Nov 29, 2023 - Business

Mark Cuban selling the Mavericks could open political future

Mark Cuban at a Dallas Mavericks event.

Mark Cuban. Photo: Tim Heitman/Getty Images.

Mark Cuban is upending the world of pro sports team deals, agreeing to sell the Dallas Mavericks without relinquishing operational control.

Why it matters: This could spark speculation about Cuban's political ambitions.

Driving the news: Cuban, who bought the NBA club for $285 million in 2000, reportedly would sell a majority stake to Las Vegas casino magnate Miriam Adelson and her family at a $3.5 billion valuation.

  • The Mavericks won't relocate west, despite the NBA's desire to put a team in Vegas. Instead, the Adelsons — who control Las Vegas Sands Corp. — would be charged with developing a new sports entertainment complex in Dallas.
  • Cuban, an active startup company investor, would retain a minority stake while continuing to run the on-court show. It's a unique arrangement, and one that's certain to pique the interest of other owners who might want to cash in without losing their proximity to NBA power.
  • Per usual, all of this would be subject to league approval. In a statement, the Adelson family said it hopes for the transaction to close by year-end.

Zoom out: Cuban has long toyed with the idea of running for office, and this sale news comes just after he announced that the next season of "Shark Tank" will be his last.

  • Maybe that means a presidential run. Or a Senate bid, where Texas' Ted Cruz is up for re-election next fall and John Cornyn comes due in 2026.
  • He could be a very strong candidate. He's got the billionaire businessman and TV personality background that helped Trump, without the baggage. His ideology is more pragmatic than partisan, which could appeal to independents, and he's spent the past several years working to lower prescription drug prices (via a strategy that big insurers like Cigna are now copying).
  • He also would be flush with cash, plus business partners with an Adelson family that's known as a GOP mega-donor.

But, but, but: It would be a mistake to presume the Mavs sale and TV retirement are de facto leaps into politics.

  • In 2017, I asked Cuban on a conference stage if he'd run for president in 2020 against President Trump, of whom he wasn't a fan.
  • A big hesitation was that his oldest daughter was beginning high school, and he didn't love the idea of her bearing the brunt of her dad's politics while walking the hallways. Particularly in a red state like Texas.
  • He still has two teenage kids, the youngest of which has many years to go before graduating.

The bottom line: The Mavs sale structure is a reminder that, when it comes to Mark Cuban, it's best to expect the unexpected.

This story was updated with additional information.

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