Darren Rovell, who covers sports business like a glove for CNBC, has done the most interesting reporting I've seen on sports victims in the Bernard Madoff ponzi scheme. In perusing the 162-page client list released Thursday night, Rovell discovered that the beneficiaries of the sweetest sports deal of all time were on it: Ozzie and Dan Silna, former owners of the Spirits of St. Louis in the defunct ABA.
The Silna brothers were quite shrewd when their team was one of two not absorbed by the NBA in the ABA-NBA merger in 1976. They negotiated a settlement that called for a $2.2 million buyout plus 1/7 of the television revenue earned by the four former ABA teams who were absorbed -- forever.
That's right, forever. Rovell's in-depth piece on how the deal was struck is here.
By Rovell's estimate, the Silnas have earned some $200 million thus far -- and stand to rake in $136 million from the NBA's current eight-year, $7.4 billion national broadcast rights deal with ABC/ESPN and TNT.
The client list does not say how much money each client had/lost with Madoff. Rovell tried to contact Ozze and Dan Silna, to no avail. The trusty TrueHoop blog brought this news item to our attention. Sobering, sobering news.