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.