For years, Knicks fans have prayed for two things: a championship and for James Dolan to sell the team.
As the Knicks have struggled to return to their prominence from the 1990s, many have speculated that the heavy hand of owner James Dolan has played a large role in their struggles. National media outlets have wondered whether he’s the worst owner in the NBA, and Knicks fans in the public eye, like ESPN’s Max Kellerman, have publicly stated that they’ll be fans again once Dolan sells the team.
Now, a new report suggests that moment could soon be a reality.
Appearing on CNBC earlier this week, longtime MSG analyst Jonathan Boyar mentioned that James Dolan will sell the team in a couple of years.
“We think it’s likely that after that is done, James Dolan, who controls the company, will sell the teams”
— Longtime MSG analyst Jonathan Boyar tells CNBC that Knicks & Rangers parent MSG Sports likely to sell after Vegas concert venue MSG Sphere is completed next year pic.twitter.com/p9eP5geBZn
— New York Basketball (@NBA_NewYork) August 16, 2022
Dolan owns both the Knicks and Rangers through Madison Square Garden Sports. He also owns this sister company Madison Square Garden Entertainment, which is in the middle of building a massive live entertainment venue in Las Vegas known as “The Sphere.” Boyar suggests that once that project is done, Dolan would be willing to sell ownership in the teams, ostensibly because he will be focusing primarily on the new entertainment venue.
Boyar also mentions that “private equity has gotten involved in a big way.” Given that, Boyar believes that a “marker” could be put on one or both of the teams, which would make a sale more enticing.
As it stands now, Silverlake Group L.I.C owns almost 9% of the company, and Egyptian billionaire Nassef Sawiris owns %5. Sawiris is also the largest shareholder in Adidas and purchased Aston Villa in the English Premier League back in 2018.
With so many wealthy stakeholders now circling the Knicks and Rangers, it would not be surprising for somebody to make a play for a full sale of the teams or perhaps simply buy a minority stake, which would limit Dolan’s decision-making power.
Fans will likely roll their eyes and claim that they’ve heard this a million times before, but perhaps this time will be different. There are still plenty of dominoes that need to fall and months that need to pass but a new chapter of the Knicks franchise might be visible on the horizon.
When asked for a comment, a Madison Square Garden Sports representative said: “We have no plans to sell either of the teams.”