Philly Sports Power

Bill Streicher/Matthew Emmons/Jonathan Dyer-USA Today Sports

10 most powerful people in Philly sports

March 26, 2019 - 9:18 am

With Bryce Harper's arrival, Joel Embiid's emergence, the Flyers' resurgence, and the Eagles' recent dominance, we're in a glory time for Philadelphia sports. With young stars, trustworthy coaches, and stable front offices, there's not much to be upset about right now. 

We surveyed the SportsRadio94WIP staff and compiled the responses based on a 10-1 point scale, to determine the 10 most powerful people in Philadelphia. We left the word "powerful" up to personal interpretation and received a wide range of answers. Throughout the list, written by Andrew Porter and Eliot Shorr-Parks, you will find quotes from various 94WIP hosts and producers.

So, without further ado, our 10 most powerful people in Philadelphia sports. 

10. Dave Scott

David Scott is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Comcast Spectacor and runs the Philadelphia Flyers. This year, Scott has made plenty of changes, replacing Ron Hextall with Chuck Fletcher and firing Dave Hakstol.

“He's never run a team and we have no idea if he knows hockey,” says Glen Macnow. "But he's now in charge of where the Flyers are headed.”

“A lot of fans may not know who he is, and no one will ever match the impact Ed Snider made, but Scott is basically the guy who replaced the late, great Snider on the Flyers food chain,” says Dave Uram.

Scott currently serves on the executive committee and the Board of Directors of the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation

-Andrew Porter


9. Ben Simmons

@gqaustralia ----

A post shared by Benjamin Simmons (@bensimmons) on

At just 22 years old, Ben Simmons’ career is on the trajectory of a Hall Of Famer. Already an NBA all-star and Rookie of the Year, Simmons is averaging 15+ points, 7.5+ assists, and 8+ rebounds for the second season in a row to start his career.

Simmons is set to become a restricted free-agent in 2020-21, but he will almost certainly accept a rookie-scale max contract very soon and he’ll be locked up in Philadelphia for at least five additional seasons. Simmons and Embiid is one of, if not the, best young duo in the NBA.

“If not for Embiid, Simmons would probably be number one,” says Tom Kelly. “It is Embiid’s team, but Simmons still has plenty of influence.”

“A game changer in the NBA if he hits his full potential,” Eric Golden says of Simmons.

Off the court, Simmons has a huge impact in Australia, being one of the greatest Australian born basketball players ever. He’s also represented by Rich Paul’s Klutch Sports and is close with LeBron James, plus he’s dating Kendall Jenner.

Simmons is not afraid to speak his mind (go check out his anti-NCAA documentary One & Done) and in terms of power and influence, he’s just scratching the surface.

-Andrew Porter


8. Josh Harris

Josh Harris
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports



Harris is not in the spotlight like the other team owners in the city and his power is limited thanks to the NBA salary cap, but it is hard to make a list of the most powerful sports figures in the city without the guy who controls one of the teams. Although moving on from Sam Hinkie was clearly premature, Harris deserves credit for playing a role in the Sixers' rebuild to become one of the most exciting teams in the NBA. The Sixers lead the NBA in attendance this season and Harris' new general manager Elton Brand has made two major trades to acquire Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris. 

"He's the owner of a franchise valued at $1.65 billion," says James Seltzer. "Just because he doesn't exert his power often, doesn't mean he doesn't have it."

-Eliot Shorr-Parks


7. Doug Pederson

Doug Pederson
Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

There is a strong argument to be made that Pederson is the face of the Eagles’ franchise, especially now that Nick Foles is gone. Pederson has the complete trust of the city, something not many owners, athletes or coaches ever get in Philadelphia. The Super Bowl has given Pederson an extremely long leash and Pederson seems poised for an Andy Reid like tenure as the head coach of Philadelphia's professional football team. 

"Winning the Eagles' first Super Bowl will always be on his resume," says Rob Charry. 

-Eliot Shorr-Parks


6. Carson Wentz

Carson Wentz, mainly because of injury concerns, has become somewhat of a polarizing figure in Philadelphia sports. But make no mistakes about, Wentz is Howie Roseman’s guy—the player Roseman’s brand is predicated on thanks to the wheeling and dealing he did prior to the 2016 NFL Draft to move up and snag the North Dakota QB with the No. 2 overall pick.

