Will Lasry Sell His Bucks Ownership?
"Open" to selling and would make a huge profit, NBA insiders suggest.
NBA insider Marc Stein recently reported that Milwaukee Bucks owner Marc Lasry is “open” to selling his stake in the franchise. Stein, considered one of the top NBA reporters, cited growing “whispers” he’s heard from NBA sources to that effect.
Lasry and Wes Edens bought the Bucks from Herb Kohl in 2014 for $550 million, though the true price was $450 million, since Kohl, as part of the sales deal, promised to donate $100 million to a new arena.
And that new arena has helped the value of the Bucks franchise mushroom in value since then. The team is now estimated by Forbes to be worth $2.3 billion, “a five-fold increase in value since the team was purchased in April 2014,” Urban Milwaukee has reported. “This has helped the Bucks team jump from the least valuable franchise to 15th place, ahead of 10 other NBA teams, including those in far bigger metro areas, like Atlanta, Detroit, Denver, Portland and Cleveland.”
A key factor in the rise in value of the Bucks franchise is the building of the new arena, Fiserv Forum, the story noted. The full cost of its public subsidy was estimated at more than $800 million by Urban Milwaukee, paid for mostly by metro-area taxpayers with some state funding. But it turns out the Bucks are also subsidized by taxpayers in other cities, through league revenue sharing from bigger-market teams.
There’s no question Lasry “could collect a handsome profit” selling his shares of the team, Bleacher Report noted. “Were that to happen, NBA fans may not have seen the last of the 63-year-old. Stein speculated Lasry could look to return to the ownership ranks elsewhere once his departure from Milwaukee was finalized.”
And why not? Every NBA team save the Golden State Warriors enjoys a huge taxpayer subsidy, which is helping increase the value of every pro sports team in the country. Lasry could buy another team and reap another windfall given how quickly franchise values are rising.
If he does sell, we may also see the last of his son, Alex Lasry, who ran unsuccessfully in the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate. Lasry’s career has been tied to his father, a big donor to Democrats who helped Alex get a job in the administration of President Barack Obama. Later Alex Lasry was given a job as a vice president of the Bucks operation, at a salary of $300,000, and was also gifted a stake in the team as part of a $50 million trust set up by his father. There has been speculation among Democrats as to whether Alex will run again for some office in Wisconsin or perhaps take a job back on the East Coast where he has spent most of his life.
If you think stories like this are important, become a member of Urban Milwaukee and help support real, independent journalism. Plus you get some cool added benefits.