According to Olivia Oran and Ronald Grover of Reuters, the Harlem Globetrotters are up for sale. The storied squad is expected to garner somewhere between $50 and $100 million and is being shopped by Piper Jaffray.
Regardless of who becomes owner of the Globetrotters, it's imperative that they remain in New York City.
Shamrock Capital Advisors, a Los Angeles, Calif. based group, has owned the team since 2005. Prior to relocating to New York, they spent two years in Chicago before entering Madison Square Garden and becoming one of the biggest acts in the world.
Oran and Grover report that the deal is in the second stage of completion.
The team, which has been held since 2005 by Los Angeles-based Shamrock, is being shopped by Piper Jaffray, the sources said. The process is in the second round, two of the sources said, with the team likely fetching between $50 million to $100 million.
That lofty amount certainly makes sense.
The Globetrotters were founded in 1926 and have since become a massive draw both in the sports world and in the realm of entertainment. They've been granted their own Hanna-Barbera cartoon and made appearances on shows such as Gilligan's Island, Scooby Doo, Sesame Street, 30 Rock, Futurama, The Love Boat and Family Guy.
In other words, the Globetrotters are of international fame—and it all starts in New York.
Harlem Globetrotters Go International
For members of the New York community, the Harlem Globetrotters are a source of entertainment for their children and hope for teenagers in need of direction. For members of the international community, the Harlem Globetrotters are a recognizable brand.
Why jeopardize that fame by moving to another city?
The Globetrotters name may be powerful on it's own, but they've spent more than 80 years in Harlem. That type of legacy is not easily repaired, which is why the Globetrotters must remain in New York.
If they're to leave, the legacy would be written off as a thing of the past.
Since their inception, the Globetrotters have traveled the world, most notably playing in Moscow in 1959. For those in need of a history reminder, that falls under the time in which the U.S. and USSR were involved in the Cold War.
That type of transcending achievement lasts in the minds of generations across the globe—the Harlem Globetrotters are the squad that will be remembered.
The Allure of New York City
The last time the New York Knicks won the NBA championship was in 1973—a span of 40 years. The last time the New Jersey (and now Brooklyn) Nets won a title was the ABA crown in 1976—a span of 37 years.
Even still, New York—and more specifically, Madison Square Garden—is viewed as the Mecca of Basketball.
A part of the allure of New York City is the fact that the Harlem Globetrotters have been all but unbeatable. For evidence, note that the Globetrotters once held a 24-year winning streak, winning more than 300 consecutive games in that time.
NBA championship or not, wins breed attention.
That's something that the city of New York needs, as the Globetrotters are of equal importance to the Knicks. Even if the level of competition is not quite the same, the Harlem ballers have created an image of success.
An image that New York cannot afford to lose.