Some businesses just don’t mix well. That’s exactly what’s happening for our man Shaq and his partial ownership in the Sacramento Kings. O’Neal has announced he’s selling his stake in the team, in order to – as he says – take up a new business endeavor.”
In a series of tweets and a more formal business announcement this week, O’Neal thanked Kings’ majority owner Vivek Ranadivé and the entire organization for the eight-year partnership. He also said that he “hoped to be back someday” in an ownership role. O’Neal had good things to say about the Kings, calling it a “forward-thinking organization.”
Shaq’s stake in team ownership has been small. Back in 2013, he purchased a share of less than 5% stake in the team. He hasn’t been very active with team management or ownership, either. At least one media outlet said it was hard to remember a time when O’Neal attended a game or had any interaction with other members of the Kings organization.
Exact details of the sale have not yet been made fully public. One source reported that O’Neal was most likely selling his stake to a company called Arctos Sports Partners. Arctos is a private equity firm that has purchased minority stakes in professional teams in the past. No word yet on how much profit – if any – O’Neal made in selling his stake.
Most likely, the reason Shaq sold his stake in the Kings is due to another business partnership, this one with the WynnBet sportsbook, where O’Neal is becoming a “brand ambassador” – something he does for several different companies, including Carnival Cruise Lines.
Like other professional sports leagues, the NBA still has a complicated relationship with the sports gambling space. Typically, professional sports organizations do not want their people to also be directly associated with sports (or other) types of betting and legal gambling – it just makes for too many possible conflicts of interest.
Because he was upping his interest in WynnBet, the Association probably did not want Shaq to also have any financial connection to a team. Team ownership and gambling are a definite conflict of interest, so Shaq made the decision to cut ties with the Kings and expand his activities with WynnBet.
Other small-stake Kings owners have also been selling their positions. Back in September, minority owners including Mark Friedman, Kevin Nagle, Mark Mastrov, Brad Jenkins, and Andy Miller sold their stake in the team to both Ranadivé and Arctos.
The online sports betting business is growing by leaps and bounds. You’ve probably seem the TV commercials and online promos, some featuring big-name stars from Hollywood and the sports world. We’ll have to wait and see how’s Shaq’s new deal shows up on our screens.