Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin is selling stake in Harris Blitzer Sports Entertainment, which owns 76ers, Devils

Entrepreneur Michael Rubin is selling his 10 per cent stake in Harris Blitzer Sports Entertainment – which owns the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils – while his sports retailer Fanatics secures new athlete contracts and creates a new gaming and betting division that will team the leagues disrupts property rules.

In recent years, Fanatics CEO Rubin has understood that it was in his and the company’s best interests that he sell his pro-sports interest while Fanatics expands, sources said. Those who knew Rubin’s decision understood that Fanatics’ growth into new sectors made this transition inevitable.

Fanatics has evolved into a sports merchandise giant and has grown into a global company, now including deals with individual players in the pro leagues as part of the company’s new trading card and collectors business. Fanatics will soon be launching a gambling vertical too; another factor why business became a conflict for Rubin as he served as an NBA and NHL team owner.

The sale of Rubin’s shares will close immediately.

“Given Michael’s tremendous success in building Fanatics into a global platform across all major sports, his decision comes as no surprise,” said Josh Harris, co-founder of HBSE. “I am so grateful for his years of partnership. His passionate passion, entrepreneurial spirit and unwavering commitment to doing what is right left an indelible mark on the Sixers organization.

“Michael will always be a member of our HBSE and Sixers family, remaining a local presence and a key partner in our shared commitment to be a force for good in Philadelphia.”

“Michael is a visionary and innovator who has played an integral role in helping us grow and position HBSE for future success,” said David Blitzer, co-founder of HBSE. “He’s been an incredible friend and business partner over the past 11 years, and his instincts, work ethic, passion and ability to bring people together have helped establish him as one of the most influential and successful leaders in the industry.

“Michael has used those same qualities to help us evolve and grow while becoming an engine for positive, inspiring change in our communities. As he prepares for this new chapter in his career, I look forward to watching Michael continue to revolutionize the Fanatics business and unlock its full potential by connecting sports fans from around the world across a variety of new platforms and verticals. “

Rubin, who has a net worth of $8 billion according to Forbes, has no plans to buy into any other ownership group in the future.

“Michael’s dedication, passion and business acumen have brought great benefit to the 76ers and the NBA, but Fanatics’ ability to build a global digital sports platform by entering new and emerging companies makes team ownership impractical for now,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “I look forward to continuing to work closely with Michael to expand Fanatics’ partnership with the league.”

Rubin was named 2022 Executive of the Year by Sports Business Journal in May, and it’s understood across the industry that his standing as one of the most powerful people in professional sports will only increase as he moves away from the side of team ownership. He could potentially help the ’76s more than ever as a superfan who no longer has the shackles of an owner limiting his ability to leverage his multiple relationships and power.

(Photo: Kyle Terada / USA Today)

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