18 Comments

The fact that he is retaining control of basketball operations, along with his interesting comment about the casino/resort, to me, feels like a 'tell' in terms of the motivation. I don't think it was a liquidity play or anything more than involving a motivated partner to help finance an even bigger vision. And the Adelson's interest in the Mavericks would seem to be less about adding the vanity plate of a sports team to their holdings, and more about taking a huge step into the potentially lucrative synergy of sports/gambling/entertainment.

Just like several casinos in Vegas clamored to find a way to include a Cirque du Soleil show once it proved to be a lucrative 'resident artist,' clearly there's been an intrigue in the sports/gambling connection as Vegas has opened up to various franchises. But there's a finite number of sporting teams that Vegas, alone, can handle, and it remains to be seen if the A's, for example, will even succeed (I have my doubts, not just because I'm from the Bay Area and have little faith in John Fisher).

Expanding where sports and gambling can intersect seems like the natural next step, and Texas does feel like it's shaping up to be a battle-ground on this front now with this purchase. Interesting to note that, after Sheldon Adelson passed away in 2021, the Las Vegas Sands corporation, despite it's name, has ceased to own any actual properties in Las Vegas (all of their actual property holdings are in Macau and Singapore), so it makes some sense that they might try to see a vision outside of Vegas.

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Nov 29, 2023Liked by Marc Stein

Congrats, Marc! Nice to see your name all over the hoops news this morning.

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Not understanding how Cuban would still be in control of the team in any real way. Or rather, it would be at the whim of Adelson if she is the majority owner of the franchise?

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Any chance the league rejects the deal where a non majority stake owner still has operational control? Or rejecting it because of the casino ties with a non league partner (ceasers, fan duel, etc)

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This is shaping up to be quite the grudge match in Texas. An unstoppable force (gambling) vs an immovable object (Texas's political history with gambling).

Cuban made his first chess move...

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He merged into Vegas sands. He’s mo green. They give him cash and team bb control. He gives them strategic control and majority ownership so they can put an arena and a casino together in Frisco

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The valuation is an interesting wrinkle. That suggests this is not just a liquidity play (e.g., to fund another big purchase), or else he would have negotiated for more money.

Clearly he’s interested in gambling. Maybe this is a leverage play with that in mind. It brings the gambling and real estate expertise to Dallas, like Stein reported, to maybe have more muscle and credibility when lobbying state legislators and pursuing a new arena. And if that doesn’t work, he probably just pocketed several billion dollars toward the purchase of an expansion franchise in Vegas.

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As soon as the purchase price of the Suns was announced, I said in these comments that the pull was going to be too much for owners who bought a while ago for a fraction of the current value not to cash in. I specifically mentioned Jordan and Cuban and said that if the Spurs end up with Wemby, the franchise's value would be too much for the Holt family not to sell as well. Even for billionaires, the return on investment is too extreme.

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Good for Cuban, but the Adelsons are people who prefer autocracy. The league shouldn't rubber stamp this transaction.

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