Anyone with some extra cash seems interested in purchasing the Los Angeles Clippers these days.
With current owner Donald Sterling recently banned for life by the NBA, we could soon see the team put up for sale. Given their location and current level of success, naturally quite a few names have stepped forward with interest in buying the Clippers.
While they may not ultimately come away with the team, groups headed by Oprah Winfrey and Magic Johnson seem to have taken the lead in becoming the next owner of the Clippers.
The Milwaukee Bucks were the most recent franchise to switch hands, and despite being valued at $405 million, ended up selling for $550 million.
As of January, the Clippers were valued at $575 million according to Forbes. As the website notes, their value could be also be on the rise.
The team sale is going to crush the Bucks’ sale price and could reach $1 billion. The NBA is on the verge of signing a new national TV package that is expected to top $2 billion annually, compared to $930 million a year under the old deals. The Clippers local TV deal with Fox Sports expires after the 2015-16 season and will be renewed at a massive premium. The Los Angeles Lakers just kicked off a 20-year, $3.6 billion local deal with Time Warner Cable.
It’s been confirmed that Oprah Winfrey, along with David Geffen and Larry Ellison, will place a bid to buy the team, should the opportunity become available (via ESPN.com).
Winfrey is among the most wealthy and recognizable female figures in the world today. With a net worth of $2.9 billion, it’s likely Oprah could comfortably afford the team by herself. It appears her interest doesn’t revolve around personally controlling the team, but rather the impact someone of her race would have as an owner.
“Oprah is not interested in running the team,” Geffen told ESPN. “She thinks it would be a great thing for an important black American to own [another] franchise.
We know the interest is definitely there between the group. Geffen once offered to buy the franchise in 2010 for $700 million but was turned down.
While the price may end up being significantly higher, the three should have no problem scraping together enough change.
While he hasn’t publicly said it, Yahoo Sports is reporting that “Magic’s absolutely interested” in owning the Clippers.
If this move did ever come to fruition, it would represent some sweet justice for a man that wasn’t even supposed to be invited to Clippers’ games, according to Sterling.
Magic is obviously a huge presence in Los Angeles, and would be welcome by the NBA as a majority owner. He may also be the favorite for the job, according to Forbes.com.
If interested, the Johnson group is the clear favorite. The NBA would love to bring Magic into the fold. He is royalty in NBA circles. The Johnson/Guggenheim group blew other bidders out of the water paying $2 billion for the Dodgers. Guggenheim would also love to get its hands on the Clippers for TV purposes. The Dodgers’ rich price tag was fueled by an expected local TV deal with Time Warner Cable, which eventually climbed to $8.5 billion. TWC is having trouble getting carriers to pick up the Dodgers’ new regional sports channel, but adding another team to the mix would make the channel more valuable.
While we don’t know who will become the next owner of the Los Angeles Clippers quite yet, we can be assured that the new franchise holder will certainly be better suited for the job than the last.