Mark Cuban says changing NBA landscape led to sale of Mavs to casino families

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Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban sees a future of NBA ownership where the advantages will be in real estate.

The high-profile billionaire, who graduated from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business with a bachelor’s degree in management, says that’s why he sold his majority stake in the Dallas Mavericks to a pair of families with strong ties to the hotel and casino industry.

The NBA on Wednesday approved Cuban’s sale of a controlling interest in the Mavericks to the Adelson and Dumont families, who run Las Vegas Sands Corp.

The deal was approved just shy of a month since Miriam Adelson and Sivan and Patrick Dumont announced their intention to buy the club. The purchase is in the valuation range of $3.5 billion.

Patrick Dumont, Adelson’s son-in-law and president and chief operating officer of Las Vegas Sands, will serve as Mavericks governor. Adelson is the widow of casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

Cuban will be the alternate governor with a 27% stake in the club and will maintain control of basketball operations. He made it clear there were no plans for the franchise to leave Dallas.

“The advantage is what can you build and where and you need to have somebody who’s really, really good at that,” Cuban said before the Mavs’ game against Cleveland on Wednesday night. “Patrick and Miriam, they’re the best in the world at what they do. Literally, around the world.

“When you get a world-class partner who can come in and grow your revenue base and you’re not dependent on things that you were in the past, that’s a huge win,” Cuban said.

Miriam Adelson is the controlling shareholder of Las Vegas Sands Corp., a publicly traded Las Vegas company that built the Venetian and Palazzo resorts but now only has casino operations in Macau and Singapore. Sheldon Adelson, the founder of Las Vegas Sands, died in 2021 at age 87.

“Through our commitment and additional investment in the team, we look forward to partnering with Mark Cuban to build on the team’s success and legacy in Dallas and beyond,” the Adelson and Dumont families said in a statement. “The goal is to win and to have a team that proudly represents the greater DFW area and serves as a strong and valuable member of the local community.”

Cuban said when he bought the Mavericks in 2000, he had the advantage of understanding technology. He became a billionaire when the radio internet streaming company he co-founded, Broadcast.com, was bought by Yahoo for $5.6 billion. Cuban and longtime friend Todd Wagner came up with the company when they weren’t able to listen to Indiana University basketball games in Texas.

Now, the future of media rights deals is in question. Diamond Sports, the company that owns the regional sports network that carries the Mavericks, is in bankruptcy proceedings.

Cuban said the sale makes revenue from media rights deals much less of a concern for the Mavericks.

“Financially, we’re in a far better position this afternoon than we were yesterday afternoon to be able to compete like that,” Cuban said.

The 65-year-old insisted he would have final say in the hiring and firing of coaches, and the signing of free agents, “unless we’re going to go hire somebody that cost $300 million a year.”

And Cuban said spending to keep the team competitive won’t be an issue with Patrick Dumont.

“He basically said, ‘Just do what you’ve got to do. I want to win,’” Cuban said.

Gambling isn’t legal in Texas, and efforts to legalize it face steep odds. Still, Miriam Adelson has made no secret of her push to bring casino gambling to the Lone Star State.

She pumped more than $2 million last year into a political action committee, called Texas Sands, which donated lavishly to state legislators and swarmed the GOP-controlled Capitol with lobbyists. She gave an additional $1 million separately to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.

But the spending blitz failed to deliver a breakthrough this year in the Texas Legislature, where resistance to legalizing casinos runs deep.

Asked how active he would be in trying to get gambling legalized in Texas, Cuban said, “As active as I need to be because I think it’s the right thing for the state of Texas.”

“Honestly, I don’t care so much about sports betting,” Cuban said. “If you look at destination resorts and casinos, the casino part of it is tiny, relative to the whole bigger destination aspect of it. Could you imagine building the Venetian in Dallas, Texas? That would just change everything.”

Dallas was one of the worst franchises in pro sports in the 1990s but turned into one of the best under Cuban, with a lot of help from star forward Dirk Nowitzki—now a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame and the leader of the team that won the 2011 NBA championship.

A self-professed basketball junkie, Cuban is almost always courtside for Mavericks games. He still will be.

“It’s a partnership,” Cuban said. “They’re not basketball people. I’m not real estate people. That’s why I did it. I could have gotten more money from somebody else. I’ve known these guys for a long time. They’re great at the things I’m not good at.”

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