How Michael Jackson saved the New England Patriots
How Michael Jackson helped save the Patriots
Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff June 26, 2009 11:41 AM
Now there's a headline you probably don't expect in the wake of the King of Pop's death yesterday at age 50. But it's true. Michael Jackson played a significant role in Robert Kraft becoming the owner of the Patriots.
Puzzled? A Forbes magazine feature story on Kraft from September 2005 spells it all out, detailing how the a disastrous business venture by the Sullivan family -- the founding owners of the franchise -- indirectly helped Kraft fulfill his dream of owning the Patriots.
According to the article, Kraft's first step toward purchasing the team was a subtle and savvy one -- he began purchasing land around the stadium.
He wanted to own not only the team but also its stadium and all the surrounding land. He started by locking up purchase rights to 300 acres around the stadium in Foxboro, Mass. The Sullivan family, founding owners of the Patriots, owned the team and the stadium but not the surrounding land. In 1985 Kraft bought a ten-year option on the property, paying a group of Boston businessmen $1 million a year for first dibs to buy the land someday for $18 million. It was risky, but "the option gave me ten years to try to figure out how to get the team," he says.
In the 1986, the Sullivans put the team up for sale, but not the stadium. Kraft decided to hold off on bidding on the team. Victor Kiam -- the founder of Remington shavers who would prove to be an embarrassment to the franchise -- bought the team for $87 million.
Kraft's opportunity may have been lost -- until a failed venture with Jackson and his musical family forced the Sullivans' hand in 1988.
". . . Two years later he snagged the second piece of the puzzle--thanks to singer Michael Jackson. In 1988 Kraft and a partner put up $25 million to buy the Foxboro stadium from the Sullivan family, besting a $16 million offer from Kiam. (Kraft would buy out his 50-50 partner for a small premium five years later.) Charles Sullivan had used the stadium as collateral to fund the Jackson brothers' Victory Tour back in 1984. Over-leveraged, Sullivan went bankrupt and was forced to sell the arena.
By the end of 1988 Kraft had rights to the land, but when the team was put up for sale in '92, he again held off. Kiam sold to James Busch Orthwein, who a year later decided he wanted to either move the team to his hometown of St. Louis or sell it. But Kraft owned the stadium's operating covenant, meaning anyone who wanted to buy the team had to negotiate with him.
Instead and at last, in 1994, he bought the team for $172 million, then the highest price ever paid for a sports franchise. And the rest is history, with the three-time Super Bowl champion Patriots being on a victory tour of their own this decade.
Oh, and here's the kicker: To this day, Kraft keeps a poster from the Victory Tour among his mementos.
Mon Jun 29 07:33am EDT
How Michael Jackson helped start the Patriots dynasty
By Chris Chase
Without Adam Vinateri, the New England Patriots wouldn't have won three Super Bowl titles. Without Tom Brady, Adam Vinatieri wouldn't have been in a position to give the Patriots those titles. Without Bill Belichick, Tom Brady's quarterbacking wouldn't have set-up Adam Vinateri to hit the kicks to win those titles. And without Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick wouldn't have been in New England to help both Brady and Vinateiri win those titles. And without Michael Jackson (yes, that Michael Jackson), Bob Kraft wouldn't have bought the New England Patriots and the dynasty that was may never have been.
As Forbes described in a 2005 article, Michael Jackon's 1984 Victory tour was directly responsible for Kraft purchasing Foxboro Stadium in 1988, a transaction that eventually led to him being able to buy the team in 1994.
In 1988 Kraft and a partner put up $25 million to buy the Foxboro stadium from the Sullivan family, besting a $16 million offer from the Pats' owner, Kiam. (Kraft would buy out his 50-50 partner for a small premium five years later.) [Former Patriots owner, and current Foxboro Stadium owner] Charles Sullivan had used the stadium as collateral to fund [Michael Jackson's] Victory Tour back in 1984. Overleveraged, Sullivan went bankrupt and was forced to sell the arena. To this day Kraft's collection of photos and mementos includes a poster from the ill-fated tour.
Basically, Sullivan got in over his head funding Michael Jackson's Victory tour (something that those concert organizers in London can commiserate with now) and was forced to sell the stadium because of the bad investment, a move which furthered Bob Kraft's quest to own his hometown Patriots. (Because Kraft owned the stadium, the team couldn't be sold without his approval. When new owner Victor Kiam wanted to sell to a St. Louis businessman intent on re-selling the team or moving it, Kraft stepped in and bid 50 percent more, buying the Patriots for $172 million in 1994.
It was a transaction that began a run toward three Super Bowls, a perfect regular season and the career of one of the greatest coaches and quarterbacks that the league has ever seen. And to think, it was all set in motion by the guy with the glove moonwalking across the stage. "Wanna' Be Startin' Somethin'" indeed.
LOL, look at how tiny Michael looks in that photo!
So basically me, along with the state of MA got screwed because they decided not to have the Jacksons in Foxboro....in turn we get the Patriots and Superbowl Championships.
Anddddddddd everything has come full circle and my life is complete.