The New Jersey Devils were purchased by a group led by Josh Harris back in 2013. They are now part of a sports “empire” known as the Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment. They own the Philadelphia 76ers, Crystal Palace F.C., a very small part of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and professional Esports team Dignitas. They clearly branch out into other areas, and now they are looking to take a bigger stake in the NFL. They’ve tried to stay as local as possible (well, outside of Crystal Palace which is all the way in London, England). However, there’s no chance John Mara or Christopher Johnson are selling the Giants or Jets. It looks like Harris is trying to take his opportunity where he can get it.
Harris is reportedly one of the finalists to buy the Denver Broncos. He joins a list of no more than five players according to sources in Denver. Right now, the favorite to take the franchise seems to be Walmart’s heir Rob Walton. He’s worth more than $70 billion dollars, so buying an NFL franchise to him is like buying a really expensive dinner for us. That’s a lot of competition for Harris, who himself is only worth $5.8 billion according to Forbes.
The price of the Broncos sale could be north of $4 billion. The Carolina Panthers, a team in a smaller market with a much shorter history than the Broncos, went for $2.275 billion. That was when then-owner Jerry Richardson was forced out during the Me Too movement. This sale is happening because the current owners of the Broncos are the kids of Pat Bowlen. When he passed away, the kids couldn’t come up with a succession plan, so the Broncos were made available through an auction.
This obviously impacts the Devils because this pushes them down the totem pole once again. Right now, the 76ers are the crown jewel in the Harris-Blitzer collection. After that, some could argue it’s the Devils that deserve the most attention. If Harris gets into the Denver Broncos sweepstakes, he could push the Devils down his priority list.
On top of that, could Harris consider selling the Devils because he needs the cash? NHL franchises have exploded in value over the last decade, and Harris could get out of this deal with more than double what he paid for the franchise. They bought the team for $320 million in 2013. Forbes has the Devils as worth $775 million this season.
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It’s all up in the air as Harris looks to make a major move into NFL ownership. It could make him cash poor as it might take most of the assets he has to outduel the owner of an American standard in Walmart. Everything could be on the table for Josh Harris.