Mark Cuban’s sale of his majority stake in the Dallas Mavericks caught many by surprise. The billionaire investor says he did it because a new way of making money has taken rise in the NBA — and it’s not one he’s well versed in.
The $3.5 billion deal between Cuban and the family of casino mogul Miriam Adelson made headlines in November 2023 before the NBA approved the sale in December. Cuban, who also owns pharmacy company Cost Plus Drugs, now has a 27% stake in the basketball team, and will continue to control basketball operations.
On Monday, Cuban, 65, delved deeper into the reasoning behind his big decision while holding an “ask me anything” session on X, formerly known as Twitter. A follower asked Cuban, “Why did you sell a portion of the Mavs?”
“To spend more time with my family and because I believe the next wave of revenue generation is around real estate and entertainment and those aren’t my strengths,” the billionaire responded.
Cuban has never been shy about pointing out where his strengths lie, saying in the past that he is “really, really, really good at sales.”
But the “next wave” he referred to revolves around the trend of NBA franchises seeking additional revenue streams off the court, including partnering with “tech giants, [and building] million-dollar condos and buzzy restaurants to offset the construction of new facilities,” according to ESPN.
Those pursuits make more sense for the Adelsons, who have a long history in the entertainment, casino and real estate space, Cuban said in a pre-game interview on Dec. 27th. Adelson and her family are the largest shareholders in Las Vegas Sands, the massive casino and resort chain that’s currently valued at more than $37 billion.
“If you look at the teams that spend the most money right now … it’s not because of their media deals. It’s because of their real estate empires that they’ve built,” Cuban said. “And I have no knowledge in that at all. It’s been hard enough learning the pharmacy and basketball business, let alone trying to learn real estate as well.”
Miriam Adelson, recognized as the fifth-richest woman in the world by Forbes, along with her family, inherited 56% of the shares of the world’s largest casino company when her husband, Las Vegas Sands founder Sheldon Adelson, died in 2021.
Of the new majority stakeholders, Cuban said in the pre-game interview, “Their ability to build and to redevelop the arena, and whatever comes next beyond that, just puts [the Mavericks franchise] in a much better position to compete.”
The long-time basketball lover also said he foresaw these changes years ago, and knew he wasn’t the man for the job.
“Two, three years ago I started talking about a casino and a destination resort. And, I knew it. I told you guys then that I wasn’t going to be the one to build it,” he said.
Cuban’s desire to spend more time with his family also shaped his decision to leave ABC’s “Shark Tank” after its 16th season ends in 2025. But these major career changes could also make room for another passion of his: sports betting.
Though bills have been proposed to legalize online sports betting in Texas, it remains banned. Following his new partnership with casino royalty, however, Cuban is hoping to make progress on bridging the gap between professional sports and gambling in Texas.
“I don’t know [when Texas will legalize sports betting],” Cuban posted to X on Monday. “Hopefully they will.”
Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to “Shark Tank.”
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