Mark Cuban is selling a majority stake in the NBA's Dallas Mavericks to Miriam Adelson, the major shareholder of the Las Vegas Sands, according to the Associated Press. The deal values the Mavericks at $3.5 billion.
On Monday, Mark Cuban announced he would leave “Shark Tank” after the next season of ABC’s long-running show. On Tuesday, NBA correspondent Marc Stein broke the news that Cuban was in talks to sell a significant stake in the Mavericks to the owners of the Las Vegas Sands. By Tuesday night, the rumors were rampant.
Some claimed Cuban was gearing up for a run for the presidency. Others thought he was just cashing out near the top of sports franchise valuations. Cuban paid only $285 million for the Mavs back in 2000. But for those who have been paying attention, the potential deal is obvious. Ingenious – but obvious.
Cuban’s Desire for Legalized Gambling in Texas
Cuban has been an outspoken advocate for legalized gambling in Texas. Last December, he talked about his “mission” to build a new arena in the middle of a resort and casino. In April, he was among the professional sports owners pushing for legislation that would enable destination casinos and legalized sports betting in the Lone Star State.
Even after the legislation failed to pass, Cuban kept beating the drum for the cause. Earlier this month, he talked about his desire to partner with the Las Vegas Sands to build his dream arena in the midst of an upscale destination casino and resort.
While all the terms of the deal are not known, Cuban will reportedly still manage basketball operations and retain a stake in the team. After all, he still wants the team. He just wants a casino partnership to go with it.
Las Vegas Sands' Desire for a Texas Casino
After the Las Vegas Sands sold its Las Vegas properties in 2022, the company looked to Texas for the site of its next U.S. casino. It wasn’t going to be easy. Texas needed to pass a constitutional amendment to make it happen. LVS spent millions in lobbying and ad campaigns. The necessary bill passed the House. But the conservative Texas Senate let the bill die on the vine.
In the end, LVS had money, but no leverage. But that may soon change. This month, LVS filed a preliminary prospectus with the Securities and Exchange Commission on behalf of Dr. Miriam Adelson and The Miriam Adelson Trust for the sale of roughly $2 billion worth of LVS stock. They will “use the net proceeds from this offering, along with additional cash on hand, to fund the purchase of a majority interest in a professional sports franchise pursuant to a binding purchase agreement, subject to customary league approvals.”
As the owner of a thriving major league Texas franchise, LVS carries more weight. After all, if it doesn’t get what it wants, it can threaten to move the team.
While some suggest Las Vegas might be in the mix for the Mavericks, that may not be what NBA owners want. While they’d like a team in Vegas, they’d prefer it to be an expansion team, paying a lucrative expansion fee. And LVS just got out of Vegas. It is looking to be a big fish in an underdeveloped U.S. market. But time will tell.