New Devils Owner Josh Harris Seen As Liberator, But Gives Credit To Vanderbeek
76ers and Devils Majority Owner JOSH HARRIS is "the paradigm of the modern owner -- neither as emotionally invested as fans may wish, nor as attached as they may fear," according to a profile by Craig Wolff of the Newark STAR-LEDGER. Harris' private equity firm, Apollo Global Management, has seen its stock increase 82% over the past year, while his "personal fortune has soared" to about $2.5B. Harris, for the Devils, is "nothing short of a liberator, having already absorbed the organization's suffocating debt." His blueprint "calls for global thinking about ways to take advantage of overseas markets and attract fans in the digital age." Harris' friends, relatives and associates have said that he is "bold but not a gambler" and "a long-term thinker." They "talk about Harris as something like the world’s hardest-working man." Fellow 76ers and Devils investor DAVID BLITZER said Harris' greatest strength is "his ability to remain calm amid lots of crazy things going on." Harris and Blitzer also "see a sympathetic figure" in former Devils Majority Owner JEFF VANDERBEEK. Blitzer said "Jeff’s timing was really difficult" and the economy "blew up right after he built" Prudential Center. Harris added, "Sometimes it’s better to be the second owner than the first. There are plenty of skyscrapers, if you look around New York, where the first owner didn’t do well but he built a fantastic building." Wolff noted while Devils' attendance "ranks near the top of the league, the season began with more than half of the arena’s 72 suites unsold" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 11/17).