While the world waits with baited breath over where King Lebron will lace up his Nike sneakers for the next few years, the real winners will be the owner(s) of the franchise he eventually signs with. For the Knicks, that is the Dolan family.
The Dolans are among the richest Irish families in the world with an estimated fortune of $2 billion dollars. The family is a pioneer in the media business having been founded by Charles Dolan in 1965. They have owned and started HBO, Cablevision as well as MSG Networks and the Knicks, Rangers and NY Liberty sport franchises. Cablevision has over 3.5 million subscribers primarily in New York, Boston and, interestingly enough, Cleveland (When Lebron becomes a Knick, Cavaliers fans can follow him on the cable network) Adding the prized free agent will be another major coup for a family that not only supports Irish causes and education but truly wants a winning team for New York.
Now the question is will they get him and what does it mean to the Dolans?
On the financial front, ( Madison Square Garden Inc (MSG) publically traded stock increased by $100 million dollars yesterday on reports that Lebron scheduled a press conference for 9:00 ET tonight at the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich, Connecticut. Obviously adding the superstar will increase the value of the Dolan empire as more and more media attention and viewers are drawn to their cable and arena proprieties. Wall Street analysts have predicted a 10% increase in the worth of the family fortune if the former Cavalier becomes a New York Knick. As such, the Dolans have more to lose than anyone in the Lebron sweepstakes.
On the sports front, enough already! No professional athlete has ever captivated the attention of sports fans (and non-sports fans) and the media. Not Michael, not Tiger, not Brett, not anyone! The New York media has been chomping on the bit since early last year, calculating every move the Knicks made to free up cap space, sign and trade players to lure the prized fish. Will Lebron turn his back on the City and the Dolans? Or will he make The World’s Greatest Arena his home and try and bring a championship back to New York?
Fortunately for all, we will know tonight. The suspense will finally be over, a decision made and the world of basketball and western civilization can return to normal. In the meantime, the Dolan family fortunes will either go up or down a few hundred million.
Don’t bet against New York, Lebron is on his way to the Big Apple. Get your Knicks tickets now before its too late.