The National Hockey League announced Thursday that David Blitzer and Joshua Harris completed the purchase of the New Jersey Devils hockey team from the current ownership group controlled by Jeffrey Vanderbeek. Financial terms weren’t announced but a press report said the group led by Harris will pay more than $320 million. The deal includes the team’s long-term operating interest in the Prudential Center and related assets. Scott O’Neil, CEO of the Philadelphia 76ers, will take on the additional role of CEO of the New Jersey Devils and the Prudential Center. David Blitzer is a Senior MD of Blackstone Group, while Joshua Harris is Co-Founder of Apollo Global Management.
Newark, NJ – August 15, 2013 – David Blitzer and Joshua Harris today completed the purchase of the New Jersey Devils hockey team from the current ownership group controlled by Jeffrey Vanderbeek. The transaction includes the team’s long-term operating interest in the Prudential Center and related assets.
Scott O’Neil, Chief Executive Officer of the Philadelphia 76ers, will take on the additional role of Chief Executive Officer of the New Jersey Devils and the Prudential Center. In this role, Mr. O’Neil will lead the Devils’ business operations and work closely with Lou Lamoriello, the Devils’ President/General Manager. Mr. O’Neil will also oversee the Prudential Center and its broad entertainment offerings. Mr. Vanderbeek will work with the new ownership group as a senior advisor.
Before becoming CEO of the 76ers earlier this year, Mr. O’Neil was President of Madison Square Garden Sports, where he oversaw the business operations of three professional sports teams: the New York Rangers, the New York Knicks, and the New York Liberty.
“I am very excited about the opportunity to become involved with the Devils, an organization with a rich heritage and tradition of excellence, a passionate fan base, and a world-class arena in the Prudential Center,” said Mr. O’Neil. “I have long admired the on-ice success of this franchise under the guidance of Lou Lamoriello, and I look forward to working with him to bring the fans and business community a future of sustained success.”
“Josh Harris and I are thrilled to own the Devils and, as someone who was born and raised in New Jersey, I am especially excited by this unique opportunity,” said Mr. Blitzer. “Both of us have long admired the team for its passionate fans who reflect the character and commitment to winning that are trademarks of this organization. We want to thank Jeff Vanderbeek for his leadership of the Devils organization and his great work in bringing the Prudential Center to Newark. The Rock is a first-class entertainment venue, which will continue to grow and bring amazing talent to the city. Newark is showing positive signs of growth, and the Devils and the Prudential Center look forward to supporting this progress. We will be committed stewards of this great franchise and arena as we work closely with city and state leadership to ensure the Devils, their fans and the Newark and greater New Jersey community all share in the future success of their favorite team.”
“I’ve had the opportunity over the past week to spend a considerable amount of time with David Blitzer and Joshua Harris,” said Mr. Lamoriello. “There is no question in my mind about their commitment to the fans in creating the best possible in-game experience, their commitment to winning, and their ultimate goal of bringing the Stanley Cup back to the fans of New Jersey. Additionally, I have known Scott O’Neil for more than 10 years and have a tremendous amount of respect for the competency, work ethic and loyalty that he will bring to the New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center. I look forward to working with David, Josh, and Scott.”
“Today is an exciting day for the New Jersey Devils, the Prudential Center and the city of Newark,” said Mr. Vanderbeek. “David and Josh have the experience and passion needed to grow both the Devils and the Rock, and I look forward to working with them to ensure a smooth transition. I am confident they will carry on the great tradition of ‘Jersey’s Team’. I am proud of our accomplishments this past 10 years – most importantly, ensuring the Devils have a state of the art arena to call home in the great state of New Jersey.”
David Blitzer is a Senior Managing Director of Blackstone Group and Joshua Harris is Co-Founder of Apollo Global Management.