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New Ownership Group To Run The Atlanta Hawks

Posted by on August 26, 2015 | No comments

It has been a year of changes for the Atlanta Hawks. Not only did the value of the team soar from an estimated 475 million to a selling price of around 850 million, they also did well in the playoffs, and managed to plan for the second half of the decade by having a new ownership group acquire them.

Welcome to the new team:

As former owner, Bruce Levenson on wikipedia moves on to other opportunities, it is an interesting close to an era in the NBA where ownership was largely concentrated in the hands of a single owner or family. Bruce showed a lot of savvy when it came to operating the club that he had purchased from Ted Turner, helping to craft a team and a staff that has been very competitive over the past few years. He also was able to share his commitment to human rights by taking the team to the National Holocaust Museum on a group trip and joining them on a tour through the museum.

Today, with the sale of the Hawks, it looks like the NBA is ready to be more accepting of owners that are putting together small groups of investors to combine resources and share the responsibility. That some of this same group were not able to buy the Los Angeles Clippers owing to the very large price paid for them may be an aberration in the overall trend towards small group ownership. The new ownership group, led by entrepreneur Antony Ressler is the sort of owner dream team that any venture capitalist would like to see when they put together a bid. They have a former player, Grant Hill, a philanthropist CEO, Susan Blakeley, and a current sports franchise owner in Ressler. When you add to that the venture capital prowess that Rick Schall of C,D, and R, another ownership team member, you end up with a group that has a pretty complementary set of skills to bring to bear on the operations of one of the most popular teams in the NBA.

Is the price too high?

There was some question about how the franchise value moved from $475 million to $850 million in the space of a year. On the other hand, with Bruce Levenson’s team creating a solid organization and doing all the right things in order to grow revenue, there are actually few changes that need to be made by the new owners in order to see their investment pay off. They will keep the coaching staff and focus on adding players to the nucleus of a playoff-level team that has a lot of opportunity in 2015-16. Another factor in the price change was the fact that a new television contract ended up raising projected revenue for every NBA team substantially, resulting in a corresponding increase in value across the board.

Will this year be the year that the Hawks win it all? There are still a lot of details work out to ensure that that will happen. Yet with the new ownership team in place and energized before the season starts, the team looks ready to move forward in the playoffs.

Brock Lesnar Was Interviewed By Jimmy Fallon

Posted by on August 22, 2015 | No comments

According to Handy, Brock Lesnar is a monster, and people around the world fear him. Not only is Brock Lesnar the WWE Champion, but he is also a former UFC heavyweight champion. Several MMA fighters have spread terrible rumors about Brock Lesnar, and the world now views Brock Lesnar as an arrogant meathead. Nonetheless, WWE fans love Brock, and he is more popular than ever.

Several years ago, Brock Lesnar appeared on the Jimmy Fallon show, and the interview took place before a scheduled fight against the Junior dos Santos. A Reddit user recently posted the segment online, and everyone is buzzing about the chemistry that Brock Lesnar and Jimmy Fallon had. Most people wouldn’t believe how funny and nice Brock Lesnar actually is, but Jimmy Fallon tends to bring the best out of people.

Brock Lesnar rarely does this type of interview, and I suggest that his fans check it out. I’m beginning to wonder how much of Brock Lesnar’s attitude during his UFC reign was manufactured. Professional wrestling fans believe Brock Lesnar was acting the entire time, and I wouldn’t doubt it. Brock was the UFC’s biggest draw, and he most likely brought over the promotional tools of his WWE days. Unfortunately, Brock Lesnar couldn’t cut it in the UFC anymore, and he had to return to the WWE.

The NBA

Posted by on August 19, 2015 | No comments

Overview

Professional sports is one of the biggest industries in the world today. Every year, fans spend billions of dollars watching their favorite team play their sport of choice. One of the largest sports leagues in the world is the NBA. The NBA has endured a lot of changed over the years, ranging from integration to expanding to international leagues. There are several ways in which the NBA has tried to change its image and increase its fan base over time. One of the most well known owners in the NBA is Bruce Levenson, who was the owner of the Atlanta Hawks. Bruce Levenson was able to take this franchise from one of the smallest in the league to one of the largest. Here are several ways that the NBA is attempting to grow its fan base and how successful they are in doing so.

Community Service

Over the years, the NBA got a bad reputation for having criminals on different teams. They have responded by trying to clean up their image in a variety of ways. First of all, any time an NBA is in trouble with the law they are suspended from playing. Another thing that they have tried to implement is making NBA players do community service every year. Although it is not required to play in the league, there are many people that encourage NBA players to participate in different community programs. As professional athletes, it is important that NBA players take responsibility for how other people see them. Many NBA fans believe that this is a step in the right direction in turning around the image of the league.

