James Dolan open to selling minority stakes in Knicks, Rangers: MSG exec

Controversial Knicks and Rangers owner James Dolan is open to selling a minority stake in any sports franchise, his company revealed during an earnings call Tuesday.

Dolan — who has come under fire for using facial recognition technology to ban perceived legal enemies from his venues — has previously entertained offers for those prize teams.​​​​ refused to do so, which is part of Madison Square Garden Sports.

However, during the earnings call, one analyst asked if the Knicks and Rangers parents had considered taking advantage of the ongoing boom in team valuations — evidenced by the recent NBA-record $4 billion sale of the Phoenix Suns. Is.

“We don’t have any plans to sell any teams and — you suggested the Knicks — there’s no current plan, but we certainly do,” MSG Sports president and COO David Hopkinson said. “Wouldn’t rule out the possibility of selling a minority stake in the Knicks or Rangers.” said.

Hopkinson cited a recent Knicks valuation released by Sportico, which estimated The team is worth about $6.6 billion. – An 8% increase over last year and the second most among NBA franchises.

The Knicks and Rangers are owned by James Dolan’s Madison Square Garden Sports.

Separately, Forbes named the Rangers the NHL’s most valuable team, with Estimated at $2.2 billion.up 10% year-on-year.

Despite persistent rumors, Dolan, who serves as executive chairman of both MSG Sports and separately Madison Square Garden Entertainment, has been adamant for years that he will not relinquish control of either sports franchise. .

Dolan, 67, reiterated his stance during an interview on WFAN last month.

“I have no plans to sell at this time,” Dolan said. “I’m not retiring anytime soon. It’s a family-controlled asset, so someone in the family will eventually own it.

Hopkinson noted that recent changes to the NBA’s ownership rules have cleared the way for private equity firms and sovereign wealth funds to acquire stakes in franchises.

According to Sportico, the Knicks are worth $6.6 billion.
Getty Images

“These are incredibly rare assets, they have strong business fundamentals that we’ve just reviewed and we believe they have significant opportunities for long-term growth,” Hopkinson said.

The company also owns the Westchester Knicks, the team’s NBA G League affiliate, and the Rangers’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Hartford Wolfpack.

MSG Sports’ share price continued to underperform the appraised values ​​of its properties, Hopkinson said. As of Tuesday, the company had a market value of $4.37 billion. After the earnings call, shares of the publicly traded company fell $1.13, to $178.60.

The Rangers
Forbes recently ranked the Rangers as the NHL’s most valuable franchise.
Getty Images

“We are encouraged by the continued increase in estimated team values ​​as well as transactions that continue to come in above those estimates,” said Hopkinson.

“Our recent share buyback program is a reflection of that confidence – recognizing the difference that persists between the current trading price of our stock relative to the intrinsic value of our marquee sports franchises,” he added.

MSG Sports’ revenue rose 22 percent to $353.7 million in the second quarter, according to an earnings release. Operating income rose 43 percent to $51.5 million.

“Our second quarter results reflect continued positive momentum across all key areas of our business following last year’s strong financial performance. We remain confident in the strength of our sports franchises and our ability to create long-term value for shareholders. Trust,” Dolan said in a statement.

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