Jonathan Blue is Chairman and Managing Director of a little company called, Blue Equity, LLC. It’s some small private equity firm in Louisville, Kentucky that basically dominates every industry from real estate to financial planning, and more recently, sports & entertainment. I hope you noted my earlier sarcasm by now. Blue is a true business man and has had a hands-on approach in the development of his sports division, titled, BEST. Rasheed Wallace, Joakim Noah, Corey Brewer, Reggie Bush, Marques Colston, Glenn Dorsey…need I continue? All these guys, plus much more, consider BEST to be the best.
There is no doubt that being the head of BEST, and on an even larger scale, Blue Equity, is a 24 hour, 7 days a week job. I once received a short email from Jonathan asking me to be hospitable to one of his employees, Donald Dell, on his visit to the University of Florida Levin College of Law. Jonathan, if you are reading this, shoot me another email, and let’s do a better Q & A than this one. Even though the Q & A was rather brief and discussed invigorating topics like horses and Louisville, there were some interesting points made by Blue. Here are my grabs:
Q. Are there any sports that are in decline, that are so unattractive that you probably won’t get involved in?
A. Yes. I think we would have to take a very hard look at being involved in hockey. I don’t see us in that space at all unless for some reason an opportunity fell in our lap. We’ve seen a lot of things… like lacrosse, soccer … sports that supposedly are just on the cusp and going to be the next greatest thing. I personally am not sure if they’ll ever be where people think they’re going to get because I’ve been hearing that for many years.
Q. You said in an interview that there is no longer a line between sports and entertainment. Do you think maybe Muhammad Ali was the one who erased that line?
A. I don’t know if it was that far back. … What I really mean by that quote is so many of the ancillary things that go around on the outside of sports … are so entertainment-geared today. If you were to go to a sporting event 20 years or 30 years ago … you wouldn’t even recognize the event.
Think about baseball between the innings, think about basketball at halftime, what goes on — especially pro. There are so many different things that happen now, they make the game almost irrelevant to a fan — it’s really the fan experience.