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Soccer Fan, Cable Mogul Commisso Close to Buying New York Cosmos

1/09/2017 8:00 AM Eastern

Soccer Fan, Cable Mogul Commisso Close to Buying New York Cosmos

 

We might be adding sports magnate to Mediacom Communications founder, chairman and CEO Rocco Commisso’s list of titles soon.

 

Already a cable mogul — privately-owned Mediacom, based near Middletown, N.Y., is the fifth largest cable operator in the country — Commisso is closing on a possible purchase of the North American Soccer League’s New York Cosmos, a move that could save the once-famed team from certain bankruptcy, as reported earlier by the Big Apple Soccer website and Sports Illustrated.

 

The home of international stars Pelé, Giorgio Chinaglia and Franz Beckenbauer in an earlier iteration in the 1970s, the team has stared at the abyss for months. Reports have said it furloughed workers and has lost about $30 million.

 

Commisso, a college soccer star at Columbia University (which later renamed its stadium after him), would buy the team from Sela Sports and Seamus O’Brien. O’Brien would retain a small stake in the team, according to reports.

 

Complicating the deal, Commisso’s involvement is contingent on the team staying in the NASL and on the NASL retaining its status as the second-biggest U.S. pro soccer league, following Major League Soccer. The U.S. Soccer Federation was set to vote on pro-league sanctioning for 2017 at press time on Friday (Jan. 6). The U.S. Soccer League, currently the third-ranked league, has requested to move up to Division II.

 

Commisso’s potential ownership would not extend to O’Brien’s stake in struggling sports network One World Sports, which televised Cosmos games, people familiar with the situation said. (For more on the network, visit multichannel.com/Jan9.)

 

OWS is currently fielding offers from potential buyers or investors, but Commisso is not one among them, CEO Sandy Brown confirmed to The Wire. “We expect resolution in the near term,” Brown said in an email message.

 

An announcement on Commisso’s cosmic purchase could come as soon as today (Jan. 9), sources said.

 

Fox’s Chris Wallace Makes List of 10 Best-Mannered For ‘Tact and Diplomacy’

 

The Wire had to dust off its white gloves and brush up on its box step for this one.

 

Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace is No. 5 on the just-released top 10 list of “best-mannered people of 2016,” a judgment call based on “each person’s commitment to honor, dignity and mannerly conduct.”

 

The list was issued by the National League of Junior Cotillions (who knew?), which not only has licensed chapters nationwide but hosts the cotillion website, www.nljc.com.

 

“I am not sure all the people I interviewed in 2016 will agree about my manners,” Wallace told The Wire. “But I have always felt you can ask probing questions without being disagreeable or rude. I am honored to be included on this list of very distinguished and considerate people.

 

Wallace comes by the “probing” honestly. His dad, Mike Wallace, was known for his aggressive interviewing style on 60 Minutes.

 

Chris Wallace was cited for “for his tact and diplomacy while reporting and mediating during the 2016 election season and throughout his years in journalism.”

 

A cotillion, rather than the number just below a gazillion, is a dance, often where debutantes are introduced but, in this case, where youngsters are given a chance to cultivate courtesy, character, social skills and manners. The Wire wonders if there is a chapter on Capitol Hill.

 

Other list-makers included Dr. Ben Carson (No. 6) “for displaying his humility in success as both a pediatric neurosurgeon and political advocate and depicting himself as an upright and dignified individual to all”; outgoing first daughters Sasha and Malia Obama (10) “for their consistent, well-mannered conduct in the public eye”; and, at No. 1, Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Simone Biles, “an excellent role model for today’s youth.”

— John Eggerton

 

Tom Wheeler Joins Trump Transition Team — but Not THAT Tom Wheeler

 

Has Donald Trump named Tom Wheeler to his transition team? Well, yes and no.

 

While checking for new Federal Communications Commission landing team members amid the hundreds of execs who have volunteered to help the president-elect select top cabinet and agency officials, the name Tom Wheeler came up in a search. The current FCC chairman, Thomas E. Wheeler, was on the FCC transition team for current President Obama, pitching for the opposing side.

 

Wheeler has had meetings with the Trump FCC transition team, but joining it, or being asked to for that matter, would obviously be a bit of a stretch.

 

While collecting our jaw from the floor, The Wire refined the search and discovered that, yes, it is indeed Thomas E. Wheeler, but not the one who is winding down his FCC tenure. This is a second Tom Wheeler (literally, Tom E. Wheeler II), a lawyer specializing in education and a partner and principal of the appellate and practices group of Frost Brown Todd LLC. He is on the landing team for the Department of Education, not the FCC.

 

The two Wheelers do have some things in common. Both have stuck up for municipalities in court — Trump’s Wheeler on education issues, the FCC’s, via the agency’s legal team, on broadband pre-emption. And both have appeared on National Public Radio, according to the Frost Brown website and The Wire’s own elephant-like memory.

— John Eggerton

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