Sporticast 331: T-Wolves Deal Reshuffles, March Madness Tips Off

On the latest Sporticast episode, hosts Scott Soshnick and Eben Novy-Williams discuss some of the biggest sports business stories of the week, including the strange ongoing acquisition of the Minnesota Timberwolves by Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore.

Already one of the more more bizarre team sales in modern NBA history—it was set to take place over four years, despite Rodriguez and Lore not having the money at the outset—the process took another turn this week. Carlyle Group, which was financing a bulk of the most recent payment, backed out of the group after months of talks with the NBA about how the deal would be structured. Carlyle was in for about $300 million, existing Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor hinted this week.

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The hosts mull what losing Carlyle might mean for the group. Lore and Rodriguez have until the end of the month to close on the deal, which is a tight turnaround to lock in new financing. Representatives for the group told Sportico that they still expected the deal to close on time. (Editor’s Note: Hours after this episode was filmed, Sportico reported that Dyal was in talks to provide financing in Carlyle’s absence).

Regardless of outcome, this is likely a deal type that the NBA would not greenlight in the future. Rodriguez and Lore have spent the last few years raising money, and doing so at a valuation higher than the one in the deal itself. If they close on this 40% of the team, there’s another 20% of the team left to buy early next year if they desire.

Next the hosts discuss March Madness, which tips off in earnest on Thursday. Big business stories this year include commercial growth of the women’s tournament and the rapid changes facing college sports more broadly, such as antitrust lawsuits, unionization efforts, conference realignment, loosened transfer rules, and NIL deregulation.

The hosts close by discussing J.P. Morgan’s new sports investment banking group.

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