Prospective Devils owner may see turnaround opportunity in New Jersey

10 Comments

On Friday, we wrote that it was probably good news for New Jersey Devils fans that billionaire Josh Harris was on the verge of buying the financially troubled team from current owner Jeff Vanderbeek.

Over the weekend, our hunch was supported by a sports economics professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

“If you look at how [Harris] has made his fortune, it’s basically through buying distressed properties, injecting cash and turning them around,” Scott Rosner told The Star-Ledger. “So the Devils would certainly fit the bill.”

Harris already owns the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, a franchise that’s seen its fortunes rise since he purchased them in 2011.

On that note, it’s interesting to recall what Harris had to say when he took over the struggling basketball club.

“Three times in my career before, I was involved in significant turnarounds of financially distressed companies,” Harris said, per Philly.com. “In each case, for a successful turnaround, the management focused 100 percent on two things: their customers, which in this case is our fans; and they focused on making their product excellent. And here we will put a lot of attention to putting a great product on the court and delivering a great fan experience.”

Harris still doesn’t officially own the Devils, but the newspaper calls that a “matter of weeks, perhaps days.”

According to Forbes, Harris — the co-founder of private equity firm Apollo Global Management — is worth $2.1 billion.