Tag: Ed Snider

Sixers outgoing owner says he was tired of losing money

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Philadelphia 76ers fans were high fiving each other when it was announced a few months back that Ed Snider and Comcast-Spectactor announced they were selling the team to Joshua Harris and a team of investors. Snider was seen as a guy who loved hockey and the Flyers, and happened to own the 76ers, too.

But Snider told the Associated Press it was not easy to sell the Sixers, but that the economics of the NBA forced his hand.

“It was mostly economics,” Snider said of the decision.

Losing money?

“A lot,” Snider said, declining specifics. “We felt that we had given it our best shot and it was time for someone else to take over.”

This is what owners have been saying — even ones in large cities and good sports towns like Philadelphia have trouble turning a profit. The Sixers should be able to make money. Of course, they have been mediocre and dull on the floor for nearly a decade (since the Allen Iverson led run to the finals) and that has not inspired fans to pack the arena or sponsors to flock to the team. Philly fans know their sports and are not going to pay big money for uninspired fare.

The sale of the team to Harris is expected to be approved by the other owners soon.

Snider and Comcast-Spectacor did not give up control of the Wells Fargo Center building, where the Sixers are tenants. The company is focusing more on that end of the business, which shows you where it thinks the profits are to be made.

Get to know me: Joshua Harris (soon to be 76ers owner)

Joshua Harris

This has been the general reaction of Sixers fans to the team being sold (the other NBA owners just need to approve it): “Good, Ed Snider only cared about hockey… wait, who is buying the team?”

The answer is Joshua Harris.

Which leads to the next question, who is Joshua Harris?

Kate Fagan delves into that over at the Philadelphia Inquirer in a post every 76ers fan should read. Philly fans may not know the guy, but they are going to like him.

Harris, head of the investment group whose ownership of the 76ers is pending approval by the NBA board of governors, seems like a man with few weaknesses: He’s a billionaire, a respected businessman, a family man, and an athlete – not necessarily listed in order of importance.

He ran the 2010 New York City Marathon in a time of 3 hours, 53 minutes, 41 seconds. He has five children with his wife, Marjorie. According to Forbes, he’s worth $1.2 billion. He recently attended his 20-year reunion for Harvard Business School and came across as the same guy he was back in the days when M.C. Hammer was cool and when Harris couldn’t afford to buy a small country: kind, down-to-earth, charming, clearly the smartest in a room filled with intelligence.

Harris also attended Penn in the mid-1980s, when the Sixers won the NBA title, and that’s when he became a Sixers fan (and Philly sports fan generally). He now rums a private equity firm — Apollo Global Management — but he is buying the team with a group of investors, not with the firm (as happened with Tom Gores in Detroit).

It’s interesting that he has largely avoided the spotlight for a guy who has amassed more than $1 billion in wealth. The Sixers purchase is really his first move that will generate headlines with his name in them. Read the entire profile, he sounds like an interesting man. And Sixers fans will like what they read.

“I can’t see him using this as a toy or a status symbol or some kind of crown jewel to illustrate his success to people or to himself,” (college friend Scott) Stewart said. “He’s a serious businessman, and he wants to make it a serious success. Is this a toy? No. There’s just no way. . . . The way to be successful in this case in the NBA is to win NBA championships. It’s a very definitive and tangible goal. His track record of success would lead you to believe that that’s his ambition with the team: not only to win one but win multiple.”

Report: Deal reached in sale Philadelphia 76ers


UPDATE JULY 13, 6:23 pm: Over at CSNPhilly.com, Dei Lynam has confirmed that a deal has been reached. She also talks about the next steps in the process.

 Now the deal must be approved by the league’s board of governors. The NBA needs to approve the sale and they will be thorough in their investigation. It is difficult to say exactly how long that will take but according to Adam Silver, the NBA’s deputy commissioner, the process can be lengthy.

“It’s difficult to say how long the process would take before we see what the actual deal is but the process usually takes about two months,” he explained in an e-mail. “But it could be longer depending on how many background checks need to be conducted, the type of financing the buyers are using, etc. Approval does not have to be done in person but a group of owners would need to interview the buyers at some point before the board votes.”

July 12, 4:40 pm: We’ve been telling you it was coming for a while, not it looks like sale of the Philadelphia 76ers will come to pass in the next couple days.

So reports Ken Berger of CBS Sports (a report since confirmed by other sources).

Comcast-Spectacor has a deal in place to sell the Philadelphia 76ers to an investor group led by Joshua Harris of Apollo Global Management, LLC, CBSSports.com has learned….

