The Evolution of Sports Bankruptcies
Dow Jones DBR Small Cap

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Team bankruptcies have never been more successful. Unsurprisingly, players and teams in the highflying, swing-for-the-fences world of sports often follow great success with failure. Over the years, we have seen highly compensated players— including well-known names such as 1988 American League MVP Jose Canseco and 1986 NFL MVP Lawrence Taylor—file for bankruptcy after successful playing careers. Teams have failed with regularity as well; there have been 11 bankruptcies since 1970. Some team bankruptcies have been marked by poor team finances: the 1975 Pittsburgh Penguins faced an overwhelming IRS lien, and again in 1998 they were unable to meet payroll. Others, such as the 1970 Seattle Pilots, sought an end-run on league bylaws. Others were hampered by their owners’ financial troubles; the 1993 Baltimore Orioles were sold after owner Eli Jacobs’s financial troubles ended his “season.”
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