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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Meeting the New Owners of the Sixers


          At long last the sale of the Sixers is official. I don’t make any real effort to break news on the Ink, and this was one of the more anti-climactic announcements of the sale of a franchise that may ever take place anyway. The news of the sale broke months ago, and no one knows how long it will be before the new ownership group lead by Joshua Harris will actually be able to do anything. The NBA lockout is threatening the entire 2011-2012 season.

          The titillating news of the day was that Philadelphia native and mega-star Will Smith is part of the purchase as a minority owner of the team. It will likely be little more than a “fun fact” as far as the impact on the Sixers. Let’s face it, the Fresh Prince won’t be negotiating trades or patting guys on the back at practice. He didn’t even show up to the press conference. However, his presence might give the franchise some cache from the media if they ever become a contender.

          None of this is to suggest that I’m not happy about the sale. Under Ed Snider the team was always going to be the red headed stepchild of Comcast. Reports suggest Comcast managed to saddle the new owners with a requirement to play for 10 years at the Wells Fargo Center and on SportsNet as part of the sale. (Do you really think the fact that the new owners had the press conference at the Palestra was coincidental?) It’s probably not a huge deal, but eventually it will hurt their ability to create revenue streams. As I’ve said before, fans shouldn’t care about that except for its impact on signing players.

          I was glad to hear Harris endorse Doug Collins as the coach. My only concern about the sale was that the Sixers finally had a good coach that the new owners would blow out in order to bring in “their own guy.” It was also announced today that Ed Stefanski is officially out (speaking of anti-climactic), and Rod Thorn has been handed control.

          The Sixers have also made goodwill measures in discounting some tickets and launched NewSixersOwner.com seeking feedback from fans.

          Now, whenever the lockout ends, we’ll see what the new owners are really all about.

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