Metromedia Will Sell Trotters, Ice Capades : Minnesota Company to Pay $30 Million

Times Staff Writer

The Harlem Globetrotters and the performers of the Ice Capades may soon be dribbling and skating for new owners.

Metromedia Inc. said Tuesday that it has reached an agreement in principle to sell Harlem Globetrotters Inc., Ice Capades Inc. and 15 Ice Chalet skating rinks to International Broadcasting Corp. of Minneapolis for $30 million. The sale is subject to completion of financing and regulatory approvals.

Metromedia and International Broadcasting said in a joint statement that the Globetrotters will continue to be based in Sherman Oaks and that Ice Capades headquarters will remain in Hollywood. The Globetrotters and the Ice Capades employ more than 400 people, said Thomas K. Skallen, president of International Broadcasting.

‘Pre-Eminent Touring Shows’


“We wanted to buy (the two organizations) because we have previous experience operating arena shows and we think it’s a very, very fine business,” Skallen said. “These are the two pre-eminent touring shows.”

No officials of Metromedia, based in Secaucus, N.J., were available to discuss the sale Tuesday.

Skallen said both the Ice Capades, which has about $30 million in revenue annually, and the Globetrotters, with about $10 million, are profitable, but he declined to disclose profit figures. Eight of the 15 Ice Chalet skating rinks are in California.

Exact terms of the sale are still being negotiated but currently call for Metromedia to receive $25 million in cash and $5 million in preferred stock of International Broadcasting, Skallen said. International Broadcasting’s goal is to bring the two touring shows to a broader audience through increased marketing, he added.


The Ice Capades’ three touring shows perform before about 5 million people in 102 cities each year in the United States and Canada, Skallen said. Metromedia bought the company in 1963.

The Globetrotters, now in their 60th season, have played their unique brand of basketball in 101 countries and territories on six continents. They were founded in 1927 and were purchased by Metromedia in 1976 for a reported $11 million in cash.

International Broadcasting owns a television station in Abilene, Tex., and a recently formed television and motion picture production company called Century Park Pictures, which is based in Century City.