Why write about Philip Anschutz? His ownership of The Broadmoor, The Gazette and other rumored or potential business ventures in the Pikes Peak region makes him a natural subject — but that’s not even the tip of the iceberg.
Anschutz is to business what Babe Ruth is to baseball, John Elway to football, Michael Jordan to basketball — if Ruth had never struck out, if Elway had never thrown a pick, if Jordan had never missed a basket.
For the past half-century, Anschutz has been brilliantly successful in ranching, oil and gas exploration, art collecting, railroads, high-tech communications, sports/entertainment and more. He owns more than 150 corporations and is one of America’s wealthiest icons.
But there are plenty of rich guys in the world, and Anschutz isn’t even in the top 100. Pegging his net worth at $10 billion, Forbes puts him at No. 109. What makes Anschutz special?
Many billionaires are one-trick ponies, men and women who have inherited a bundle (the Walton family) or made fortunes in a single business (Bill Gates). Few have followed Anschutz’s path: He has founded multi-billion dollar enterprises (Anschutz Entertainment Group) and rescued legacy businesses (Southern Pacific). Fewer still are boldly entrepreneurial at 73, making multi-billion-dollar bets on new technologies, joyfully taking risks more typical of 30-year-olds.
Within a year, Anschutz will begin construction of the world’s largest wind farm, 1,000 turbines on a 500-square-mile ranch he owns in Wyoming. The power will flow through a 750-mile, high-voltage line to a massive transmission complex near Hoover Dam. It will supply renewable energy to California.
Total investment: $6-8 billion. Power generated: 2,500 megawatts, roughly equivalent to the output of 10 Martin Drake plants. Fuel cost: zero. Ownership: 100 percent Anschutz. Risk: 100 percent Anschutz.
How will the man impact Colorado Springs? He’s certainly in position to influence the course of this city’s history for generations to come. One thing is clear: Nothing that Anschutz touches remains as it was. He took 100 acres of blight in central Los Angeles and transformed it into LA Live, the world’s most successful sports entertainment complex.
He also doesn’t talk to the media, but that hasn’t stopped the media from talking about him. Inside, on pages 16-19, you’ll find stories and information compiled by CSBJ staffers Amy Gillentine and John Hazlehurst, all pertinent because of Anschutz’s stature, investments and interest in the future of Colorado Springs.
This bold entrepreneur, who has quietly settled in our midst, may be about to take us on the flight of a lifetime.