Free Spirits – The Silna Deal

Last night I watched one of ESPN’s captivating 30 for 30 episodes; this one being about the St. Louis Spirit and its’ owners Ozzie and Daniel Silna. They had created the Spirit ABA basketball organization with aspirations of one day cashing out through the inevitable NBA merger. However, when things did not go as planned, and the NBA did not accept the Spirit into the league (in part because of the irrational behavior of Marvin Barnes), Ozzie and Daniel had their own plans. They asked to be given a small fraction of the NBA’s television revenue in perpetuity. At that time no one could imagine how much money would be in television, and how quickly the industry would grow. For some, this was even a bit of a joke. To this day, the Silna’s have made over $250 million through the deal. Talk about innovative thinking. This outside of the box proposal has been cited as one of the best business moves ever. Watching this episode really got me thinking – what will be the next industry to explode like this? What new technology is capable of delivering an insane ROI? To be one step ahead of the pack, it is important to consider the bigger picture in ways like these.

Here are 2012 New York Times and Forbes articles for more detailed information. (Including how the deal is becoming even sweeter for the Silna’s, as they seek to tap into the international broadcast revenue.)


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