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Volume 26 No. 232
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Ledecky, Kestenbaum Talk Benefits Of Limited Partners In Sports

Alan Kestenbaum (Falcons) and Jon Ledecky (Islanders) had long paths to their respective limited partner stakes, but both investors expressed joy and optimism after having landed with their clubs. Both men discussed their personal experiences in team ownership at the '19 SBJ Dealmakers in Sports conference. Kestenbaum, who bought into the Falcons in March, is pleased because he expects the valuations of NFL teams to remain on an upward trajectory. He said teams are "incredibly undervalued if you look at the traditional EBITDA, multiple metrics for a business, including the scarcity value."

Ledecky said his priority since hiring President of Hockey Operations & GM Lou Lamoriello and coach Barry Trotz has been to give them as much space as possible. “It goes to problems in sports with some owners, which is an owner who thinks he’s a GM has a fool for a client," Ledecky said. “You have to separate out the fact that you’re trying to make those decisions, you don’t have the experience. Turning those operations over to Lou and Barry and staying the heck out of the way is one of the key reasons we’re successful."

Quick Hits:

“It’s like Van Gogh paintings” -- Kestenbaum, on the scarcity of opportunities to own a pro franchise.

“If the United States gets taken over one day by China or Russia, football is still going to exist. As far as I’m concerned, this is safer than the U.S. Treasury, and a much better return” -- Kestenbaum, on pursuing NFL ownership.

“There used to be the expression, ‘There’s nothing more limited than being a limited partner in the New York Yankees with George Steinbrenner.’ Today, you look at Hal Steinbrenner, you see a bunch of LPs who are sitting in the owner’s box, who are in included in the discussions and the decisions” -- Ledecky, on the trend toward ownership groups featuring more LPs.