View Full Version : NHL to be sold for $3.6 billion

03-03-2005, 03:24 PM
http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/news/story?id=2003701 (http://)

Firms made pitch to owners Tuesday

TORONTO -- An investment firm and a sports advisory company reportedly made a joint proposal to buy all 30 NHL teams for as much as $3.5 billion.

The two Boston companies were invited by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to present the highly unusual offer, the Toronto Star and Globe and Mail reported Thursday. Bain Capital Partners LLC and Game Plan LLC made their pitch Tuesday in New York to NHL owners, whose season has been shut down by a lockout.

Game Plan chairman Robert Caporale confirmed to WBZ radio in Boston that the companies had offered more than $3 billion.

"It's taking the National Hockey League and its 30 teams and operating it as any large corporation does with each team essentially being a division of one company," Caporale said. "We would keep in place team management, team presidents, the GMs. They would be completely autonomous."

Caporale described team owners as "very attentive" but questions the level of support.

"I don't think it's realistic, and I don't think there's much interest, and I know there's no interest on the part of the Bruins," Bruins owner Jeremy M. Jacobs said. "And I think it takes 30 [team owners] to do it."

Bain Capital spokesman Sam Hollander declined to immediately comment Thursday to The Associated Press.

The NHL, which because of its ongoing player lockout recently became the first major North American pro sports league to cancel an entire season, has said its teams have lost a collective $500 million over the past two seasons.

Before the work stoppage, the total value of the 30 NHL franchises was an estimated $4.9 billion, according to Forbes Magazine. The Detroit Red Wings topped the list at $266 million, with the Edmonton Oilers last at $86 million. The value of the arenas are part of the assessment.

"The substance of the presentation and the reaction of the board" are "internal league matters, and ones on which we are not prepared to comment further," Bill Daly, the NHL's chief legal officer, said in a statement Thursday.

Bain managing partner Steven Pagliuca, co-owner of the NBA's Boston Celtics, and Game Plan, which recently acted as an adviser on the sale of the Ottawa Senators, are betting that many NHL owners would welcome the chance to get out of the hockey business.

But it's unclear how team owners, especially those in large markets such Toronto, Boston and New York, would react to the proposal. Maple Leafs officials declined comment, the newspaper said, as did a Game Plan spokesman.

"I would imagine different clubs had different feelings," Daly told the Globe and Mail.

He said the league was compelled to listen based on the significance of the offer.

"When someone's offering over $3 billion, we felt we had an obligation to the board to have them, at least, hear it from the proposed purchaser," Daly added.

The purchase would not depend on the NHL reaching agreement with the players on a collective bargaining deal, the newspaper said, and a sale would not affect the status of the NHL Players' Association as the bargaining agent for players under U.S. and Canadian labor laws.

According to the newspaper, Bain and Game Plan said the sale would bolster the league's revenue because all the teams would work together to generate more local television, sponsorship and revenue instead of competing against one another.

The consortium reportedly told the NHL owners it had arranged for a large Canadian-based financier to join its efforts.

03-03-2005, 03:28 PM
I doubt it would go through, some owners of teams like Detroit, St. Louis, Colorado etc. are finacially alright.

03-03-2005, 03:32 PM
I don't know why you'd pay anything for the NHL.

If I had 3 Billion to play with, I'd simply start my own league and entice all the NHL's current players. WTF are they gonna do?

03-03-2005, 03:33 PM
what's this NHL you speak of?

03-03-2005, 04:19 PM
what's this NHL you speak of?

:deevee: :harumph:

03-03-2005, 04:23 PM
I don't know why you'd pay anything for the NHL.

If I had 3 Billion to play with, I'd simply start my own league and entice all the NHL's current players. WTF are they gonna do?
If I had 3 billion to play with I wouldn't waste it on hockey. I'd spend it something worthwhile... like 300 million lapdances.

Ultra Peanut
03-03-2005, 04:36 PM
What... would they run it as a single-entity format, or something?

03-03-2005, 04:48 PM
What... would they run it as a single-entity format, or something?

Here's (http://www.hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=132550) a good thread about it...

It gets worse for the NHLPA. As Fort points out, "The NHL could form a syndicated league like Major League Soccer and centralize hiring, and negate the chances that the NHLPA would ever have a role into the future."

In Paul Weiler's book, Leveling the Playing Field, he addresses the formation of the MLS. The league organizers created a salary cap on total team payroll but also capped the maximum amount that could be paid to a single player. A single MLS corporate entity would own and operate all the teams, with investors owning shares.

Robert Kraft, owner of the NFL's Patriots, could not live with that idea, so they then created a special status, "investor operator." In the end the legal constitution of the MLS makes the league the formal "employer" of all the players.

It could definitely be interesting. A possible scenario would be the company hiring 30 GM's, giving each team an equal player budger, say $35 million each, and offering the GM performance based incentives in order to promote a tight competitive league. I'm not sure if I'd be for, or against this as a fan. It could turn out bad, but it could potentially be very good too. Kinda makes the league a little more impersonal though, and takes away some team identity.

It changes everything. The players lose much of their bargaining power. Since it is a single business, the owners could set salary scales for every players and make salaries the same for every team because it wouldn't be collusion. Agents could not play teams off against each other because there would be no bidding up prices for free agents. The owners could "transfer" players around at will, so they might end up places they wouldn't want to go. If they act up and get cut, then they can't simply find another team. It goes on and on. It would really hurt the players big time and give the league far more power.

03-03-2005, 04:50 PM
I don't know why you'd pay anything for the NHL.

If I had 3 Billion to play with, I'd simply start my own league and entice all the NHL's current players. WTF are they gonna do?

And play for what? They could buy the NHL and contract teams, get rid of Bettman & Goodenow, force a salary cap, and be playing for the Stanley Cup, too.

I don't see it working out.... as someone said in the thread I posted, there's no reason for owners of the Red Wings, Maple Leafs, Bruins, etc; to sell.

03-03-2005, 06:13 PM
That seems like a low offer. That would only buy about 10 NFL teams.

03-03-2005, 06:26 PM
Completely misleading title, you ought to be shot for that. It's an offer, not a done deal.

Hercules Rockefell
03-03-2005, 06:30 PM
Kroenke would love this. Creates the Altitude Network to show Avs (and Nugs) games, only to have his team bought from him.