Slideshow: Playing The Field: PE And Pro Sports

After Comcast-Spectator agreed in July to sell the Philadelphia 76ers to a group led by Joshua Harris, an Apollo Global Management co-founder, and including David Blitzer, a Blackstone Group senior managing director, and after Tom Gores, the founder and chief executive of Platinum Equity, signed a deal in April to buy the Detroit Pistons, we got to wondering, over at sister publication Buyouts, about other participation by buyouts pros—and even firms themselves—in big-league sports. Here’s what we found:

[slideshow]

[slide title=” Philadelphia 76ers”]

Purchase Year: 2011

Owner: Group led by Joshua Harris and including David Blitzer.

Owners’ Firms: Harris is Co-Founder of Apollo Global Management, Blitzer is Senior Managing Director at the Blackstone Group.

Value/Price: “Just under $300 million,” according to a Forbes source.

Note: The sale by Comcast, the cable company that owned the team for 15 years, does not include the Wells Fargo Center, where the 76ers play. Other members of the group buying the team include Art Wrubel and Jason Levien. The 76ers have won three NBA championships, the most recent in 1983.

Quote: “As a basketball fan who attended college in Philadelphia, and with family roots here, I have always felt a strong connection to this city and the 76ers.” – Joshua Harris.

[slide title=” Detroit Pistons”]

Purchase Year: 2011

Owner: Tom Gores

Owner’s Firm: Gores is the founder and chief executive of Platinum Equity.

Value/Price: $325 million.

Note: The purchase from the Davidson family, which owned the Pistons for 37 years, includes The Palace arena in Auburn Hills, where the Pistons play. Tom Gores, who Forbes says is worth $2.4 billion, is a 46-year-old native of Flint, Mich. The Pistons have won five pro basketball championships, the most recent in 2004.

Quote: “I grew up here, I am glad to be back, and I am very excited about all the possibilities looking forward.” – Tom Gores

[slide title=” Toronto Raptors”]

Seeks Buyer: 2011

Owner: Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan

Value/Price: The asking price for OTPP’s stake is expected to be about $1.5 billion.

Note: The pension fund owns 66 percent stake in MLSE, the company that owns the Raptors, the Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League and the Air Canada Centre, where the two teams play. The Raptors have never won an NBA championship.

[slide title=” Golden State Warriors”]

Purchase Year: 2010

Owners: Joe Lacob and Peter Guber

Owner’s Firms: Lacob is a partner at Kleiner Perkins, a Bay Area venture capital firm. Guber is the chief executive of Mandalay Entertainment.

Value/Price: $450 million.

Note: The Warriors have won three pro basketball championships, the latest in 1975.

[slide title=” Boston Celtics”]

Purchase Year: 2002

Owners: Steve Pagliuca (Bain Capital), Wyc Grousbeck (Highland Capital Partners), Glenn Hutchins (Silver Lake Partners), Michael Marks (Riverwood Capital), Jim Breyer (Accel Partners), David Bonderman (TPG Capital).

Value/Price: Reported to be $380 million – Fortune

Note: The Celtics have won 17 basketball championships, the most recent in 2008. Pagliuca ran in the Democratic primaries for U.S. Senate seat occupied by the late Ted Kennedy. That seat was won by Republican Sen. Scott Brown.

[slide title=” St. Louis Blues”]

Purchased: 2006

Owner: SCP and TowerBrook Capital Partners LP

Note: The Blues have never won the NHL’s Stanley Cup.

[slide title=” Toronto Maple Leafs “]

Offer Year: 2011

Owner: Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan

Value/Price: (see Toronto Raptors of the NBA) – The asking price for OTPP’s stake is expected to be about $1.5 billion.

Note: The pension fund owns 66 percent stake in MLSE, the company that owns the Maple Leafs and the Raptors of the National Basketball Association, and the Air Canada Centre, where the two teams play. The Maple Leafs have won 13 Stanley Cup championships, but have not won one since 1967.

[/slideshow]

Gregory Roth is a senior editor at Buyouts Magazine. Any opinions expressed here are entirely his own. Follow him on Twitter @RothReuters. Follow Buyouts tweets @Buyouts. For information on how to subscribe, contact Greg Winterton at greg.winterton@thomsonreuters.com.