Dave Checketts Said to Join Goldman-Yankees Hospitality Venture as Chief

Dave Checketts, former Madison Square Garden (MSG) president and St. Louis Blues owner, is in talks to become chief executive officer of Legends Hospitality Management LLC, the concessions, merchandising and management-services company owned by the New York Yankees, Dallas Cowboys and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), according to a person with direct knowledge of the talks.

The person was granted anonymity because the agreement isn’t complete. Checketts declined to comment. Todd Fleming, a spokesman for Legends, didn’t return a message left at his office.

A group led by Checketts will take about a 16 percent stake in the company, which was created in 2008, the person said. The Yankees, Major League Baseball’s most valuable team, and the Cowboys, the National Football League’s most valuable club according to Forbes annual rankings, each own 34 percent of Legends.

The 56-year-old Checketts, who is selling the National Hockey League’s Blues, will acquire the Legends stake held by CIC Partners, whose founding partner, Michael Rawlings, was elected mayor of Dallas in June.

Legends last month acquired Conventions, Sports and Leisure International, which specializes in financial analysis for organizations planning to build or renovate sports facilities.

Sales and marketing clients for Newark, New Jersey-based Legends include football’s San Francisco 49ers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers; basketball’s Charlotte Bobcats, Indiana Pacers, Oklahoma City Thunder and Phoenix Suns; baseball’s San Diego Padres; and college football’s Rose Bowl, according to the company’s website.

Legends supplies concessions to Yankee Stadium and Cowboys Stadium.

Yankees Success

The Yankees are the most successful team in Major League Baseball history, having won 27 World Series. The Cowboys earned the nickname “America’s Team” while winning five Super Bowls with Hall of Fame players such as Roger Staubach, Tony Dorsett and Troy Aikman.

Checketts ran MSG, putting him in charge of the New York Knicks and Rangers, from 1994 to 2001. During his tenure, hockey’s Rangers won the Stanley Cup, ending a 54-year drought. The Knicks reached the NBA Finals in 1994 and 1999, losing both times.

He also was in charge when the Knicks traded Hall of Fame center Patrick Ewing to the Seattle SuperSonics in 2000, ushering in a decade in which New York compiled a .399 winning percentage.

Checketts resigned in a power struggle with James Dolan, chief executive officer of Cablevision, which owned the teams at the time. Cablevision said in 2009 that it was spinning off it its MSG assets, including the sports teams and Radio City Music Hall.

The Knicks had a 433-game regular-season sellout streak from 1993-2002.

To contact the reporter responsible for this story: Scott Soshnick in New York at ssoshnick@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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