ESPN is reporting what could be a potentially huge story that Comcast is in talks to sell the 76ers to a group led by billionaire investor Joshua Harris. Harris made his money as a leveraged buyout specialist in New York. Also part of the reported group are private equity executive David Blitzer and former agent and Kings exec Jason Levien. ESPN quotes sources familiar with the negotiations who say the sale could be "imminent."
Both Harris and Blitzers are graduates of Penn's Wharton School of Business, which gives them some sort of ties to Philadelphia. Since 1996 the Sixers have been owned by Philly based cable giants Comcast, who also own the Wells Fargo Center and Comcast Sportsnet Philly, where Sixers games are shown. According to the report, Comcast would retain ownership of the arena and the Sixers would play there as tenants.
While Comcast is the parent company of the team, it has been controlled by the Comcast-Spectacor arm which is run by Ed Snider. Snider helped found the Philadelphia Flyers and has always shown a lot more interest in and been much more of a public face for the hockey team than the basketball team.
For the Sixers, a potential sale will likely be seen as a positive. For one, the team would have an ownership group solely focused on them, as opposed to splitting time with the Flyers, who are clearly the "favorite child" of Ed Snider anyway. In addition, having corporate ownership does somewhat limit what the team can do in terms of spending and luxury tax. While there's no way of telling how this Harris led group would act, they at least would have the autonomy to make decisions that other private ownership in the NBA enjoys.
This story is just breaking, so there's sure to be more news in the coming days/hours.