Bruce Levenson

Bruce Levenson is a well known NBA owner for a variety of reasons. Over ten years ago, Bruce Levenson purchased the Atlanta Hawks when they were one of the worst teams in the NBA. Over time, Bruce Levenson has been able to turn the franchise around from a financial and playing stand point. There are many people that consider Bruce Levenson to be one of the best owners in the league over the past couple of years. Many people look up to Bruce Levenson for the work that he was able to do in turning around the franchise.

Final Thoughts

Overall, pro sports play a large role in our society today. There are many people that look up to pro athletes, and because of this there are people in the NBA that have worked to turn around their image. Not only are they starting to clean up the league, but people like Bruce Levenson have worked in a variety of community related events in order to generate goodwill in the community.

Kenneth Griffin Sticks With Citadel and Sees Success All Over Again

Posted by on August 8, 2015 | No comments

When it comes to finding success, there are relatively few people in the world that are able to reach the highest levels. These are the individuals that are smart enough to understand the world of business and determined enough to be successful, even in the face of tremendous adversity. There have never been a large number of these individuals that existed at any one given time. However, there are far fewer individuals now than there were before the economic downturn that happened a few years ago. When that happened, even the people that knew how to create something out of practically nothing found themselves in a situation where they had very few options left. Many otherwise successful companies went out of business. Furthermore, a number of those that did manage to survive came out on the other side of things as little more than a shell of their former selves. Somehow, Kenneth Griffin managed to weather the storm better than most.

Griffin is the founder and CEO of Citadel, Citadel’s Ken Griffin Leaves 2008 Tumble Far Behind, the well known investment banking firm. His company has been providing hedge funds for entrepreneurial endeavors all over the world for decades. In fact, the company recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. According to an article that originally appeared in The Wall Street Journal, there is a reason why Griffin was able to prevent Citadel from going under like so many of the other companies like it. After all, the economic downturn was especially hard on companies that provided hedge funds for other businesses. The entire investment banking industry took a huge hit, and many of the most powerful companies were simply not able to survive.

The reason that Citadel did survive is because Griffin has a unique understanding of the way that businesses operate. As such, he also has the unique understanding of the way that the economy works and he understands it on a global scale. Therefore, he was probably able to see much of the economic downturn coming long before it ever actually arrived. He also knew what he needed to do in order to prepare for it in order to give himself and the company that he founded the opportunity to remain standing when so many others fell.

That is not to say that Citadel came out of the economic downturn unscathed. It would be virtually impossible for such a monumental event to occur without the company feeling the pressure. It became difficult for all types of investment banking firms to stay afloat, much less to do normal day to day business as if nothing had ever happened. Citadel was feeling the pressure just like everyone else. The difference is that this company was able to stay the course even during the face of adversity and come out on the other side, better and stronger than ever.

The company now wears its scars from this event like a badge of honor. Griffin understands how business works and that is why he was able to prevent the company from going out of business in the first place. The mere fact that the company survived can attest to this fact. However, it is really about much more than that. Now that Citadel has weathered the storm, Griffin and his company are even more poised to find additional levels of success in the future. Read the full story at http://www.wsj.com/articles/citadels-ken-griffin-leaves-2008-tumble-far-behind-1438655887.

FreedomPop Raises Another 30 Million for Free Phone Service

Posted by on August 6, 2015 | No comments

Upstart company, FreedomPop, which provides free internet, text, and phone services to its users received another 30 million dollars in funding. The funding is part of another round of support for the rapidly growing phone service company. CEO Stephen Stokols says the money will be used to help FreedomPop grow independently.

FreedomPop’s business model revolves around offering free services to its customers, relying on up sales and add-on services to generate profits. The service has become desirable among younger users of smartphones and tablets. Since all the usage from users is transmitted through data, FreedomPop saves enormous costs compared to other virtual carriers.

After their article on TechCrunch, FreedomPop gained increased attention, fielding several buy-out offers from larger carrier companies and Tech giants have encouraged the small up-start to pursue growth upwards of a billion dollars.

While raising money from investors and partner companies the mobile phone start-up is also enjoying sales growth of 25 percent a quarter. With current projections, FreedomPop will reach One million customers by the end of the year. Its expanding markets in the United States will be extended to include Europe. Partnering with the SIM carrier, Three, FreedomPop will make its debut into Europe’s service market.

