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COMCAST COMPLETES DEAL FOR FLYERS, SIXERS, TWO ARENAS
Published March 20, 1996
Flyers Owner Ed Snider, fitness entrepreneur Pat Croce and the Comcast Corp. announced yesterday the formation of a Comcast- Spectacor venture to create a "super-regional sports partnership" to own and operate the Flyers, 76ers, the new CoreStates Center and the CoreStates Spectrum. Comcast will hold a 66% ownership interest (Comcast). DETAILS: To gain 66% of the teams and arenas, Comcast contributed $250M in cash and stocks, and also assumed 66% of their combined $180M in debt. Croce, who is credited with getting the deal "in motion," is said to have contributed less than $5M to be a part owner in Comcast-Spectacor. Croce will become 76ers President. Comcast Chair Ralph Roberts and President Brian Roberts said they would have nothing to do with the day-to-day operations of the teams or arenas. Outgoing 76ers Owner Harold Katz said he received "significantly more" than the reported price of $125M for the team. However, he described his decision to sell as a reluctant one (Sokolove, Rozansky & Stark, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/20). Snider retains 34% of the Flyers and each arena, also adding a 34% stake in the 76ers. Snider said he will have "operational control" of all entities, noting that Comcast "wouldn't do the deal unless I stayed in" (Gary Miles, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/20). PHILLIES NEXT? There are "strong indications that the Phillies were edging close to involvement with the Comcast- Spectacor venture." There was no indication the team would be sold, but it was possible that Comcast-Spectacor could help with the building of a new stadium. One Comcast exec said, "It's only in the context of creating a [sports] channel, cooperative stuff with regards to sports rights" (Sokolove, Rozansky & Stark, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/20). REAL DEAL: In the DAILY NEWS, Joseph Daughen reports the reality is that it was Snider, not Croce, who drove the deal. Snider, described as wanting to "virtually corner the sports and entertainment market in the metropolitan Philadelphia area," knew he needed the 76ers to do so. According to sources, because his relationship with Katz was "so poor," Snider found Croce's interest in the team an "attractive alternative" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 3/20).