and unwilling to improve a team that has historically ranked as one of the best in Europe.

Not only is Manchester United facing a decade-long title drought – particularly troubling for a club that won five Premier League titles in the first eight seasons of the Glazers' reign – but its future prospects aren't encouraging. Old Trafford, the division's oldest stadium, is in disrepair, and the Glazers' reluctance to invest in the team's infrastructure is seen by fans as pure greed.

'The stadium is deteriorating,' Scott told GBN.

'No disrespect to them, but Manchester United's infrastructure has been sidestepped by the Glazers, and the money just seems to be going into them. The dividends taken out of the club year on year and lack of investment - it's just been too much for the fans.'

Scott was speaking Thursday, days after the Glazer family confirmed rumors that the club was for sale. Since then, a report from the Daily Star has claimed that Apple may be interested in acquiring the team for roughly $7billion – a relatively small fortune for a company valued at more than $2trillion.

If the deal does come to fruition, Manchester United would boast the richest owners in sports, eclipsing the $620bn Saudi Arabian Sovereign Wealth fund that controls Newcastle United.

But if that sounds like the cure to all United's problems, the team's fans would be wise to look at corporate America's history with US-based teams. Certainly wealthy owners have an advantage with free agents and infrastructure, but companies like Disney, News Corp. and CBS have proven deep pockets aren't everything.

Manchester United fan poses in front of a banner ahead of a march. Manchester United fans gathered and marched a half mile to Old Trafford during the Premier League game with Liverpool. The fans continue to protest against the Glazers' ownership

Manchester United fan poses in front of a banner ahead of a march. Manchester United fans gathered and marched a half mile to Old Trafford during the Premier League game with Liverpool. The fans continue to protest against the Glazers' ownership 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Manchester United co-chairman Joel (left) and Avram (right) Glazer intend to sell the soccer team

Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Manchester United co-chairman Joel (left) and Avram (right) Glazer intend to sell the soccer team

Old Trafford (pictured), the Premier League's oldest stadium, is in disrepair, and the Glazers' reluctance to invest in the team's infrastructure is seen by fans as pure greed

Old Trafford (pictured), the Premier League's oldest stadium, is in disrepair, and the Glazers' reluctance to invest in the team's infrastructure is seen by fans as pure greed

CBS SWINGS AND MISSES ON THE YANKEES

In 1964, the Yankees were coming off their fifth straight pennant, having won 10 World Series crowns over the previous 18 years. The Bronx bombers boasted future Hall of Famers in slugger Mickey Mantle and pitcher Whitey Ford, as well as a bevy of past and future All-Stars in Elston Howard, Roger Maris, Bobby Murcer, Bobby Richardson, Mel Stottlemyre, Joe Pepitone, and Tom Tresh.

The team was older than most at the time, but with the 19-year-old Murcer, 23-year-old Stottlemyre, and 24-year-old Pepitone, the future still looked bright in the Bronx, where the Yankees had built a reputation for identifying and developing talent.

Then Columbia Broadcasting System arrived.

Following the 1964 season, when the overmatched Yankees pushed the vaunted St. Louis Cardinals to seven games in a crushing World Series defeat, CBS bought 80 percent of the club for $11.2million (equivalent to $107.7 m in 2022).

The team fell to sixth in the American league the following year and 10th in 1966 – the Yankees' worst season since 1913.

Then-New York Yankees manager Yogi Berra reacts to news that the team was bought by CBS in 1964

Then-New York Yankees manager Yogi Berra reacts to news that the team was bought by CBS in 1964

After a half century of wear, Yankee Stadium was in desperate need of renovations by the time the late 1960s rolled around

After a half century of wear, Yankee Stadium was in desperate need of renovations by the time the late 1960s rolled around 

In fairness to CBS and Yankees president Mike Burke, a former CIA agent who also worked with the NBA's Knicks, this was before free agency. So while CBS may have had financial advantages over other league owners, the company couldn't parlay its wealth into major free-agent signings.

But that fact can't explain the team's diminished farm system or its reluctance to improve 50-year-old Yankee Stadium, which, much like Old Trafford now, had become dilapidated.

Soon the struggling Mets began outselling the Yankees in Queens. And by 1969, when the 'Amazin' Mets' upset the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles in the World Series, the Yankees suddenly found themselves struggling to attract fans.

CBS' tenure in the Bronx wasn't a complete disaster. General manager Lee MacPhail drafted catcher Thurman Munson, a future MVP, and traded for reliever Sparky Lyle and third baseman Graig Nettles, all of whom would help the team rebuild in the 1970s.

Burke did strike a deal with Mayor John Lindsay to remodel Yankee Stadium using tax dollars, but neither he nor CBS would around to see the finished product.

A group of investors led by George Steinbrenner famously bought the Yankees in 1973, the stadium's remodeling would soon be completed, and by 1976, the team was back in the World Series.

'CBS came to the conclusion that perhaps it was not as viable for the network to own the Yankees as for some people,' said a company spokesman at the time. 'Fans get worked up over great men, not great corporations. We came to the realization, I think, that sports franchises really flourish better with people owning them.'

George Steinbrenner (right) announces his purchase of the Yankees from CBS, which hired then-team president Michael Burke (left) to lead the franchise in 1966

George Steinbrenner (right) announces his purchase of the Yankees from CBS, which hired then-team president Michael Burke (left) to lead the franchise in 1966

RUPERT MURDOCH AND NEWS CORP'S DODGERS DISASTER

Australia is the rare country that produces both baseball and cricket players.

Billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch was strictly among the latter, having once led his school's cricket team to the National Junior Finals. Later, in his role as News Corp. executive chairman, he would spend billions buying up cricket media rights.

But despite his lifelong preference for baseball's distant ancestor, Murdoch did become owner of MLB's Los Angeles Dodgers, albeit briefly.

In 1998, Murdoch's record-high $311m acquisition of the Dodgers ended the O'Malley family's 53-year tenure with the team dating back to its days in Brooklyn.

The club fell under the News Corp umbrella, which made sense. With an international media conglomerate pulling the strings, local, national and international audiences suddenly had access to the Dodgers, raising the club's profile around the world.

Los Angeles Dodgers owner Rupert Murdoch (R) is shown the stadium from the owners box by former owner Peter O'Malley before the home opener [against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Los Angeles April 7. The Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks 9-1.] Murdoch paid a reported $320million for the team owned for almost a half-century by the O'Malley family

Los Angeles Dodgers owner Rupert Murdoch (R) is shown the stadium from the owners box by former owner Peter O'Malley before the home opener [against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Los Angeles April 7. The Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks 9-1.] Murdoch paid a reported $320million for the team owned for almost a half-century by the O'Malley family

But conflicts quickly arose, much of which were predictable in

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