Navigate the stops and outcry as the coronavirus spreads

It’s hard to own an NBA franchise at times like these. The coronavirus has closed your arena, China is no longer the booming market it looked like just six months ago, and your peers are making the game’s most loyal customers angry. And after for the NBA this season remains fluid.

The NBA has become the cool kid among sports leagues over the past decade and a place where private equity and tech billionaires can invest in. escalating purchase prices. Saving a few billion dollars for a team gives owners a chance not only to participate in the big comebacks that the league has offered in recent years, but also to rub shoulders with the celebrities who dot the seats of the courts during basketball games, as well as elite players, such as LeBron James and Stephen Curry, who are global superstars with huge following on and off social media.

The financial outlook for NBA teams surged after the league’s television contract with TNT and ESPN tripled in value and the new collective agreement with players slashed player costs as a percentage of revenue. International potential is strongest among American sports leagues, even after the China explodes in the fall triggered by a pro-democracy tweet from Houston Rockets GM Daryl morey.

There are now 22 billionaires who own at least 20% of an NBA team, not counting teams owned by big companies like Madison Square Garden and Rogers Communications and smaller investors like Patrick Soon-Shiong, Michael Rubin and Mark Stevens. . The richest of the current owners is former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who bought the Los Angeles Clippers for $ 2 billion in 2014. The 22 together are worth $ 141 billion.

These owners face a full stop of their coronavirus games, as in all sports leagues, but the wealth of the NBA and its owners sparked a huge backlash among fans this week after the Philadelphia 76ers announced plans to cut employee wages by 20%, as first reported. times Marc Stein of the New York Times. This came on the heels of some owners dragging their feet to pledge to pay hourly arena workers for missed games.

“As we navigate this evolving COVID-19 environment, we are aware of the long-term impact that the suspension of live events and games will have on our organization and our industry,” said Harris Blitzer president Sports & Entertainment, Scott O’Neil, in a statement. On Monday. “To ensure that we can continue to support and operate our businesses in these uncertain times without downsizing, we are asking our full-time salaried employees to temporarily reduce their pay by up to 20% and move to a four-week shift. days.“The cup would not apply to the players.

The outlook was bad for an ownership group that includes billionaires Josh Harris (net worth $ 3.7 billion) and Michael Rubin (net worth $ 2.9 billion). Harris and David Blitzer led a group that paid $ 287 million in 2011 for the team. A massive turnaround on and off the field took the club’s value to $ 2 billion, an annualized appreciation of 27% for HBSE, who also bought the New Jersey Devils in 2013.

In addition to a 600% return on the Sixers’ initial investment, the team made operating profit north of $ 80 million last year and led the NBA in terms of participation by match when the season has been suspended. Insist on would have been furious on planned salary cuts.

Sixers star Joel Embiid told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne on Tuesday that he was pledge of $ 500,000 to help coronavirus relief efforts and struggling Sixers employees. “Other NBA owners are watching the Sixers and weighing the fallout of public relations versus wanting to do the same with pay cutsNBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted.No owner wants to log on to Twitter and see their net worth grow after breaking news like this.

Seeing the writing on the wall, Harris turned the tide and pledged to pay all Sixers and Devils employees on Tuesday. His statement: “Our commitment has been to do our best to keep all of our employees working during this very difficult situation. As part of an effort to achieve this, we asked salaried employees to receive a temporary 20% pay cut while preserving all employee benefits – and keeping our 1,500 hourly workers paid throughout. throughout the regular season. After listening to our staff and our players, it is clear that this was the wrong decision.

Here’s a look at the 20 richest billionaire owners in the NBA.

Owner, team, net worth

1. Steve Ballmer (Los Angeles Clippers): $ 51.4 billion

Ballmer scored a huge victory this week for his dream of building a new arena. He bought the forum for $ 400 million from the Madison Square Garden Company, which attempted to block a new Clippers arena near the Forum in Inglewood, California.

2. Philippe Anschutz (Los Angeles Lakers): $ 11.2 billion

Anschutz owns a third of the Lakers, plus the arena they play in, the Staples Center, in addition to the NHL Kings.

3. Stanley kroenke (Denver Nuggets): $ 10 billion

The real estate and sports mogul has NBA, NHL, NFL, MLS and Premier League teams.

