Rapper Rick Ross wants to own a sports team, possibly. The Maybach Music CEO recently took to Instagram and expressed interest in purchasing Michael Rubin’s 10 percent stake in Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment company, which owns the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and NHL’s New Jersey Devils.
“I’ll buy his 10% lol”, commented Ross.
Rubin, Fanatics CEO, is selling his stake because of looming conflicts in the expansion of his Fanatics business into sports betting and individual player partnerships.
Rozay isn’t shy about his love for sports. The former high school football star can be seen on the sidelines supporting the Miami Dolphins, and courtside supporting the Miami Heat. He’s talked openly about owning an NFL franchise in the past.
“Having Rozay as an owner in the NFL,” said Ross to Good Morning Football in 2020, “it would most definitely overcome a lot of stereotypes that the NFL is dealing with. We’re dealing with two pandemics, it’s racism and the fungus (COVID-19).”
He tweeted about it again earlier this month.
Should @MiamiDolphins sell me 5% stake in the organization? If so,what would the upside be for both sides or vice versa??
— Yung Rénzél 👑 (@RickRoss) June 6, 2022
Rozay is a businessman in addition to his prolific skills as a rapper. If he is serious about having some kind of ownership stake in a professional sports franchise he’s going to have to start increasing that net worth. Estimates have him somewhere between $40 million to $55 million.
That’s serious dollars for everyday people but nothing close to what the class of people that own sports franchises have as a net worth.
HBSE is valued at $3 billion. A 10 percent stake is worth $300 million. There’s levels to this.
Rozay as an owner in the NBA would certainly be interesting. Let’s assume he’s able to put a group together with some of his athlete friends and other rappers/musicians. That might not be such a bad idea.
The NBA and other professional sports leagues are fertile grounds for sportwashing.
Sportwashing (or, also, sportswashing) is a term coined by Amnesty International in 2018. Journalist Karim Zidan, a leader in reporting on sportwashing, described it in The Guardian in 2019 as “authoritarian regimes using sports to manipulate their international image and wash away their human rights record.”
The list of people that can afford to purchase professional sports franchises valued in the billions is very small. Nobody amasses that kind of wealth by doing good things. Somewhere along the way illegal and immoral things are done at best and abhorrent atrocities at worst, and then everything in between.
Authoritarian regimes like Saudi Arabia, oligarchs, or shadowy cabals don’t actually care about the sports or leagues they are infiltrating. They just use the people’s love of sports to continue to distract from their real motive, consolidation of power and furthering their destructive agendas.
Someone like Rozay, who is a real sports fan and would be invested, seems like a better option for all parties involved.
But it’s almost impossible for leagues and franchise owners to turn down the quick more readily available cash from the oligarchs. More often than not there is a connection between the source of the cash, a prominent owner or owners in the league and high-ranking league officials.
The list of people that can afford professional franchises is a very small, insulated and connected world. Unfortunately for him, Rozay isn’t a part of that crowd.