Under new management: The $1.5 billion sale of the Timberwolves and Lynx

Former baseball player Alex Rodriguez
Former baseball player Alex Rodriguez reports from the field during the baseball All-Star Game on July 11, 2017, in Miami.
Lynne Sladky | AP 2017

Glen Taylor, the longtime owner of the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves and the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx, has agreed to sell both teams to former baseball star Alex Rodriguez and former Walmart chief executive Marc Lore for $1.5 billion.

Basketball fans in Minnesota are buzzing about the implications of the sale. What will the new ownership group mean for these teams? Will they stay in Minnesota? Will Rodriguez and Lore ask for public dollars for a new arena? Why have valuations of NBA teams skyrocketed?

Guest host Chris Farrell, senior economics contributor at Marketplace and MPR News, sat down with a basketball reporter and a sports economist to explore the potential effects of the sale and the value of sports franchises to regional identity and the economy. They also discussed the beginning of the NBA playoffs.

Guests:

  • Jon Krawczynski is a senior writer for The Athletic covering the Minnesota Timberwolves, the NBA and the Minnesota Vikings. He joined The Athletic after 16 years at The Associated Press where he covered three Olympics, three NBA Finals, two Ryder Cups and the 2009 NFC championship game.

  • Andrew Zimbalist is the Robert A. Woods professor of economics at Smith College. He has consulted in Latin America for the United Nations Development Program, the U.S. Agency for International Development and numerous companies. He has also consulted in the sports industry for players' associations, cities, companies, teams and leagues. Zimbalist has published 28 books, many on the economics of sports.

Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.

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