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Volume 26 No. 111

Franchises

Snyder (l) originally recruited Lafemina (r) from the league office to help retool the Redskins
Photo: getty images
Snyder (l) originally recruited Lafemina (r) from the league office to help retool the Redskins
Photo: getty images
Snyder (l) originally recruited Lafemina (r) from the league office to help retool the Redskins
Photo: getty images

Roughly 40 Redskins business employees "have left the team" since Owner Dan Snyder fired President of Business Operations & COO Brian Lafemina last December, according to Les Carpenter of the WASHINGTON POST. The exodus is "roughly one-quarter of the organization’s non-football workers." The workers "came from all sides of the business operations, including suite sales, sponsorships, marketing, graphics and the website." Former employees said that the "majority of those who departed did so out of frustration over Lafemina’s removal." The former workers said that Lafemina’s arrival in May '18 had "brought hope of not only reversing a trend of sagging attendance and declining fan interest, but of changing a work culture they described as stagnant and dismissive of any opinion beyond that of a tiny handful of top executives." Many of the team's business employees "had been considering leaving the organization before Lafemina was hired, and were so inspired by his leadership style they put off job searches in the hope he could make a difference." The "majority of those who left were not people who were brought in by Lafemina when the team hired him." Instead, they were employees "ranging in employment from 11 months to 12 years" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/1). DC-based WJFK-FM first reported on this story several weeks ago. In addition, SBJ Publisher and Exec Editor Abe Madkour wrote about the implications of Lafemina's exit in January (THE DAILY).

Houston real estate investor Lee Zieben has "agreed to terms with Immortals Gaming Club to purchase" the Overwatch League Houston Outlaws for a "total deal value" of $40M, according to sources cited by Jacob Wolf of ESPN. The deal is "expected to close in late August." Sources said that Zieben will pay $30M in "cash and securities" and assume the $10M debt in "remaining payments" to the OWL for the Outlaws franchise. Immortals is selling the team after they "acquired Infinite Esports & Entertainment, the parent of OpTic Gaming and the Outlaws," and will "retain their ownership of OpTic." With the acquisition of Infinite, the OWL "required Immortals to sell the Outlaws to a third party as quickly as possible, due to Immortals' ownership" of the OWL L.A. Valiant (ESPN.com, 7/31).

For more coverage of the business of esports, visit our partners, esportsobserver.com.

Rubin said good owners can have a big impact on the overall success of leagues in the long run
Photo: getty images
Rubin said good owners can have a big impact on the overall success of leagues in the long run
Photo: getty images
Rubin said good owners can have a big impact on the overall success of leagues in the long run
Photo: getty images

Fanatics Founder & Exec Chair Michael Rubin said there have "never been more qualified buyers of sports teams than there are today." Appearing on "The Bill Simmons Podcast," Rubin said there are a "lot of older owners across the board," and the "smartest commissioners focus very much on making sure they pick the right owners going forward." That is because owners have a "big impact on not only their team, but on the success of the sport long-term." Rubin noted getting the right owners into each league is something that is "super strategic," and it is a commissioner's "core responsibility" to select the best owners. Rubin, who is an investor in the 76ers, also discussed his attempt to buy the NFL Panthers. Rubin said new Panthers Owner David Tepper is "going to be a great owner." He said Tepper "replaced someone who badly needed to go" in former Owner Jerry Richardson, who was "bad for the NFL." Rubin: "There are people I just cringe when they speak, and Jerry Richardson was in that category. They got rid of a really bad owner (and) they put a good owner in place." Meanwhile, Rubin said in sports, the time that ownership "should get involved" in team decisions is on things that "really move the needle." Rubin: "Often, owners get involved in things that they shouldn't." He added, "You have to figure out how to make a really positive impact on what matters and then get out of the way" ("The Bill Simmons Podcast," THERINGER.com, 7/30).