Herschend Family Entertainment Corp. has acquired Harlem Globetrotters International Inc., owners of the legendary basketball team, from Shamrock Capital Advisors. HFE is the largest family-owned themed attractions company in the U.S., owning and operating 26 theme parks, aquariums, hospitality businesses and tours.
“For nearly nine decades, the Harlem Globetrotters have had a rich tradition of creating family memories through sports and entertainment,” said Joel Manby, HFE’s president and CEO, in making the announcement. “The team is coming off its best touring year ever, and this acquisition helps HFE diversify into a new but complementary business. Becoming the new owners of this legendary team is a natural step as HFE continues to develop wholesome, immersive entertainment that parents can trust—entertainment that brings families closer together.”
The acquisition of the Globetrotters marks an expansion for HFE into new media, audiences and markets. The Globetrotters perform more than 400 live events worldwide annually, reaching more than 3 million fans in more than 30 countries. Last year, Harlem Globetrotters International produced all-time highs in live-event revenue, sponsorship partnerships, merchandise sales and media impressions.
“We couldn’t be more pleased to join the HFE family,” said Kurt Schneider, the Globetrotters’ CEO. “The Globetrotters enjoy a huge global popularity that spans all continents, and our brand is hotter than ever. Under HFE’s ownership, we are looking forward to building upon this domestic and international success. We also see opportunities to cross-market between the Harlem Globetrotters’ popular tour and players and HFE’s family attractions, allowing both companies to reach even more fans. We are very thankful for Shamrock’s stewardship of the brand these past eight years.”