Josh Harris Buys the Devils and I Don’t Care
Josh Harris, the owner of the Sixers, has his group of investors going in on buying the New Jersey Devils. This has left a sizable, stinky load in the pants of some Philadelphia sports fans who consider the move to be a travesty. How can the owner of a Philly sports team be the owner of a Philly sports rival, right?
Well this problem is complex and yet not at all—like beating a rubix cube by just moving the stickers. Let’s consider some of the major issues.
1. Harris Will Move the Sixers
One general belief is that Harris will move the Sixers into an arena with the Devils in a few years to have his babies play in the same pen. This would make the team into something like the New Jersey 76ers.
The problem is that the Sixers are in a lease with the Wells Fargo Center that is in the range of 20 years. That lease will not be broken. In addition, the NBA recently blocked a move that would have sent the Sacramento Kings to Seattle.
Even if the Sixers finangled a way to break the lease, the NBA could easily block the move. If the Sixers left Philly, another team would ultimately have to take over the 5th largest media market—thus creating another team to share revenue with.
So no need to fear. The Sixers aren’t going anywhere.
2. Harris Has No Sports Sense
This gripe comes from the fact that the Devils are a direct rival to the Flyers. As the owner of a Philly sports team, you don’t want to directly benefit “the enemy” by helping them beat a fellow Philly team. Therefore, he must have no idea regarding the basics of sports culture.
Well if we’re going to talk about the world of sports then we need to discuss the rules of its universe. Sports is entertainment for the sake of business.
Think of the number of times where you’ve heard a player say they love the team, but leave as free agents for a little more money. Or maybe a time when the team trades a fan favorite for prospects. Afterwards someone will say “It’s part of the business” and business it is. As a fan, you’re simply along for the ride.
As a result Harris has no loyalty to the Flyers because they aren’t his team. It’s not his business and he should treat it that way. His focus should only be on making the Sixers a title contender because by doing so the ultimate result is greater fan support—AKA financial success.
Also—and perhaps more importantly—the Flyers should be expected to take care of themselves. They have their own front office staff that is given the lone task of making the team a winner. If they can’t put a team on the ice that can accomplish that goal then they should be fired anyway. Therefore the pressure shouldn’t be on Harris for buying the team. It should be placed on the front office who now has to beat Harris every year.
This brings me to the final argument…
3. Harris will run the Sixers poorly now that he owns the Devils.
This argument is really a stretch. The Sixers have formulated a calculated plan that they think will achieve success and they’re willing to take any and all risks to get there. Last year they made a colossal move in trading for Bynum. This year they had the guts to trade Jrue Holiday and send a year down the shitter to get better long term. The point is this: Harris has put a committed effort into this team thus far and there’s nothing to show that he won’t continue guiding this team in the right direction. He also has no track record of not caring for this team, which brings me back to the Flyers.
Are we really going to defend the Flyers when Ed Snider is their owner? The same Ed Snider who burned images of Speedy Claxton and Chris Webber’s broken body into my mind? They went 610-654 over the time span that Snider ran the Sixers. Over those 15 seasons there’s nothing to show for it accept a single Finals run thanks to Allen Iverson’s MVP season. Other than that the Sixers treaded water and nothing more. There’s no reason to feel sympathy for Ed Snider.
So don’t get caught up in the moment. This move isn’t a big deal.
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