Dear Ivan Seidenberg: It’s me, Knicks Fan

October 14, 2008

Quentin Richardson (front) from the New York Knicks falls out of boundsDoes Ivan Seidenberg, Verizon’s top executive, fancy himself the next media mogul with a pro-sports team, a la Mark Cuban, the Dolan family and Paul Allen?

He hinted as much at the Dow Jones Media and Money conference  conference in New York. The trouble is the team he mentioned — The New York Knicks — are owned by Cablevision, a chief rival of Verizon. So pretty much kiss that idea goodbye.

Seidenberg hinted at the very, very unlikely possibility of buying the Knicks during a back and forth at the conference Michael Burgi of MediaWeek. Burgi asked Seidenberg to discuss his “content strategy.”

Verizon’s Ivan Seidenberg

“People keep asking, when are you going to go vertical and add a lot of content?” Seidenberg said. “Content gets to the customer in a lot of (ways). We like to think of ourselves as bundling it, packaging it, formatting it, helping to store it if that’s what you need, helping to send it … to your PC, to your television (and so on).”

Burgi then asked whether Verizon was actually interested in creating content.

 “No,” Seidenberg answered. “Having said that, if somebody came up with the perfect killer service, that we could invest in, we can do it. It’s not necessarily a strategic imperative that we do it — we’d do it to annoy the hell out of everybody.”

At that point, Seidenberg said that it wouldn’t be in the shareholders’ best interest to buy just any content, but if the right thing came along he’d look at it. And here’s the killer quote…

“If I could buy the Knicks and fix them, I would do it. But we can’t do it.”

(Allow me take a moment with a message for Mr. Seidenberg. Millions of Knicks fans — especially rabid, win-starved ones like yours truly — would welcome, how do I say it, new leadership for the legendary team. We have not had a winning season since 2000-2001. You’re a local product. I can tell that you’re are fan, too. So, hey, don’t give up the dream. That’s all.)

(Photos: Reuters)

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