NBA: Adam Silver determined to keep individuals in control of franchises

With sovereign wealth funds starting to shovel money into sports teams and leagues across the country, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Monday that he does not see any state-owned investment groups becoming the controlling owner of an NBA franchise anytime soon.

Per the NBA’s investment rules, the controlling owner of an NBA franchise must own at least 15 percent of the franchise.

If a sovereign wealth fund wants to get involved, it must have a passive investment in the organization that is worth no more than five percent. A prime example of this is the Qatar sovereign wealth fund, which last month agreed to purchase a five-percent stake in Monumental Sports and Entertainment, the controlling owner of the Washington Wizards, the WNBA’s Washington Mystics and the NHL’s Washington Capitals.

Silver wants to make sure that individuals are the ones that are primarily governing teams, though.

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“I don’t want to say what could ever happen, but there’s no contemplation right now,” Silver said in Las Vegas. “I mean, it’s very important to us, putting aside sovereign wealth funds that individuals are in a position to control our teams, be responsible to the fans, be responsible to their partners and to the players.

“It’s very important to us that there be a person (in charge), and this is independent of sovereign wealth funds. I think that in terms of the connection with the community, the connection with the players and their other partners in the league.”

One of the most notable sovereign wealth funds as it relates to the sports is Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which funds LIV Golf. The PGA Tour created shockwaves across the golf world last month when it announced it planned to enter a merger with LIV.

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