Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Penguins will have new owners by next season

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (again, how great would it be to have COMPETING newspapers in a city), the Pittsburgh Penguins will have new owners when they begin play next season.
Penguins to score new owners before next season

The paper says four to five groups are seriously considering buying the team, according to Steve Greenberg of Allen & Co., the company brokering the deal.

Of those four or five groups, only three have publicly stated their intentions.

-Toronto-based real estate developers David and Sam Fingold, who have publicly said they are interested in moving the team to KC if Isle of Capri/Penguins are not awarded the slots license.

-Hartford-based Larry Gottesdiener, who has publicly said he is interested in moving the team to Hartford if Isle of Capri/Penguins are not awarded the slots license.

-The paper says Ohio businessman Jim Renacci, a Pittsburgh native, is interested in buying the team. However, in another paper Renacci said he has not made an offer.

-I guarantee you RIM (you know, the Blackberry people) CEO Jim Balsillie is one of the bidders.

The bad news for KC

Elected officials in Pittsburgh plan to begin buying property to secure a site for an arena.

The state will lend the city-county Sports & Exhibition Authority $25 million to $30 million in coming weeks to start buying Uptown properties between Fifth and Centre avenues for an arena, Onorato said.

"We can increase our chances of keeping the team here if (the new owners) see there is movement on the new facility, and movement now," Onorato said.

The other bit of bad news is that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman says, "no other teams are looking to relocate."

Bettman: It's about hockey, not the markets

Bettman said there are no plans to expand the NHL, nor does he anticipate any teams moving -- notwithstanding the Penguins' tenuous hold on life in Pittsburgh. Still, when someone suggested that the new CBA might make a return to other Canadian markets more viable, Bettman agreed. Sort of. "I do agree with your observation that the ability of, say, a Winnipeg, with the right building and ownership, to be able to not just survive but be competitive." Still, no one should be setting up the Jets season-ticket booth at Portage and Main. "I don't want to get anyone's hopes up because we're not planning on going anywhere," Bettman said.

So, when AEG, NHL21, Frank Boal and Neal Jones say, "up to six NHL teams are looking to move" there is no public evidence on which to base this statement. Which is precisely why I am asking members of the media to hold AEG's feet to the fire when they say these things.

Don't get me wrong, I think AEG is doing a great thing for KC, but OUR MEDIA needs to be a little more inquisitive...a little more...cynical, perhaps.


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