Suns and Mercury owner Mat Ishbia announces real estate, investment company

Feb 14, 2024, 9:36 AM | Updated: 3:28 pm

Mat Ishbia...

Incoming Phoenix Suns owner Mat Ishbia claps as the 1993 Suns team is introduced during halftime of ah NBA basketball game between the Suns and the Indiana Pacers in Phoenix, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023. (AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

(AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

Phoenix Suns and Mercury owner Mat Ishbia on Wednesday not only announced the approval to add a G League team under his ownership but the formation of an entertainment and real estate operating and investment company that will tie his teams together.

Play 15 Group will serve as Ishbia’s holdings company “across sports, entertainment and real estate.”

His holdings include: the NBA and WNBA franchises; Footprint Center in downtown Phoenix; a planned $100 million development that will host Suns and Mercury business operations, plus the Mercury’s new practice facility; and the yet-to-be-named G League team, which will be located in the Phoenix metro area.

“Being a part of a team is the best experience in the world. You support one another, bring out the best in each other, and you win,” Ishbia said in a release.

“I was a walk-on at Michigan State and the 15th player on the roster. I made the team because I put everything into the team. It defines me to this day, and I want it to define the culture of our work across sports and entertainment.”

Other sports owners have set up similar groups, such as Monumental Sports and Entertainment, which owns and operates the teams, facilities and media company for the Washington Wizards, Capitals, Mystics and more.

The Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment company located in New Jersey oversees the Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Devils, and each teams’ minor league teams.

Ishbia told Sportico that he “won’t rule out” opportunities to add to his group.

Ishbia, who is worth about $7.9 billion according to Forbes, said his plan is evolving after his initial Suns deal. As an example, he pointed to the $100 million development, which is part headquarters, part Mercury practice facility. He said that development was not part of his original strategy but came about after he saw a need and an opportunity.

He has also explored other sports acquisitions, both before and after the Suns deal. He kicked the tires on the NFL’s Denver Broncos and Washington Commanders during their recent sale processes, and also explored a possible investment in the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks. He said there was “nothing specific” happening on that front right now, but that he would be open to other possible acquisitions in the future. The creation of Player 15 Group would make it easier.

“Now I have a platform,” he said. “If we need to do that, we don’t have to figure out how to do it. It’s already set and teed up.”

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