Last year, infamous New York Knicks owner James Dolan wrote a song for the sports website Deadspin's annual awards show in which he sang, "You know I own a basketball team / For most people that would be a dream / For a trust fund kid it's a living hell / Always some asshole telling me to sell."
And, well, now he might actually do it. According to a report from Crain's, shares of the Madison Square Garden company have jumped in the past few days, as Dolan is apparently laying the groundwork for a potential sale.
James Dolan, the owner that Knicks fans love to hate, may be laying the groundwork for a sale of the franchise. Shares in Madison Square Garden Co. soared on the news.
Late yesterday Dolan announced he was exploring a spin-off that would separate the Knicks and the Rangers from the rest of Madison Square Garden. While Dolan would remain in charge of the teams, at least at first, putting them together in a separate public company would offer him the chance to whittle down his stake easily if he chooses. Dolan is understood to be more interested in music and building cutting-edge entertainment venues than sports.
If Dolan does in fact spin off the Knicks and the Rangers, it would mark the first time the teams haven't been owned by Madison Square Garden. The Garden has controlled the Rangers since the team was founded in 1926, while the Knicks were launched by an MSG president in 1946. Whenever the Garden changed hands over the years to corporate owners including Gulf & Western, ITT and Cablevision, the teams came along in a bundled deal.
Obviously this is a long way from actually happening, but any potential rumblings about the Knicks being for sale are a big deal. They're one of the most famous basketball teams in the world, play in arguably the most famous arena and the NBA is soaring in terms of popularity.
The Madison Square Company later issued a statement denying there are plans to sell the teams.
Madison Square Garden Company releases statement: “There are no plans to sell the Knicks or the Rangers.”— Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) June 29, 2018
The most recent team to be sold, the LA Clippers, went for a record price of $2 billion to Steve Ballmer. And that was back in 2014. Should the Knicks actually be put up for sale, they would likely become the highest valued team in NBA history.