Earlier this month, 76ers owner, Josh Harris, purchased the New Jersey Devils, leading many to question what this means for the Philadelphia sports. Of course, the Sixers and Devils are in different leagues and there will be little, if any, direct impact on the other Philadelphia teams. But Philadelphia fans take their teams very seriously, and there does seem to be something wrong about this deal.
First let me say that I completely understand that Harris is a business man, and he is viewing this transaction as strictly business. The Devils are not direct rivals with the Sixers, so I suppose there would not be a serious conflict of interest there. But it must be somewhat uncomfortable for the two teams to have the same ownership considering the strong rivalry between the Devils and Flyers. For one, Ed Snider, owner of both the Flyers and the Wells Fargo Center, leases the stadium to Harris for the Sixers. I find it hard to believe there will not be some tension in that relationship now. If nothing else, Harris does not seem very loyal to Philadelphia as a whole and that’s something to be cautious of in the future.
One may argue that since the Flyers and Sixers are no longer both owned by Ed Snider that they no longer have a formal connection. That may be true technically, but there will always be an undeniable connection between them, as well as the rest of Philadelphia’s teams. In many cases, someone that roots for a Philadelphia team in one sport will most likely root for a Philadelphia team in another sport. So what I’m saying is that most people who are Sixers fans are Flyers fans, and they may have a problem with Harris’ dual ownership. If nothing else, it just feels wrong.
In the end, it’s true that this really does not affect the Flyers directly, but there may be some repercussions behind-the-scenes, particulary between Harris and Snider. Although there are no good reasons for us to be upset with Harris’ dual-ownership, it just feels wrong. I am interested to see what happens in the future with both of Harris’ teams.