76ers officially sold to new owners

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A person familiar to the sale, who talked to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the numbers are not public, said the Sixers lost around $15 million last season and have not turned a profit since 2001-02, the year after they went to the NBA finals.

Comcast-Spectacor bought the Sixers from Harold Katz on April 24, 1996. Comcast-Spectacor also owns the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers.

“This is one of the hardest business decisions I’ve ever had to make,” Snider said. “The Sixers are family, and it is very difficult to say goodbye to an organization of great people with whom we have worked so closely over the last 15 years.”

Comcast-Spectacor also owns the Wells Fargo Center. The Sixers will become a tenant in the building once the NBA lockout is over and Harris said there are no plans for an NBA-only arena. However, a new practice facility is on the drawing board.

Under Snider’s ownership, Allen Iverson and the Sixers lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2001 NBA finals. The Sixers have won only one playoff series since 2001 and have been mired in mediocrity for most of the last decade. They haven’t had a winning record since 2004-05 and last won a championship in 1983.

The 76ers were valued this year by Forbes at $330 million, 17th in the NBA, and have a television deal with cable station Comcast SportsNet through 2029. Harris bought the group for a reported $280 million.

The Sixers lag well behind the Phillies, Eagles and Flyers _ even Villanova _ in interest and attendance. Collins led a rebirth on the court last season, leading them to 41 victories and a competitive, five-game playoff series loss against Eastern Conference champion Miami. Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, Jodie Meeks, and Thaddeus Young form a promising core, with veterans Elton Brand and Andre Iguodala also in the mix.

The new owners understand they have to win back the fan base as much as they have to win games.

Aron sounded like he was straight out of a late-night infomercial with his passionate pitch: Ticket prices are sliced, diced, and julienned! Harris could have been featured in Us Weekly magazine: NBA owners, just like US!

“I’ve been a 76ers fans since college,” Harris said. “Philadelphia is like a second home to me.”

Yes, a second home. Harris intends to run the Sixers (“my night job”) from New York _ though he can surely afford the Acela.

He said he wouldn’t hesitate to pay a luxury tax, if it’s included in the new collective bargaining agreement

Before the lockout, the Sixers would have had about $55 million in payroll committed to next season, led by Brand’s $17 million and Iguodala’s $13.5 million. The Sixers spent the summer in trade talks involving Iguodala _ plans that have been put on hold because of the lockout.

Harris, Blitzer and his group are buying the team with the NBA in the midst of a lockout. The first two weeks of the regular season have already been canceled.

“We’re trying to move along as if everything is as it normally is,” Thorn said. “You have to get ready scouting wise.”

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