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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The National Basketball Association is considering the creation of an investment fund that would buy small equity stakes in a portfolio of teams, as first reported yesterday by Bloomberg.

Why it matters: NBA owners are concerned that skyrocketing team prices mean that there's a limited number of individuals who could buy the next teams put up for sale. Or, as one league source put it: "There are only so many Steve Ballmers and Joe Tsais."

  • This fund could, in theory, help expand the principal buyer pool by assuming some of the new purchase prices. Particularly by introducing institutional investors that have, historically, been shunned by the NBA and other pro sports leagues.
  • It also would become a way for existing minority owners to exit, if desired. Plus perhaps set more of a market price, as opposed to the current model of "last price + 20%."
  • For now, the NBA isn't commenting.

Why the NBA? Because private equity sources say basketball is generally viewed as a better investment opportunity than baseball (shrinking attendance), hockey (geographically limited), and football (liabilities). International soccer is the best comp, although the NBA is still viewed as superior because it has capped player costs.

  • I'm also told that the NBA's plan would be a formalization of an ad hoc process that investment bank Allen & Co. often does for Major League Baseball. I'm still trying to suss out more details of that relationship.

The bottom line: Being a passive sports team owner is really being the person who pays the most for good seats. But owning a portfolio could be appealing for long-term money, and it's only a matter of time before we get a league-managed or third-party fund/marketplace for these interests.

Go deeper: The profound impact of the NBA's nomadic era

Go deeper

Broncos and 49ers the latest NFL teams impacted by coronavirus crisis

From left, Denver Broncos quarterbacks Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Jeff Driskel during an August training session at UCHealth Training Center in Englewood, Colorado. Photo: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the NFL season into chaos, with all Denver Broncos quarterbacks sidelined, the San Francisco 49ers left without a home or practice ground and much of the Baltimore Ravens team unavailable, per AP.

Driving the news: The Broncos confirmed in a statement Saturday night that quarterbacks Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles were identified as "high-risk COVID-19 close contacts" and will follow the NFL's mandatory five-day quarantine, making them ineligible for Sunday's game against New Orleans.

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: McConnell temporarily halts in-person lunches for GOP caucus.
  3. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in DecemberAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  4. Education: U.S. public school enrollment drops as pandemic persists.
  5. Cities: Surge in cases forces San Francisco to impose curfew — Los Angeles County issues stay-at-home order, limits gatherings.
  6. Sports: NFL bans in-person team activities Monday, Tuesday due to COVID-19 surge — NBA announces new coronavirus protocols.
  7. World: London police arrest more than 150 during anti-lockdown protests — Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.

Tony Hsieh, longtime Zappos CEO, dies at 46

Tony Hsieh. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic

Tony Hsieh, the longtime ex-chief executive of Zappos, died on Friday after being injured in a house fire, his lawyer told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He was 46.

The big picture: Hsieh was known for his unique approach to management, and following the 2008 recession his ongoing investment and efforts to revitalize the downtown Las Vegas area.