David Blitzer of The Blackstone Group will join Harris as lead partner, according to sources familiar with the deal. Former player agent and Sacramento Kings executive Jason Levien also is part of the proposed ownership group, sources said. Apollo, which describes itself on its web site as specializing in “contrarian” investments and “distressed” assets, and Blackstone are not involved in the transaction.

While the price tag is not known for sure, Bloomberg suggested recently it would be about $280 million. Ed Snider has owned the Sixers, NHL’s Flyers (his real passion) and the Wells Fargo Center where they both play. This sale is for the Sixers only, not the building or any part of the Flyers.

Sixers fans should welcome the sale — Snider was a hockey guy who happened to own the NBA team. The new ownership group should bring a different level of passion to the table.

One factor in Iguodala rumors: Who owns the team?


Andrea Iguodala is being traded to the Clippers. Or the Warriors. Or the Magic. Or probably 26 other teams who have inquired about the services of one of the best perimeter defenders in the league.

There is an assumption that the Sixers are going to move Iggy. With that, any smart GM would at least call up and get a feel for what might be needed to make a deal work.

But the assumption that Philadelphia wants to move Iguodala may have one flaw — what if the new owner doesn’t want to?

We told you about reports that the Sixers may be sold from Flyers-loving Ed Snider to Joshua Harris, that talks are on going and things can happen soon. As Phil Sheridan said at the Philadelphia Inquirer, that raises a lot of questions.

Getting a new billionaire owner isn’t necessarily a magic solution to a sports franchise’s problems. Ask fans of the NFL team in Washington about that. We don’t know whether Joshua Harris is the next Daniel Snyder or James Dolan or whether he’d be another Mark Cuban or Arthur Blank. We don’t even know whether any of those examples would be the right sort to restore the Sixers to first-class citizenship….

One worry is that he’d see the team as merely another business to strip and flip, although there are NBA rules against downsizing the roster. Another worry is that the team would be just a toy, a vanity project for the 46-year-old Harris until he gets bored with it.

The best case, of course, is that he’s a competitive guy with a mean streak who will do whatever it takes to win a title. It looks as if we’ll find out.

The new owner and the new Collective Bargaining Agreement will have a lot of say about if and where Iguodala is moved. Which is to say, don’t expect anything to happen fast.

Report: Philadelphia 76ers sale “imminent”


UPDATE 12:58 pm: Via CSN Philadelphia, Comcast-Spectacor president Peter Luukko released a statement about the sale and situation:

“I can confirm that we are in discussions about the future of the team, but these discussions are confidential and we cannot talk about the details. At some point, we may have something more to say about these discussions, but we will not be making any comments at this point.”

That confirms they are taking place and are serious enough that Comcast-Spectacor is not blowing off the report. These sales are detailed and tend to take time, so we’ll see how close they really are. Also, once a sale is completed it is not finalized until approved by the NBA’s Board of Governors (the other owners).

11:35 am: In a surprise turn of events, the Philadelphia 76ers may soon have new ownership.

That’s the report from Henry Abbott at ESPN.

Philadelphia 76ers owner Comcast- Spectacor is in talks to sell the team to a group led by New York-based leveraged buyout specialist Joshua Harris, according to sources.

Negotiations are ongoing and a source with knowledge of the talks called a deal “imminent.”…

Harris, 46, co-founded Apollo Global Management, which invests primarily in distressed properties, in 1990. In Forbes’ 2011 billionaire rankings, Harris was reported to have a net worth of $1.5 billion. Other partners in the deal include private equity executive David Blitzer and former NBA player agent and Sacramento Kings executive Jason Levien.

Levien is still an active agent for players such as Kevin Martin and Udonis Haslem among others, but he would have to shed those to take on this new role. One would expect with his experience he would handle a lot of day-to-day operations for the new ownership.

Ed Snider, now 78, has controlled the team through his holding company Spectacor for five years. Spectator merged with Comcast, which is why Comcast-Spectacor is listed as the owner of the team.

Snider is a hockey guy — he is a founder of the Philadelphia Flyers and is in the hockey Hall of Fame. He also owns the Wells Fargo Center, where the Sixers and Flyers play. He is selling only the Sixers, who would be a tenant in the building.

It will be interesting to see what, if any, changes this means for the Sixers. They are a team that started to find its way back from mediocrity last season, taking a leap forward under coach Doug Collins (and with an actually healthy Elton Brand in the middle). They made the playoffs but lost in the first round to the Miami Heat.