The return of LeBron James to the Cleveland Cavaliers has an impact that goes way past the wins and losses column. Bloomburg News has reported that this move has the potential to bring $500 million a year back to the city of Cleveland, Ohio. As well, Peter Schwartz of the VC firm Christie & Associates says LeBron makes the Cavs a $1 billion franchise. I am all for helping out a beaten down city, especially when it means so much to that individual athlete, but let’s not lose sight of the real winner in all of this…..Dan Gilbert.
Gilbert the owner of the Cavaliers absolutely ripped LeBron in a letter after his “Decision” to go to Miami, but you better believe he is crying tears of joy to have him back. Obviously the franchise’s value will increase due to increased merchandise, ticket, and other sales but what else is there for Gilbert to take advantage of?
Here are some facts you may or may not know:
1) Dan Gilbert is founder and chairman of Quicken Loans Inc.
- The arena that the Cavaliers play in is the Quicken Loans Arena
2) He also is the chairman of Rock Gaming
- They opened their first Horseshoe Casino in downtown Cleveland in 2012
3) Gilbert also owns the Cleveland Gladiators, an AFL team
- If residents of Cleveland have more money to spend they will potentially use it for luxury expenses
4) As well the NBA will be negotiating a new television deal within the next few years which will be sure to stuff more money into Gilbert’s pockets’.
Now I can’t fault Gilbert for being a savvy businessman, which he clearly is but don’t think that his only motivation is winning an NBA championship. I wouldn’t go so far as to compare him to the marketing and business guru Jerry Jones, but it sure seems like he wants to get there.
My dream scenario, which I can’t take credit for thinking of, would be that after LeBron retires he has enough money to buy out Dan Gilbert and become the new owner of the Cavaliers. Imagine the feel good story that would be, hometown hero not only wins a championship for his long deprived city but becomes successful enough to own them. Undoubtedly there are plenty of “What if” scenarios, but for now what we know is LeBron is once again a Cav and Dan Gilbert is laughing his way to the bank!
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and let me know what you think!