Amazon chief Jeff Bezos owns a lot of stuff. But, in 2020, he could be the proud owner of one of the worst teams in the NFL--if Uncle Sam doesn't get in the way.

In a surprising report on Tuesday, No Filter Sports podcast host Eli Zaret said that he had spoken to a reliable source who was "one step removed from the actual source" (so, grain of salt) who said "Jeff Bezos will buy the Lions" next year.

According to Zaret's source, Bezos has been in talks "at least twice under the dark of night to have serious conversations."

A complication, however, might be taxes.

You see, the Detroit Lions are owned by Martha Firestone Ford. And, according to financial experts who spoke to Sports Illustrated about the deal, there's a possibility that the massive capital gains tax that Ford would pay by selling the team would make a sale a bad idea right now.

Instead, Sports Illustrated is reporting, it's in the financial interests of Ford and her family to maintain ownership over the Lions.

It's a sound argument. Capital gains tax rates can be hefty, especially when the gain is a massive one. The Ford family acquired complete interest in the Lions in 1963 for just $4.5 million. A report in September from Forbes said the Lions are now worth $1.95 billion. At a 20 percent capital gains tax rate, that could translate to a nearly $400 million tax bill.

Still, we're talking about Jeff Bezos here. And with more than $100 billion in net worth he could deploy at any time, he could certainly sweeten the pot enough to make even a $400 million tax bill worth the trouble.

Of course, the big question on everyone's mind is whether Bezos would actually want to acquire the Lions. According to a report in CBS Sports last month, Bezos has quietly shown interest in buying an NFL team. CBS Sports says there's a chance that if the Lions acquisition doesn't work out, he could buy the Denver Broncos or Seattle Seahawks.

At this point, none of that would be a surprise. Indeed, Bezos has used his wealth for plenty more than just building out his core business. He's leading Blue Origin, a rocket company with hopes of going to Mars. And, in the publishing world, he owns The Washington Post.

Adding the Lions to the Bezos side hustles would be nothing if not interesting. But whether he can succeed in making the Lions a Super Bowl contender is another story entirely.

Published on: Dec 17, 2019
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