Fingold to buy Penguins
This is huge. I told you in May to get to know Sam Fingold.
Sam Fingold, the 34-year old who once said he would buy the Penguins and move them to Kansas City, will be the first to have exclusive rights to purchase the NHL franchise.
Fingold agrees to buy Penguins; Promises to keep team here if possible
"As passionate hockey fans, we are excited about this opportunity to purchase the Pittsburgh Penguins," Mr. Fingold said in a Penguins' news release. "We agree with the current ownership group that the Penguins should remain in Pittsburgh and that a new arena is crucial to the team's long-term success.
"So many of the elements for success already are in place here, including a loyal fan base and a spectacular core of young talent, led by Sidney Crosby. The Penguins are an important part of Pittsburgh's sports landscape, and it is our objective to do everything possible to secure their future here."
Even Paul McGannon has some spin on the topic:
The next 30 days will determine if Pittsburgh is able to come up with financial models and scenarios to stay in Pittsburgh," Mr. McGannon told the Star for a story appearing today.
"That's the first choice of the league and the current ownership group. But if for whatever reason that does not work out politically or casino-wise or otherwise, what are the other options? Fingold looks at us favorably as an option."
(and from Friday)
Fingold ices others in Penguins bidding
Fingold signed a letter of intent and will have 30-days to negotiate the purchase of the team. This does not mean he will buy the team. Dave Checketts and an Andy Appleby guy both had exclusive 30-day negotiating rights to buy the St. Louis Blues and didn't come away with a purchase. Checketts came back to the table later to eventually buy our beloved Missouri-based franchise.
Remember, it is still unlikely that Fingold will move the team to KC.
We need to get a couple of things straight.
1.) There is no lease agreement for the proposed new arenas in Pittsburgh.
If Isle of Capri is awarded the slots license, the team stays in Pittsburgh.
If not, there is a Plan B for a new arena. If a lease is drafted that allows the Penguins to operate the Plan B-funded arena, then the team will stay in Pittsburgh.
Because the team would generate more revenue by playing in an arena they operate than by playing in an arena they do not operate. AEG will operate Sprint Center.
What could cause the team to move even with Plan B?
If the Penguins will not operate the Plan B-funded arena.
If the Penguins are on the hook for any cost overruns to the arena. Interest rates are not going down. The cost for the bonds to finance the Pittsburgh arena are not going to be any cheaper six months from now. The $300M arena Plan B is proposing could cost more than $350M by the time the agreement is signed and could push $600M by the time the debt is retired.
Regardless, according to a Post-Gazette story from earlier this week, the NHL may stand in the way of any move.
NHL bylaws, funding plans should keep Penguins here
The state and local government's proposed plan for alternative arena funding and the NHL bylaws have dovetailed nicely to make it difficult for a new owner to move the Penguins to another city.
A copy of the four-page Section 36 of the NHL bylaws, dealing with franchise relocations, was obtained from the league.
There are 24 areas of consideration that are to be used in determining whether to allow a team to move, including "whether there is a reasonable prospect ... that it could become financially viable" and whether the club received a "publicly financed arena, special tax treatment, or any other form of public financial support."
A new arena under Plan B would arguably give the Penguins a reasonable chance of financial health, and it could fit the criteria of public financial support.
Also considered under the NHL bylaws would be local fan support, whether local authorities could help reduce operating costs and whether a move would harm the league's image or make travel, scheduling and divisional alignment difficult.
The Penguins have no trouble with fan support. Last season they led the NHL in attendance increase. Even with a horrible team.
A move to KC would, actually, help divisional alignment as the Red Wings, the only Western Conference team in the Eastern time zone, could move back to the Eastern Conference.
There won't be a public comment coming from the NHL any time soon. However, Bettman has made it pretty clear that he wants to keep the Pittsburgh market in the NHL.