SBD/July 6, 2012/Franchises

Eagles Owners Say Divorce Will Have "No Impact" On Ownership Of The Franchise

Jeffrey, Christina Lurie released a statement about their divorce Wednesday
It is "perfectly fair, in the light of recent high-profile divorce cases, to examine the possible impact" Jeffrey and Christina Lurie's announcement will have on the Eagles, according to Phil Sheridan of the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER. The "unfortunate, red-flag-raising precedent is the divorce that led to the recent sale" of the Dodgers. The franchise became "the focus of an ugly battle between" owners Frank and Jamie McCourt. It "seems as if the McCourt mess was on the Luries' minds when they crafted the carefully worded statement that was released" Wednesday. Without "mentioning them, the real message seems to be: 'We are not the McCourts.'" The Dodgers are in California, "where divorce law requires a 50-50 split of all assets." In most other states, including Pennsylvania, "the standard is an 'equitable' split." However, that "could mean Jeffrey Lurie has to compensate Christina for her share of the value of the team." Since that is "somewhere north of a billion dollars, the only way to raise those funds could be to sell the asset." There are "some unknowns here." Pre- and postnuptial agreements "could be part of the equation," and it is not clear "whether the team is in Jeffrey's name or in both of their names." There is a "much bigger factor than divorce laws in preventing the Eagles from the same fate as the Dodgers." The Luries are "not the McCourts, who drained money from the Dodgers to finance a lavish lifestyle." Univ. of Pennsylvania Wharton Sports Business Initiative Associate Dir Scott Rosner said, "The Luries have been great stewards of that franchise. They do a lot of good work with Eagles Youth Partnership. They've had a lot of success. The only thing they haven't done is win a Super Bowl" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 7/6).

TO BE DETERMINED AT A LATER DATE: In Philadelphia, Les Bowen notes "generally in divorce proceedings, the wife gets a financial settlement, and it's far from clear whether Jeffrey Lurie has a huge chunk of money independent of his ownership" of the Eagles. He "certainly didn't have that when he bought the team" in '94. Falcons Owner Arthur Blank and his wife, Stephanie, "split last year." That parting "seems to have had no impact on Blank's ownership or management of the team." But Stephanie Blank "had no real role in the running of the Falcons, reports indicate" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 7/6).
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