Thanks to Timothy Redinger, Founding Co-Editor of Sabrenoise.com and Associate Director of Fansided NHL, for bringing this interview to my attention. It features Josh Harris, the New Jersey Devils’ brand new co-owner and Bloomberg News’ Cristina Aleschi. Credit to the interview goes to Bloomberg Televison. A video of the video can be found below.
Apollo Global Management CIO and Co-Founder and owner of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils, Josh Harris talks to Bloomberg Television’s Cristina Alesci about his recent purchase of the New Jersey Devils. Harris tells Aleschi that the arena – The Prudential Center – was financially more important to him than the Devils.
** MANDATORY CREDIT: BLOOMBERG TELEVISION **
On why he is investing in sports:
“I watch sports. I am a fan. I enjoy being involved at the highest level… The NHL and the NBA are incredibly competitive, world-class sports leagues… It’s a great business opportunity. In my day job at Apollo, we like to buy great franchises that are undervalued. In both of these situations, we happened on fantastic franchises that we had to buy. In the case of the Sixers, a corporate carve out, very complicated. The other case of the Devils, you buying a company that had too much debt and we were able to get great deals on those.
On the New Jersey Devils, Prudential Center and Newark:
“Devils are an incredibly winning hockey franchise, three Stanley Cup banners, right up there and a number of other successful hockey exploits… This area is a world class arena. It’s one of the most modern arena in the country. Newark is up and coming. This is a great concert venue. It attracts lots of super stars. And we think that with the new capital structure and the new ownership group and the new management we put in, that we’ll be able to make this arena really realize its potential financially. But also we’ll be able to attract and create a better fan experience and attract great acts.”
On how much did the arena and controlling the arena play:
“It’s very important. This arena, you know, just under half a billion dollars to build and it’s important. Newark is a up and coming community. There’s lot of land around the arena that we hope to develop and bring in retail and restaurants. And we hope to improve the area. And that’s going to help the arena. So it was very, very important…We think the arena’s going to make an awful lot of money on other events, particularly concerns and other entertainment events.”
On whether the team or the arena factored into her decision
“I’d say emotionally, I love sports. And I think the Devils are a very winning hockey team. And it’s going to be very exciting to be a part of it. Financially, the arena was more important.”
On whether he would move the Devils:
“We’re really focused on it working here. And it is working here. And, you know, every year more and more fans are coming to see the Devils. And, Like I said, when you look at the New Jersey market, and you look at it including New York, it’s probably the biggest market in the country. But even if you exclude New York it would be in the top five. And therefore, there’s no reason why hockey isn’t going to work here.”
On his return expectations:
“The time frame and the return expectations unfortunately for me, aren’t going to be as big as private equity returns and the timeframe for me is probably a lot longer than private equity. It’s better than the one percent I can earn at J.P. Morgan. So I get to have fun, earn a decent return and hopefully make some money in the process and help the community as well.”
On how he juggles managing a $113 billion asset manager with managing two very time-intensive sport teams:
“The way I run the Devils and the Sixers is bring in great management. I say at the board level, and so really it’s just another portfolio company or two – run by the same management team. And so it really doesn’t take that much time of mine. I love to go to the games…Anyone who knows me, and our investors certainly do, knows that I’m, you know, fully committed to working 24/7 at Apollo. But at the same time, going to a few games isn’t really a big distraction.”