teams are competing with art as the favored collectible among
hedge fund managers. In the past year alone, at least three
managers have bought all or part of a team, and at least 12
hedge fund managers now have investments in sports teams.
The most recent: avid hockey fan Jeff Vinik of Boston firm
Vinik Asset Management. The former Fidelity Magellan fund
manager is buying the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National
Hockey League for an estimated $170 million. The sale includes
the Lightning hockey team, the company that operates the St.
Pete Times Forum, and two parcels of adjacent land. Vinik will
be the chairman and sole person controlling Tampa Bay Sports
& Entertainment. He also holds a 12% stake in the Boston
Red Sox baseball team. Last summer, Seth Klarman, founder of
Boston's Baupost Group, also bought a minority interest in the
Red Sox, reportedly purchasing the stake held by advertising
executive Ed Eskandarian. The team's owner is hedge fund
manager John Henry, of J.W. Henry & Co.
Also last year, David Tepper, the highest-earning hedge fund
manager in 2009, bought a minority interest in his hometown
Pittsburgh Steelers football team. Duquesne Capital
Management's Stanley Druckenmiller withdrew his offer to buy
the team in 2008 when the founding Rooney family squabbled.
Tepper is not the only hedgie involved in the National Football
League. In 2007, three hedge fund managers bought a combined
20% stake in the Oakland Raiders-David Abrams of Abrams Capital
and Paul Leff and Dan Goldring of Perry Capital.
Vinik will join other hedgies in the NHL investors' club.
Harbinger Capital Partners' Phil Falcone, a former star on
Harvard's hockey team, owns 40% of his hometown Minnesota Wild.
Jetstream Capital's Joel Dobberpuhl is an owner of the NHL's
Nashville Predators. -Stephen Taub