New ownership of the 76ers could mean increased accountability and a tighter focus on the team from the top, said Marc Ganis, president of SportsCorp Limited, a Chicago-based sports consulting firm.
"From the fan's perspective, they should like it, because the attention is focused solely on the Sixers, not on the arena and Comcast SportsNet and the Flyers," said Ganis, referring to other sports entities currently run by Comcast-Spectacor. "There's more accountability when an individual owns a team than when a corporation owns a team."
How exactly that will play out depends on the individual owners, said Ganis and another source who is familiar with the 76ers talks.
Ganis, who is not involved in the potential deal, said significant management changes typically come within a few years of a team's sale. Exactly what that means on the court will depend on the new owners.
"In most cases, within two or three years it's very significant" change, Ganis said.
The Golden State Warriors, for example, have new owners who quickly changed their head coach and brought in legendary NBA executive Jerry West as a consultant. The team is now reportedly considering trading guard Monta Ellis. (The 76ers are being named as a possible destination.)
Other new owners, though, choose to learn from the people already in place, said a source familiar with the 76ers deal, who requested anonymity to talk about the issue. The Chicago Cubs are an example of a team that initially moved in a business-as-usual mode. The team still has the same general manager, Jim Hendry, as when Tom Ricketts bought the club in 2009. Manager Lou Piniella stayed on for roughly a year after the purchase.
Regardless of the approach, Ganis said, fans should eventually expect change, likely starting on the business side in Year 1 and then moving to the on-court product. But first the new owners would probably embark on a public-relations campaign to win over fans.
"You want them to like you," Ganis said.