sport news Robert Sarver is expected to sell the Phoenix Suns for $3billion ahead of start ... trends now
The Phoenix Suns are expected to sell for an estimated $3billion after current team owner Robert Sarver was slapped with a $10million fine and one-year ban from the NBA following allegations of racial and sexist slurs as well as bullying to employees.
The franchise's valuation, reported by ESPN on Wednesday, would be the second-highest team ownership sale in sports history. At the moment, the Denver Broncos' $4.65billion sale in June to the Walton-Penner family is the North American record, surpassing the $2.4billion benchmark set by Steve Cohen in 2020 when he bought the New York Mets.
Sarver, 60, announced his decision to sell the team and the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA this week after several sponsors, including Verizon Wireless and PayPal, were intending to cut sponsorship deals with both franchises. He initially bought the team in 2004 for $400million.
In total, the Suns have 30 sponsors on a one-year contract until the end of the new season. Put altogether, these sponsors generated $11million in revenue last season for the Arizona franchise.
PayPal is the leading profit-making sponsor, as the online payment company made $3million in revenue for Phoenix last season, but its CEO Dan Schulman released a statement saying the company would not seek to renew its partnership with the Suns 'should Robert Sarver remain involved with the Suns organization, after serving his suspension.'
Phoenix Suns and Mercury owner Robert Sarver has announced that he has started the process to sell both franchises and is reportedly considered to sell both teams for $3billion
A factor that influenced Sarver's decision to put the Suns on the market was the franchise's frosty relationships with its sponsors, including PayPal and Verizon. Both companies have threatened to distance themselves from the NBA team should the current owner remain involved with the organization, after serving his one-year league suspension
The Suns office reportedly prepared for the worst outcome for Sarver, according to ESPN. Many, if not all, sponsors sought 'additional attention and talking points' with Phoenix after the NBA's final report on the allegations made against the Suns owner was made public, as well as Silver's punishment.
Other than PayPal, these sponsors included Rocket Mortgage, Kia, Opendoor, CarMax, Kroger, Beam Suntory, Arizona Public Service, Footprint and Verizon.
Schulman, who is also part of Verizon's board of directors, had also sent signs to the Suns front office that the carrier was considering pulling the plug with the basketball franchise.
'The walls were closing in on [Sarver],' an NBA insider source told ESPN. 'A group of sponsors were all moving towards this common position.'
Suns minority owner Jahm Najafi was one of the leading voices in the front office who had publicly advised Sarver to resign as owner.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver had also privately advised Sarver to sell despite being of the opinion that the league's 10-month investigation into the Suns owner's inappropriate conduct was 'dramatically different' from the one tied to former LA Clippers owner, Donald Sterling.
In 2014, Sterling was handed a lifetime ban from the NBA after telling his mistress, V. Stiviano, in a recording obtained by TMZ that she is 'not to bring them to my games,' referring to black people.
Sarver was not deserving of the same punishment, Silver concluded and the NBA commissioner offered the Suns owner a path back to the league in 365-days time. The Arizona businessman was not caught on tape and there was no indisputable evidence to find him guilty by default, unlike Sterling.
Sarver's case has drawn comparison's to that of former Clippers owner Donald Sterling (left), who was banned for life and fined $2.5m for racist comments against black people in 2014
Sarver, whose net worth is