Two Changes In Ownership …

About a week ago, I got an email from Gregg Drinnan – – former sports editor of the Kamloops Daily News and now the content creator for the blog Taking Note – – with a link to an article at something called “3DownNation” which is a clever name for an entity that focuses on Canadian football and the CFL.  Gregg Drinnan’s only comment in the email was:

“This is going to be interesting, but he’s French-Canadian and has a whole pile of money.”

According to the good folks at 3DownNation, the Montreal Alouettes have a new owner.  Recall that the CFL took over the franchise recently and was seeking new ownership that would provide the franchise with stability.  The new owner is Pierre Karl Péladeau who – in addition to having deep pockets – was formerly the leader of the political entity, Parti Quebecois, which advocated for the separation of the Province of Quebec from Canada.  I thought that is what Gregg Drinnan meant by “going to be interesting.”  But wait, there’s more…

Much of Péladeau’s fortune comes from a business entity that is described as a “media and telecommunications empire”.  And that entity does not own the TV rights to CFL games; those games are on a competing network.  Here is the link to the piece by 3DownNation folks if you want an overview of this “interesting situation.”

It seems to me that there are an unusual number of sports franchises that are “up for sale” at the moment.  In the EPL, Liverpool and Manchester United are on the market and a much smaller club, Bournemouth, may need a financial takeover.  The Washington Commanders in the NFL are taking bids for the team.  The Washington Nationals are on the market and until very recently, the Los Angeles Angels were also for sale.  There is a tentative agreement in place for the Minnesota Timberwolves to change ownership and that deal is supposed to close in about a month or so.

And on top of all that turmoil, the latest announcement is that Michael Jordan is considering selling all or part of his holding in the Charlotte Hornets.  That is news of a different sort.  Maybe the sale of Liverpool and Manchester United might have a ripple effect on the EPL; I said maybe.  But in the cases of the other major sports franchises that might change owners, none of those transactions appear capable of rocking the leagues themselves.  If Michael Jordan distances himself from the NBA, that could easily be the case for the NBA.

If you want to pick nits, Michael Jordan has not been a magical owner of the Charlotte franchise since acquiring a majority interest there in 2010.  His presence at the head of the organization did not magnetically attract great players to come and play for him – – although many would probably loved to have played with him in his prime.  Despite that “shortcoming”, Michael Jordan still represents an important part of the image the NBA seeks to present to its fans.  Lest you think that Michael Jordan is “yesterday’s news” or some sort of old codger who is out of tune with the modern NBA fan, consider that his shoe brand, Air Jordan, had sales last year reported to be just over $5B.  Even though I consider the shoes to be ridiculously over-priced, those sales figures say that about 25 million pairs of those shoes went out the doors of retail outlets around the world.

Michael Jordan comports himself differently from today’s sports “icons”.  He does not seek to be “trending” on social media; he rarely gives interviews and never makes appearances on television or podcast outlets.  I suspect that many readers here do not know that to celebrate his recent 60th birthday, Michael Jordan made a special donation to one of his favorite charities – – Make A Wish Foundation – – worth $10M.  I am going to go out on a limb here and predict that no one is ever going to see Michael Jordan rapping and waving a gun around in strip club.

Were it not for Julius Irving, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan, the NBA might have remained the floundering entity that it was in the 1970s and early 1980s.  Those four men saved the NBA from irrelevance if not extinction.  When Michael Jordan recedes to the background after selling out his stake in the Hornets, only Magic Johnson will still be visible to NBA fans.  Forget all the stats and the highlight reels and the social media hype and ask yourself this question:

  • Who might make up the quartet of current – and recently retired players – who have the heft to take the load from the four men cited above?

I can be convinced to put Tim Duncan on that list of folks who might need to carry the positive image of the league forward.  After that, I have a problem with just about anyone else you might propose – – but someone will need to pick up the slack here.

Finally, today has been about people with great wealth.  So, let me close with this view of wealth from the American humorist, James Thurber:

“Early to rise and early to bed makes a male healthy and wealthy and dead.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………