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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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NBA: No Full Team Ownership By Sovereign Wealth Funds Anytime Soon

  • Adam Silver says NBA wants individuals to have full control of teams.
  • More foreign funds are making their way into American sports.
Adam-Silver-NBA
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

As the influence of foreign money in U.S. sports continues to draw increased interest and controversy, the NBA will continue to restrict majority ownership of its basketball teams.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said “there’s no contemplation right now” about allowing sovereign wealth funds take full control of franchises. Silver didn’t rule out the idea entirely, though: “I don’t want to say what could ever happen.”

The Qatar Investment Authority recently acquired a 5% stake for a reported $200 million in Monumental Sports & Entertainment — the owners of the Washington Wizards, the NHL’s Capitals, and the WNBA’s Mystics. 

The commissioner acknowledged skyrocketing team valuations make it difficult for a single individual to make a large investment in a team. 

“In part, the reason why we’ve opened up investment opportunities to private equity firms, sovereign wealth funds, is because we’re running out of individuals, frankly, who are in a position to write those kinds of checks,” he said.

Money Talks

Qatar’s MSE investment represented the first sovereign wealth fund to buy into an American sports league via those NBA, NHL, and WNBA teams. It wouldn’t be shocking to see another foreign entity follow suit with other teams in those leagues.

The next domino — a sovereign wealth fund buying a stake in an MLB or NFL team — has yet to fall.

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