Sports Entertainment Group, parent company of the SEN Sports radio network, has signed an agreement to purchase 100 per cent of the Perth Wildcats basketball team.
SEG Chairman Craig Coleman confirmed the purchase for an undisclosed sum from long-time owner Jack Bendat would proceed on 30 July, subject to final NBL approval.
Coleman, one of 3 WA based directors of the 6 person SEG board, says the Wildcats perfectly fitted the business’s “Whole of Sport” strategy of enriching the lives of sports fans, and connecting brands to fans.
He says, “The Wildcats are an iconic team, with a world record 35 successive finals series, and even bigger champions in the community.”
“They’ve been a team that’s served the state of WA with incredible pride and distinction and never lost sight of their impact in people’s lives and the smiles on faces in the community.
“We see this as a strategic investment in a sport we’ve already enjoyed being part of and hope to build on the incredible legacy of Jack Bendat.
“We pay tribute to Jack today and look forward to honouring his wishes to keep the Perth Wildcats one of the biggest success stories in Australian sport and delighting fans in our great state.”
SEN Chief Executive Craig Hutchison says the investment came off the back of an increased presence in the sport, including a 25 per cent stake in Melbourne United, WNBL production rights, production of NBL show Overtime and various radio rights.
Hutchison last night stood down as Co-Chairman from Melbourne United ahead of the acquisition,but says the business has proposed to dilute or divest its stake in Melbourne United, “I’d like to also add my respect to the wonderful basketball and business legacy of Jack Bendat and thank him for the opportunity.
“We believe in the growth story of the NBL and stand with all clubs in growing the game under the leadership of Larry Kestleman.
“This investment franks our existing local sports commitment in WA – including radio stations 657 SENTrack WA, SENSpirit 621 Bunbury, SEN Peel; the recent attraction of local great Adam Gilchrist to the SEN family; our platinum partnership of Optus Stadium and more.
“We look forward to supporting management of the Wildcats continue its strong connection to the WA community.”
Dr Jack Bendat OAM has been the owner and Chairman of the Perth Wildcats since acquiring it in 2007, and in that time, he has led the club to six NBL championships and made a significant impact on the West Australian community.
Dr Bendat says, “Through hard work, we’ve created a community-first culture and a winning-culture, which has shown in our success both on and off the court.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time as Chairman of the Perth Wildcats, but the time is right to move on. I have full confidence in the new owners to continue and build on the outstanding legacy of this iconic organisation.”