This is a team that has a far amount of trouble not only behind it but in front of it as well. They will likely face a legal fight to void the contract of gun toting point guard Gilbert Arenas and now there seems to be a dispute amongst the ownership group on who exactly can sell the team and to whom. Somebody call CBS, because this has reality show written all over it. On one hand we have the family of deceased owner Abe Pollin. On the other, we have former AOL executive Ted Leonsis who says he has an exclusive opportunity to buy the Washington Wizards and their home arena the Verizon Center.
In the middle we have Comcast Cable, who themselves own a NBA and NHL team, and may be the ones to finance any deal to purchase the Wizards. So a couple of family members, whose family has owned the Wizards since its inception, say that they can sell the team to whomever the want. Since Pollin named Leonsis his heir way back in 1999, he feels that he has an exclusive right to purchase the team for himself. There are reports that there is a signed agreement but of course both sides are interpreting that differently.
The two sides are also bickering over the price of the team. The family of Pollin are saying that the two sides are several hundred million dollars apart on the price of the team and the stadium. This seems a little ridiculous for a team with the second worst record in the Eastern Conference, and whose star player just got booted from the league for carrying a gun into their locker room.
Forbes Sports Money lists the value of the Wizards at 313 million. Since Leonsis already owns 44% of the team and stadium the hundreds of millions of dollars comment is unrealistic. It seems that the Pollin family are sitting on assets worth about 250 million or so. That is for 66% of the team, stadium and Washington Sports and Entertainment. Of course the stadium is the real prize for Leonsis, since Leonsis already owns the buildings other tenant the Washington Capitals of the NHL, owing the stadium outright gives him tremendous opportunity for future revenue.