Antony Ressler is All Set to Buy Atlanta Hawks

Posted by on August 2, 2015 | No comments

After months of talking, sales meetings and media hype, it is now confirmed that Atlanta Hawks’ ownership is going to Antony Ressler. He is one of the renowned equity fund and investment managers in our country. His group has come to a decision to buy the team for nearly $850 millions. Although the deal has been finalized, the new owner of this team is yet to speak publicly about the completion of the sale.

Sources claim that the new owners in Ressler’s group include some of the notable persons, including ex-NBA player Grant Hill and popular entrepreneur Jesse Itzler. Itzler is also the co-founder of Marquis Jet. As per the plan, the group led by Ressler will buy the Hawks from Michael Gearon Jr., Bruce Levenson and other investors. The new owner group of Atlanta Hawks also includes Itzler’s wife Sara Blakely. Before the completion of the sale, NBA owners must approve the sale of this team as well.

As per some reports released on Wednesday, the sale price of $850 million is confirmed. Entrepreneur Antony Ressler had already given his nod for this sale agreement. While the completion of this sale is yet to happen, sources claim that the sale will be financed by cash and some loans. In this long-term plan with the Ressler’s group, both Steve Koonin(CEO) and Mike Budenholzer(coach) will be closely associated. This ongoing plan will also include some organization restructure by the new ownership group. This news is from ESPN as sources close to the group confirmed it.

Forbes mentioned in a report about the current value of the Hawks last year, which was close to $425 millions. However, the change in the price is all because of the sales of the Bucks and Clippers. After NBA finalized some new television deals this year, the franchise value has doubled in a short span of time. Apparently, the price of Hawks skyrocketed to $850 million compared to the last year’s price.

Recently, sources close to Bruce Levenson also confirmed the news about the sale. Bruce Levenson was one of the previous owners of the team. Since 2004, he has also served as the governor for the Atlanta Hawks Basketball team. When Bruce took over the team, it was popular as the Atlanta Spirit LLC. Bruce along with a group of other investors collectively owned this team. Later in 2014, Levenson publicly mentioned about his interest in selling the team to these new investors. Till date, Levenson served as the managing partner and one of the board of directors for the Hawks.

Sacramento Kings Are Rudderless and Leaderless.

Posted by on July 2, 2015 | No comments

George Karl was supposed to land in Sacramento and immediately make things better for the young but talented Kings. Instead we have seen drama explode from the get go, starting with the fact that Karl should never have been hired to begin with. The Kings know that Karl has a track record of running his best players out of town and Cousins has already started to feel the heat, sending out a cryptic tweet about ‘snakes in the grass’, which is a recurring theme with players under George Karl. Now Sacramento is dealing another young former lotto pick in Nik Stauskas for cap relief.

While you can’t confuse Nik Stauskas for a world beater, not in his first season, anyone with a pair of eyes could clearly see that the Michigan grad has a ton of potential. Stauskas is a quick shooting guard with excellent touch and the ability to come off of the ball. Tosto thought he had a pretty bright future ahead of things. In limited starts last season he showcased his big scoring ability by pouring in threes. Now he has been dealt to the 76ers, where he might see some playing time.

The reason for the Stauskas salary dump? Cash considerations. Sacramento wants to create some cap space in order to go after players like Rajon Rondo, Wesley Matthews, and Monta Ellis. While all of those guys are serviceable, they are older and likely looking for bad contracts. Stauskas was on a rookie deal with no ceiling in sight.

McGregor V.S. Mendes Overview

Posted by on July 2, 2015 | No comments

Chad Mendes will now face Conor McGregor in the main event of UFC 189. Everyone was excited for the original matchup of Conor McGregor v.s. Jose Aldo, but Aldo was severly injured. Aldo was forced to pull out of the fight, and the rest is history.

Dana White recently announced that Mendes V.S. McGregor would headline the UFC 189 card, and UFC fans around the world have been bummed out ever since. However, while I do agree that the announcement of Jose Aldo’s withdrawal from UFC 189 was a let down, the new matchup between Mendes and McGregor does interest me. Chad Mendes is a very talented wrestler, and he will most likely take Conor Macgregor down.

UFC matchmakers have been avoiding placing a wrestler against Conor McGregor, and it’s not hard to imagine why if you ask Jennifer. Conor is a standup fighter, and he has had problems with wrestlers in the past. In fact, Conor McGregor’s only two losses came via submission, and he was on his back in both of those instances. There is a good chance that we could see Conor McGregor on his back once again. However, Conor could end up destroying Chad Mendes with vicious punches and kicks. No one really knows what will take place, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see either fighter win. Yahoo! Sports recently published an article with further details on the McGregor V.S. Mendes fight.

