Cuban said Bezos would inject some new “blood” into an older NFL ownership group should he eventually find a team willing to sell.
“They’ve had some new folks come in, but Jeff is a special guy,” Cuban said in an interview Thursday before the Mavs fell 106 – 103 to the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Hedge fund manager David Tepper, 62, is one of the league’s newer owners having purchased the Carolina Panthers for $2.2 billion in July. Cuban said of Bezos, “the NFL could probably use him.”
The addition of Bezos would also provide a better understating of “the value of the content,” especially in a society where consumers are continually ditching linear TV and finding other ways to view live sports, Cuban said. One way is through Amazon Prime, which has aired NFL Thursday Night games since agreeing to purchase the rights in 2018 for a $130 million.
“The biggest question for professional sports right now is what’s the equilibrium between streaming and traditional TV,” Cuban said. “Where will sports rights fees be over the next five, 10, 20 years, that’s the question.”
Last weekend, CBS Sports reported that Bezos, 55, may be interested in acquiring an NFL team, and the Washington Post, which Bezos owns, said the billionaire “may or may not want to buy” the Seattle Seahawks. But the team isn’t for sale, according to an official at Vulcan Sports & Entertainment, which owns and runs the Seahawks and Portland Trail Blazers.
Microsoft co-owner Paul Allen, who died last year after a battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, has owned the Seahawks since 1997 after purchasing the team from Ken Behring for roughly $200 million. The Vulcan Sports official said Allen’s sister, Jody, who is running his estate, has held firm on continuing business as usual with Vulcan remaining in control of its sports franchises for the foreseeable future.
According to Forbes, the Seahawks are valued at $2.7 billion, while Bezos is currently the richest man in the world, with a net worth of $109.5 billion. Bezos would have little problem complying with the strict NFL ownership rules – financing at least 30% of the purchase price in cash with a maximum of $350 million debt.
“He’s smart,” Cuban said. “He’s successful. He’s got a lot of money. Those would be the requirements. The key is recognizing that it’s not like any other business you’ve ever run.”
When it was suggested Bezos could buy an NBA team instead, Cuban did not flinch at the idea and would approve if Bezos returned an NBA team to Seattle. Still, Cuban said the NFL needs Bezos’ thinking and Amazon’s services.
“If he gets involved in any professional sports team, that’s good,” Cuban said.