In business, there are no guarantees. But sometimes you play a hunch and it turns out to be a smashing success.
The Maloof family had a pile of money after they sold the NBA’s Sacramento Kings five years ago. They were looking to get back into pro sports, and after talking to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman about bringing a team to Las Vegas, they were introduced to Bill Foley, who had the same vision.
Foley and the Maloofs agreed to a partnership, and the Maloofs bought in for about 15 percent as minority investors in the Golden Knights.
The Knights have been wildly successful in their inaugural season, and on the eve of the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Maloofs have seen the city they love transform itself into a major league town.
“That’s been the best part,” Joe Maloof said. “This city needed its own team, and we’re so happy for the fans.”
His brother Gavin said: “It’s been an absolute blast. It’s like a big party at every home game, and the team has been amazing.
“I’ll be honest. I thought we’d win 10 to 15 games. I never thought they’d win like they have.”
The Maloofs have enjoyed watching their investment in relative anonymity. When they owned the Kings, they were courtside most nights and always had the television cameras on them. With the Knights, they watch from a suite at T-Mobile Arena with their friends while Foley is the visible one.
“We’re totally comfortable with that,” Joe Maloof said. “Bill’s a great guy, and he has done a fantastic job of hiring the right people to help run the franchise.”
George Maloof said: “Someone’s got to be the face of the franchise. We’re fine being in the background.”
The events of the Oct. 1 Strip shooting were not lost on the brothers when they think about what having the Knights in Las Vegas has meant to the community.
“It was huge to have our players get out in the community after what happened and support the victims,” Gavin Maloof said. “There’s no question the team has helped the city heal.”
For the Maloofs, this was not just a financial investment. It has helped rehab their image after the Kings fans turned on them late in their ownership tenure in Sacramento after they had explored moving the team, before ultimately selling the Kings to an ownership group led by Vivek Ranadive.
“We want to leave a little bit of a legacy here in Las Vegas,” Joe Maloof said. “The most important thing was to help bring the team to the city. Everything else is the cherry on top.”