Anschutz has supported socially conservative causes. In 1987, Anschutz's family foundation gave Focus on the Family founder James Dobson an award for his "contributions to the American Family." According to its Web site, the Denver-based group works to "counter the media-saturating message that homosexuality is inborn and unchangeable" and one of its policy experts called legalized abortion an example of when "Satan temporarily succeeds in destroying God's creation."
In 1992, Anschutz contributed $10,000 to a group called Colorado Family Values, to support an amendment to the state constitution that invalidated state and local laws against discrimination based on sexual orientation. Anschutz's money helped pay for an ad campaign that said such anti-bias laws gave gays and lesbians "special rights." The U.S. Supreme Court later overturned the amendment as discriminatory.
Jerry McMorris, left, former Colorado Rockies executive, sits with Philip F. Anschutz, whose investment in sports and entertainment has been massive.
(David Zalubowski -- AP)
Anschutz is an active Republican donor. Since 1996, he, his companies and members of his family have given more than $500,000 in campaign contributions to GOP candidates and committees.
Robert Starzel, president of SF Newspaper Co., Anschutz's Bay Area newspaper group, said Anschutz does not meddle in editorial policy. "[Anschutz] has kept in close touch. But he's taken no hand in the operations, nor in demanding any particular editorial policy," Starzel said.
At Journal Newspapers, Anschutz's vision is to meet the growing demand for "individualized content by giving people localized news," said publisher Jim McDonald. McDonald is a former executive with Metro International, a Luxembourg-based publisher of free commuter tabloids across Europe and in Philadelphia and Boston.
The revamped Journal Newspapers are fatter on copy and ads than under the previous owners, the Phillips family of Arkansas, who closed bureaus and laid off reporters. Some actions point to a forthcoming District edition. Journal Newspapers recently took out ads on journalism job sites looking for a full-time design director, page designer and copy editor to work in Washington. Asked if he plans to launch a D.C. edition, McDonald in an e-mail replied: "No comment."
The Journal Newspapers compete with Washington Post Co. publications and the Washington Times.
A Man in Control
Anschutz associates are more forthcoming about plans for D.C. United and the stadium here.
Anschutz Entertainment Group has invested a total of about $300 million in soccer in the United States. Of its soccer franchises, only the L.A. Galaxy team is turning a profit, according to company spokesman Michael Roth. Last year, Anschutz sold the Colorado Rapids. He is in talks to sell the San Jose Earthquakes and has put D.C. United on the market.
D.C. United President Kevin Payne said he recently returned to United's front office after a stint managing all of AEG's soccer franchises for the purpose of getting the team in shape for a sale and closing the stadium deal. Stadium deals are a way to make teams more attractive to buyers, Payne said.
While the details are yet to be worked out, Payne said he expects it will be similar to AEG's other stadium deals. AEG -- or the new owners -- will put up some money to build the stadium. The city will likely lease the land to the team. The team owners will retain operating rights, entitling them to revenue from ticket sales, concessions and naming rights.
Payne is handling negotiations but expects Anschutz to keep abreast of developments. Anschutz, he said, is always coming up with creative ways to wring out synergies. Just last month, Payne received an e-mail from the boss telling him to take some guest to the grand opening of Regal Cinemas at Gallery Place to see a preview of "Ray."
Payne said he often receives such notes. When you work for Phil Anschutz, Payne said, "you get used to it."