Sixers hire Adam Aron as new CEO

The new Sixers management team has hired Adam M. Aron as the new CEO, per Bob Cooney of the Daily News.

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Sixers hire Adam Aron as new CEO

With the sale of the Sixers still about two weeks away from being official, the new management team led by Joshua Harris has been busy.  According to Bob Cooney of the Daily News, the group has hired Adam M. Aron as the team's chief executive officer.

Aron is a senior partner at Apollo Global Management.  He had previously been CEO at Vail Resorts and Norwegian Cruise Line, as well as senior vice president of marketing at United Airlines and Hyatt Hotels.

Aron group up in Philadelphia (Abington High, class of 1972), and got both his undergraduate (government) and MBA at Harvard University.

Aron reportedly met with Doug Collins, Rod Thorn, and Ed Stefanski at the team's practice facility, the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, which could be due for an upgrade.  Doug Collins had this to say about the practice facility:

"Josh and Adam know that we need upgrades to our practice facility. They know to make money you have to spend money."


Philadelphia 76ers Sale Complete, New Owner Joshua Harris Issues Statement

Comcast Spectacor has officially announced the sale of the Philadelphia 76ers to a group led by billionaire investor Joshua Harris. Harris reportedly paid $280 million and will own 90% of the team. Ed Snider will retain a 10% stake, but will have no say in the operations of the team.

The deal does not include any part of the Wells Fargo Center or Comcast Sportsnet, but the Sixers will continue their relationship with both. New Sixers owner Josh Harris issued the following statement.

"We are honored to have the opportunity to be affiliated with this storied franchise. As a basketball fan who attended college in Philadelphia, and with family roots here, I have always felt a strong connection to this City and the 76ers. We look forward to helping the 76ers organization build on this past season’s accomplishments in the years ahead. The ownership group also looks forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Comcast-Spectacor."

Harris is a grad of Penn’s Wharton School as are two of the other members of the new ownership group (David Blitzer & Art Wrubel). Comcast did announce the sale, but said that they will refrain from commenting until the sale is approved by the NBA’s board of governors, which is just expected to be a formality.

Sixers GM Rod Thorn, whose status after the sale isn’t exactly known, told the Daily News that he has spoken with Harris.

"This is my fourth time I’ve been involved in a sale of a team, all of them so far have been different," Thorn said. "Getting a new group and as owners everybody had different ideas how they want to set things up and run things. Until that transpires, you just don’t know until it actually happens.

"In my conversations with Mr. Harris, he seemed to be interested in continuing to grow the team and wanted the team to keep doing well."

The speculation about Thorn’s job security stems from the fact that the fourth member of the new ownership group is former player-agent and Sacramento Kings personnel exec Jason Levien, who many have speculated could have a major say in the basketball operations. However, at this point that really can’t be known and is just speculation.

So, for the first time since 1996 a major pro sports franchise in Philadelphia has been sold. Funny enough, the team that was sold in 1996 was the Sixers.


Report: Philadelphia 76ers Sale Complete, Now Awaiting NBA Approval

CBS Sports’ Ken Berger is reporting that Comcast is "poised" to announce that the sale of the Philadelphia 76ers to a group led by billionaire investor Joshua Harris has been completed. Our own Brian Ward reported last week that a source familiar with the negotiations said that a deal was expected early this week.

The next step is for the sale to be approved by the NBA’s board of governors, which is not expected to be an issue. The final price is still unknown, but the rumored number has been around $280 million. In addition, Comcast will retain ownership of the Wells Fargo Center.

Harris, who has made his billions by investing in undervalued assets, would appear to be making this move at the perfect time. When the NBA lockout ends, it will be very likely that owning an NBA team will be more lucrative than it is now. Of course, it’s also likely that there will be a hard cap, which means that having a billionaire owner won’t be quite as advantageous as it may have been before the lockout.

Plus, if the rumored price of the team is to believed, it would be well under the $330 million valuation put on the team by Forbes. When you consider the fact that this is a team in a top five TV market, which also happens to love basketball at all levels, this could really be a steal for Harris and co in a few years. Business Insider says that Harris is getting the team "cheap" and says that if the team can become a contender, the deal will look like "highway robbery." Of course, that last point is key. When they're winning, the Sixers can be a massive draw in this town. And we've certainly seen the Phillies go from afterthoughts to dominating the local sports scene when they started being successful. So it's certainly possible.

Ensuring the success of the basketball side of the organization may very well fall to Jason Levien, a former player agent and executive with the Kings, who is also a part of the investment group with Harris that has purchased the team. Levien gave up a lucrative agent business to move into management with the Kings, but that relationship last only a year and a half after he clashed with GM Geoff Petrie. So while there has been no indications that the new ownership would look to clean house with Ed Stefanski and Rod Thorn, it would make a lot of sense to assume that Levien, as part owner, would like a hand in the basketball operations of the team.


Comcast Confirms Sixers Sale Discussions

Comcast Chief Operating Officer Peter Lukko released a statement today confirming that there are indeed “discussions” about the future of the Philadelphia 76ers.

“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.”

The statement comes on the heels of an ESPN report saying that the team is close to being sold to a group led by billionaire investor Josh Harris. Also part of the group is former agent Jason Levien, who has previously repped players like Kevin Martin, Luol Deng and Udonis Haslem.

Once a sale is finalized, which according the report could be “imminent”, it would not become official until approved by the NBA’s board of governors. We’ll continue to update this story as it develops.

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