SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Sale Would Be Great for 76ers' Fans

Why?

Because as Comcast, they're part of a corporate entertainment portfolio, and their "owner," Ed Snider, never understood much, if anything, about basketball (except when the team was a tenant in his building). The problem for the hoops team is that Comcast' owns the Flyers, Snider's their leader, too, and, well, having a hockey guy run a hoops team is like having, well, a hoops guy running a hockey team.

It hasn't worked and it doesn't work.

My guess is that New York financier Josh Harris is a hoops fan, can't budge the Knicks from the Dolan family and either didn't want or missed out on the opportunity to buy the Nets. As much as Harris's $1.5 billion net worth is staggering, he wouldn't have been able to win a bidding war against a Russian oligarch anyway. You can bet your Faberge egg on that one.

Anyway, the next best thing for Harris is the team 90 miles to the south, the 76ers, with a good young nucleus and an energetic coach who revived the franchise. True, most NBA teams lose money and, true, the 76ers had the sixth-worst attendance in the league, and, true, the average salary for an NBA player is $5 million, but it's also true that this summer's collective bargain agreement negotiations might just well rearrange the salary structure in the NBA the way the owners believed they had to in the NHL in order for that league to survive (come to think of it, perhaps the 76ers could use the influence/talents of Ed Snider this summer, if only regarding the CBA negotiations for the NBA). So, Comcast might think it's getting out before an anguish-laden, bloody contract negotiation, while Harris might think he's getting in when the buying is good, because the new CBA (in his view) only will serve to improve the average team's profitability.

If Harris is looking on the 76ers' purchase as the ability to turn around a distressed asset, that will be one thing (and perhaps he won't endear himself to the 76ers' fans). If, on the other, he's looking to do that and he is a big hoops fan, well, the 76ers franchise will fare far better under his stewardship than they have under Ed Snider's.

76ers' fans and Philadelphia-area hoops fans have known this for a while -- when it comes to hoops, Comcast's sports emperor, the almost sycophantishly referred to "Mr." Snider, has been naked for a while. It will be good to see someone take over the team who will make the 76ers -- and only the 76ers -- his top priority.

Close the deal, Mr. Harris. Pro hoops fans in Philadelphia can't wait for a new era to begin.

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