4. Joseph Tsai (Brooklyn Nets): $ 9.9 billion

The co-founder of the Alibaba group finalized its purchase of the Nets last year for $ 2.3 billion and bought the Barclays Center for an additional $ 1 billion.

5. Robert Pera (Memphis Grizzlies): $ 7.1 billion

Pera owns nearly three-quarters of wireless equipment maker Ubiquiti Networks. He was the primary investor in the purchase of the Grizzlies in 2012.

6. Daniel Gilbert (Cleveland Cavaliers): $ 6.2 billion

Gilbert made his first fortune in Quicken Loans, the largest online mortgage lender, which he co-founded in 1985 at the age of 22.

7. Tom Gorès (Detroit Pistons): $ 5.7 billion

Gores and his brother Alec are both private equity billionaires. The Pistons opened a new $ 90 million headquarters and training facility in September.

8. Micky Arison (Miami Heat): $ 5.3 billion

Arison’s net worth has fallen 33% in the past six weeks with the collapse in Carnival Corp’s stock price. The world’s largest cruise ship operator was founded by Arison’s father in 1972.

9. Tilman Fertitta (Houston Rockets): $ 4.4 billion

Fertitta laid off about 40,000 employees in its empire of casinos and restaurants to reduce the economic impact caused by coronavirus-induced closures. His fortune comes from his ownership of Golden Nugget Casinos and Landry’s, a Texas-based restaurant and entertainment company.

10. Marquez Cuban (Dallas Mavericks): $ 4.3 billion

Cuban was one of the first owners of sports teams pledge to pay hourly arena workers for games missed during the coronavirus crisis. He invested over $ 20 million as a “shark” on the popular ABC show Shark aquarium spectacle.

11. Joshua Harris (Philadelphia 76ers): $ 3.7 billion

Harris co-founded private equity powerhouse Apollo Global Management in 1990 with fellow billionaires Leon Black and Marc Rowan. He remains the general manager.

12. Gayle Benson (New Orleans Pelicans): $ 3.2 billion

Benson inherited the Pelicans and the NFL Saints when her husband, Tom, passed away in 2018.

13. Glen Taylor (Minnesota Timberwolves): $ 2.8 billion

Its printing company, Taylor Corp., generates more than $ 2 billion in revenue per year. Taylor also has stakes in the Minnesota MLS and WNBA teams.

14. Grass Simon (Indiana Pacers): $ 2.6 billion

The real estate mogul bought the Pacers with his late brother Melvin in 1983 for $ 10.5 million. Simon Property Group is one of the largest real estate investment funds in the world, with 206 properties in the United States

15. Antoine Ressler (Atlanta Hawks): $ 2.4 billion

Spring co-founded private equity firm Ares Management in 1997. He owns a small portion of the Milwaukee Brewers, in addition to his controlling stake in the Hawks.

16. Michael Jordan (Charlotte Hornets): $ 2.1 billion

NBA GOAT sold a minority stake in the Hornets in September in a deal that valued the team at $ 1.5 billion. Nike pays Jordan over $ 100 million per year based on the sales growth of the company’s Jordan brand.

17. Marc Lasry (Milwaukee Bucks): $ 1.8 billion

Lasry, ahPeak Fund Titan, joined Wes Edens to buy the Bucks in 2014 for $ 550 million. It was born in Morocco and moved to the United States at the age of 7 with his family.

18. Gail Miller (Utah Jazz): $ 1.7 billion

Miller transferred ownership of the Jazz in 2017 to a family heirloom trust to deter his heirs from selling or moving the team. Gail and her since-deceased husband Larry bought the team for $ 22 million in 1986.

19. Jerry Reinsdorf (Chicago Bulls): $ 1.5 billion

Reinsdorf led a group of investors who bought a controlling stake in the Bulls for $ 9.2 million in 1985. Good timing. It was a year after the team drafted Michael Jordan, which led the Bulls to six NBA titles. The team is now worth $ 3.2 billion.

20. Théodore Léonsis (Washington Wizards): $ 1.4 billion

Leonsis first built his fortune as a senior executive at AOL, before investing in sports teams like the Wizards and the NHL Capitals.

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