Entrepreneur Michael Rubin is selling his 10 percent stake in Harris Blitzer Sports Entertainment, which owns the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils, while his sports giant Fanatics is making new deals with athletes and creating a new gambling and betting division that is hindering league team work. ownership rules.
Rubin, Fanatics’ executive chairman, has realized over the past few years that it’s in his best interest and the company’s best interest that he sell his interest in professional sports ownership as Fanatics expands. Those who knew about Rubin’s decision understood that the rise of fanatics in new sectors made this transition inevitable.
Fanatics has grown into a sports merchandising giant and grown into a global business that now includes deals with individual players from professional leagues through the company’s new business of selling cards and collectibles. Fanatics will soon launch a gambling vertical; another factor why the business became a conflict for Rubin, since he was the owner of the NBA and NHL teams.
The sale of Rubin’s shares will be completed in the near future.
“Given Michael’s huge success in turning Fanatics into a global platform for all major sports, his decision came as no surprise,” said HBSE co-founder Josh Harris. “I am so grateful to him for the years of partnership. His fierce passion, entrepreneurial mindset and unwavering commitment to doing the right thing has left an indelible mark on the Sixers organization.
“Michael will always be a member of our HBSE and Sixers family, still on the court and a key partner in our collective quest to be a force for good in Philadelphia.”
“Michael is a visionary and innovator who has been instrumental in helping us grow and position HBSE for future success,” said HBSE co-founder David Blitzer. “He has been a wonderful friend and business partner for the past 11 years and his instincts, work ethic, passion and ability to bring people together have helped him become one of the industry’s most influential and successful leaders.
“Michael has used those same qualities to help us develop and grow, while becoming a force for positive, inspiring change in our communities. As he prepares for this new chapter in his career, I look forward to seeing Michael further revolutionize the Fanatics business, unlocking its full potential, connecting sports fans from all over the world through many new platforms and verticals.”
Rubin, whose net worth is $8 billion according to Forbes, has no plans to buy shares in another group of owners in the future.
“Michael’s commitment, passion and business acumen have greatly benefited the 76ers and the NBA, but the Fanatics’ ability to build a global digital sports platform by moving into new and emerging businesses makes owning a team not feasible at this time,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “I look forward to continuing to work closely with Michael to expand the Fanatics’ partnership with the league.”
Rubin was honored with the Sports Business Journal’s 2022 Executive of the Year award in May, and the industry believes that his credibility as one of the most influential people in professional sports is only growing as he moves away from team leadership. He could potentially help the 76ers more than ever as a superfan who no longer has the shackles of ownership that limit his ability to exercise his wide range of relationships and power.
(Photo: Kyle Terada/USA Today)