Bruce Levenson, Former NBA Owner and Atlanta Businessman

Posted by on July 1, 2015 | No comments

Bruce Levenson has had a lot of opportunities to add experiences to his resume over the years. He has founded major, publicly-traded companies and has been involved in the business scene of Atlanta for many years. For a time he was even the majority owner of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks. So yes, Levenson has definitely been a mover and a shaker in Atlanta’s power broker scene. As someone who made it big, Levenson also understand the importance of understanding where he came from and giving back. That is why he and his wife are also involved in many important philanthropic organzations within Atlanta as well. He is a highly educated man and understands the importance of a higher education for those who desire an improved station in life.

Levenson was born into a Jewish household in Washington D.C. on October 1, 1949. He grew up in the nearby suburb of Chevy Chase, Maryland. As a high school senior he applied to many colleges and was accepted at Washington University in St. Louis, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. He did law school classes at night and fulfilled his journalism career at the Washington Star, eventually graduating with a J.D. degree from American University. After college Levenson and a college friend started United Communications Group (UCG) out of Levenson’s apartment in 1977. This is the venture that helped lead Levenson to become well-known as the former majority owner of the Atlanta Hawks. Here is some extra information on this company founded by Ed Peskowitz and Mr. Levenson:

1. United Communications Group is a business information company.

After being started in Levenson’s apartment, the main focus of this company was to inform the public about various events in the oil industry. Thus, they first began publishing a newletter devoted to this information called Oil Express. After acquiring other newsletters, the United Communications Group became most well-known for launching a database called the Oil Price Information Service or OPIS. The company has since branched out to sharing news about healthcare, banking, technology and telecommunications as well.

2. United Communications Group currently owns and operates GasBuddy LLC.

GasBuddy is a company that was founded in Brooklyn Park, MN that operates websites and mobile applications devoted to helping consumers comparison shop for gas prices in their local area. The company was founded by Dustin Coupal and Jason Toews in April 2000 and still has offices in the Minneapolis area. United Communications Group announced in March of 2013 that they had acquired the company through their OPIS subsidary, increasing Bruce Levenson and his associates’ holdings.

3. United Communications Group is privately held.

Levenson and his associates made the decision long ago not to take the company public, preferring to keep it a privately held entity.

Besides being the owner of a major public information company, Levenson is also a devoted philanthropist. He serves as president of the Washington chapter of the I Have A Dream Foundation and was a founding donor to the U.S. Holocaust Museum. The Holocaust is an event that is close to his heart because his mother-in-law is actually a Holocaust survivor.

Levenson is definitely a prominent and important businessman not only in Atlanta but in the country as well.

Andy Wirth’s Brush With Death

Posted by on June 23, 2015 | No comments

CEO Andy Wirth of Squaw Valley met his friend who introduced him into Sean McCormick. Sean McCormick was known for being a Red Bull athlete. Andy told Sean in a conversation they he would like to go skydiving. After talking about it on a few occasions Sean helped Andy to get certified in order to sky dive. The first time Andy went skydiving he instantly fell in love with the thrill and excitement. Andy liked skydiving so much that he scheduled a jump every time he had the opportunity to in his free time. Andy was left addicted to the thrill.

On some days Andy managed to jump several times instead of just one jump. In one day he managed to get seven jumps! That alone is astonishing for someone who just started jumping. Andy eventually got comfortable with jumping that he could do formations with other jumpers. In October 2013 Andy and his friends decided to go to California to sky dive. The next day then went skydiving and things took a sudden turn. Andy went for a normal day of skydiving when his life was in danger. Due to wind, the pilot didn’t fly a good line, and other unfortunate circumstances Andy’s life changed forever.

Andy ended up having to choose where to land when all of the landing options were less than great. Andy had to choose between landing on the power lines or a vineyard. He naturally tried to land in the vineyard however, the winds still blew him towards the power lines. Andy hit the power line and it tore of his arm leaving him in dire need of prompt medical service in order to survive. Andy knew that he needed prompt medical care because his brachial artery was bleeding out profusely. Another jumper named Amanda heard Andy’s cries and was able to get him down about 15 minutes later. Andy remained calm and tried to stop the bleeding alone with doing breathing techniques to keep his self-calm and to prevent shock. A helicopter rushed him to get medical care and about 15 units of blood was giving to help stabilize Andy. Since then Andy has raised money for various organizations and has returned to work as CEO of Squaw Valley Ski. His latest initiative is to connect Squaw to the neighboring Alpine Meadows via a base-to-base gondola.

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