Herschend Enterprises, which owns the Harlem Globetrotters, announced a new operating company on Aug. 15. Herschend Live is the fourth operating company under Norcross-based Herschend Enterprises, a family entertainment company that owns theme parks such as Silver Dollar City in Branson, Mo., and Dollywood in Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains. The new entity is focused on sports and live entertainment.
The Harlem Globetrotters, started and formerly owned by Abe Saperstein, was the first Herschend-owned property under the Live banner.
Herschend companies manage family entertainment outlets ranging from theme parks around the United States to digital entertainment.
“As global leaders in live entertainment we look forward to applying our expertise and business platform to new and innovative touring experiences,” said Howard Smith, Harlem Globetrotters president, who will lead the new division in a dual role. “We will look to acquire or manage other live event properties under the success of the Globetrotter model on a global level.”
Herschend CEO Andrew Wexler said the success of the Harlem Globetrotters served as the inspiration for the new initiative. Herschend bought the Globetrotters in 2013. The team, known for its basketball acrobatics and antics, has entertained more than 148 million fans in 123 countries and territories for the past 92 years.
Herschend has more than 10,000 employees who create, develop and operate entertainment, tourism and hospitality properties in 23 locations in six states.