Gilbert, 57, owns the Cavs and several minor-league franchises, and he may fully recover and go on to run them for decades to come. But he also may not, and every owner eventually sells or wills the team to family or new owners.
Quicken Loans exec: In Gilberts absence, we know what the mission is
As sports teams have grown into billion-dollar businesses, the stakes have radically increased over their ownership fates. Sometimes, it can be quite messy when an owner dies. Owners sometimes leave little clarity on a teams fate once they die. And owners sometimes make elaborate plans that are scotched by federal tax implications or the desires of family.
Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert doing as well as he can be after stroke
In Gilberts case, he is head of an investment group that paid $375 million for the LeBron James-led Cavaliers in 2005, and his ownership highlight so far has been an NBA championship in 2016 that likely endears him to the people of that city. After all, theyd been starved of a pro sports championship since 1964. Gilbert just poached beloved Michigan basketball coach John Beilein to coach the rebuilding Cavaliers, too.
Video: As Dan Gilbert recovers from stroke his impact on Cleveland cannot be understated
Gilberts camp hasnt said what his succession plan for the team is, although each of the major leagues requires owners to inform them of such plans.
Putting a team in a trust is a common practice that can shield heirs from federal estate tax bills that can run into the hundreds of millions of dollars for pro sports franchises. Spouses are exempt from estate taxes, but children are not.
Entrusting an asset freezes the value under federal gift tax law at the time it was put into trust, which is one way to reduce the eventual tax bill. Since sports team values have been skyrocketing because of enormous local and national TV rights deals and other revenue streams, the tax value of a team can be enormous, even for wealthy people.
Some sports team owners have purchased insurance policies intended to pay off estate taxes so that heirs wouldnt struggle with tax bills — which sometimes can force a team sale. For example, the estate tax bills from the Internal Revenue Service fueled the sale of the National Football Leagues Miami Dolphins in 1993 and St. Louis Rams in 2008. The Lerner family had to sell 40 percent of its stake in credit card giant MBNA to pay its estate tax bill after Cleveland Browns owner Al Lerner died in 2002.
Video: Quicken Loans CEO Jay Farner discusses Dan Gilberts condition
Detroit businessman and Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson, who died March 25, 2014, at age 95 at his Grosse Pointe Shores home, arranged for the team to be sold by his estate (for $1.4 billion to Buffalo Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula), to benefit the Grosse Pointe Farms-based Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation.
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Cavaliers owner Gilbert doing as well as he can be doing
Michigan ranks 37th in the nation for the number of people who reported having a stroke, according to federal numbers.
Doctor: Dan Gilbert likely had major stroke but prognosis is good with catheter procedure
Stroke is at the top of mind for many Michiganders after Quicken Loans founder and Detroit developer Dan Gilbert suffered a stroke this weekend and remains hospitalized.
Following hospitalization for stroke, people in Detroit wish Dan Gilbert a speedy recovery
There has been little information released about Gilberts health crisis, but the billionaire businessman who owns the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball club was awake, responsive and resting comfortably on Tuesday, according to a statement by Jay Farner, CEO of Quicken Loans.
Video: Dan Gilbert recovering after suffering stroke