Wentz, 26 years old, has a club-option for 2020 season and will then need a new contract, but as long as he performs in 2019 he’ll get it. Roseman made this very clear speaking at the NFL Owners Meetings on Monday. And any Eagles’ franchise QB is going to be on this list.

“Now that he has the QB reigns to himself, and a nice new contract in the offing, he has a lot of clout, but also a lot of pressure,” says Paul Jolovitz.

On top of his on-the-field success, Wentz is a big in philanthropy. Wentz’s AO1 Foundation was founded in 2017 and is a non-profit foundation for underprivileged youth, the physically disabled and veterans.

-Andrew Porter


5. Howie Roseman

Howie Roseman
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie (we'll get to him later) trusts Roseman to run his team, and after a rocky start to his GM tenure in Philadelphia, Roseman has proven more than capable of making the Eagles a consistent contender. With his willingness to make bold moves, Roseman can change the focus of the city in an instant, a power not many in Philadelphia have, even outside of sports.

"Lurie trusts him, and Howie's been fearless in recent years," says Macnow. 

-Eliot Shorr-Parks


4. Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper is already the most popular player in Major League Baseball, from a marketability perspective. And, at just 26 years old, he’s a pretty darn good baseball player too, entering the prime of what is on track to be a Hall Of Fame career.

Harper is a six-time all-star, the 2016 NL MVP, and is under contract with the Phillies for the next 13 years, with no opt-outs. Before even playing a game for the Phils, Harper is already setting records in attendance and jersey sales. His power extends off of the field as well, as he's already made it clear that he's willing to recruit players to Philadelphia. 

-Andrew Porter


3. Joel Embiid

Come at me, cable ------ #HuluHasLiveSports #HuluSellouts #JoelHuluHasLiveSportsEmbiid #Ad

A post shared by Joel "The Process" Embiid (@joelembiid) on

Embiid has staked his claim as the best athlete in the city over the last year, and that has been especially true as of late, thanks to dominating performances against the best teams in the Eastern Conference. Add in his huge commercial appeal across the globe, and no athlete in Philadelphia has the pull or star power that Embiid does. 

Embiid, just 25 years old, is already a back-to-back NBA All-Star in, what is essentially, his first two healthy NBA seasons. He often talks about being the greatest ever and has a huge impact on the youth in Cameroon, where he is from. 

On October 10th 2017, Embiid signed a five-year, $148 million designated rookie scale maximum contract extension with the 76ers, with the ability to earn an additional $30 million in incentives. 

-Eliot Shorr-Parks


2. John S. Middleton

John Middleton
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Middleton, the managing partner and principal Phillies owner with a 48-percent stake, has no salary cap holding him back. And we just saw the ramifications of that, as Middleton and his wife Leigh flew to Vegas themselves to close the book on a 13-year, $330 million contract for baseball’s most popular player, in Harper.

“I talked to him a lot, all of the way through the process,” Harper told USA Today Sports of Middleton.

Middleton has stated multiple times his goal is solely to win championships and, so far, he has put his money where his mouth is. 

Middleton, who got his Master’s degree from Harvard business school in 1979, has a net worth of $3 billion and he is involved in philanthropy through several organizations like the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Penn Medicine, the Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, the Academy of Natural Sciences, and Project HOME.

­-Andrew Porter


1. Jeffrey Lurie

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It is hard to make a list of the most powerful sports figures in the city without having the owner of the biggest team at the top — especially when after years of frustration, Lurie finally delivered a Super Bowl title in 2017. Lurie is far more involved in personnel decisions than he lets on and was influential in getting quarterback Carson Wentz. Nobody else in Philadelphia has the power to completely control the emotion of the city with one decision like Lurie does.

Lurie, 67, is worth $2.1 billion and bought the Eagles on May 6th, 1994 for $195 million. The Eagles are now estimated to be worth $2.75 billion, according to Forbes. Lurie is also a two-time Academy Award winner for two documentaries. 

-Eliot Shorr-Parks