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Boston Firms Make Offer For All 30 NHL Teams


KennyRock

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From the Associated Press:

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.

Bain Capital Partners LLC and Game Plan LLC, both based in Boston, made the offer in a 30-minute presentation to NHL owners on Tuesday in New York, the Toronto Star reported Thursday. It said the companies were invited to make their pitch by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

Bain Capital spokesman Sam Hollander and Collin Vataha of Game Plan both 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.

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.

NHL executive vice president Bill Daly was cautious in describing the level of interest the proposal received from the governors.

"I'm not going to characterize it," Daly told the Globe and Mail. "I would imagine different clubs had different feelings. The board listened to a presentation and that's about it."

Daly 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 be dependent 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.

All 30 owners would need to consent to it, and, to point out an obvious one, I can't see Dolan(Rangers owner) ever, ever agreeing to it. Not to mention Toronto or Detroit.

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Just 116.6 mil per team? Isn't that kind of a rip?

Yeah, under normal circumstances that would be a bad sale. But when you consider what these guys are making off their teams now -- pretty much nothing -- this might look attractive. Especially if the lockout has no end in sight.

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Just 116.6 mil per team? Isn't that kind of a rip?

Well, that's assuming its divided out evenly, which it wouldn't be.

Frankly I'm surprised its taken someone this long to make such a presentation to a major sports league. Bill Gates could buy the entire NFL with his riches (and have change left for the MLB, NHL and NBA in all likelihood) and turn it into a major advertising vehicle for Microsoft if he were so inclined.

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One of the theories I've heard on local talk radio is that the group would buy all 30 teams (not divided evenly) and would own the league however each currect team owner or GM or whatever would maintain control of player movement and personnel decisions. This would avoid a situation where the Bruins would win every Stanley Cup from now until forever. Sort of like the racing thing where one guy owns and runs the league then you have groups of owners who buy up cars and run personnel, buy up their drivers, etc. Not exactly the same but very similar.

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From the Associated Press:
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.

On a side note, this'd buy 175,000 ABA franchises. :D

That's the funniest comment I've seen here in a long time. It cracked me up.

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i really don't like this idea. the sabres were just bought by a dedicated owner that is determined to turn the franchise around. i'd hate to see the entire league under the same ownership. thankfully the nhl will never be able to go through with this, especially since it requires every owner to sell their teams.

And we definitely wont have to fear something like this in the nfl. just think what would happen if someone tried to buy the packers from the city of green bay (or the raiders, cowboys, bills, and steelers [to name a few] for that matter).

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This won't happen as the owners of Toronto and New Jersey (and a few others) passed on this.

I don't see how it wouldn't work. It would be simular to how the NFL works with revenue sharing just on a larger scale. All revenue would go straight to the league and be dispersed between the teams. Each team would be run on it's own by a gm and hockey operations official. And their would have to be a salary cap as there would only be 1 owner (it's called a budget). The players wouldn't need to okay it.

I wouldn't be surprised if these guys start their own league and try to lure the players to play for them.

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Yeah, it was reported on the Detroit Free Press web site this morning that the Ilitches have absolutely no interest in selling the Red Wings.

Obviously the concept works. The Arena Football League has been doing this from Day One. But getting all 30 owners (which in fact is probably closer to 100 individuals) to agree to the terms and work out who gets how much, it would be a nightmare.

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And we definitely wont have to fear something like this in the nfl. just think what would happen if someone tried to buy the packers from the city of green bay (or the raiders, cowboys, bills, and steelers [to name a few] for that matter).

Really? You don't think so? Guess again.

First off, the city of Green Bay doesn't own the Packers. Individual shareholders, myself included, do. They can sell the team at any time, the only caveat being that the proceeds from any sale go to charitable purposes.

The Raiders, Cowboys, et al. are also easily saleable, as their owners either (1) are up there in years and may be seeking an exit strategy, (2) are by their nature greedy and willing to listen to offers, or (3) realize that, under the right conditions, they'd have no real choice but to sell.

All a buyer would have to do is reach an agreement to buy a majority of the teams and get Congress to approve the deal (as there's some anti-trust considerations to be ironed out). While granted most NFL rules take a 2/3rds majority to adopt or amend, any group owning 17 of the 32 clubs would eventually be able to take full control of the entire NFL.

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Yeah, it was reported on the Detroit Free Press web site this morning that the Ilitches have absolutely no interest in selling the Red Wings.

Obviously the concept works. The Arena Football League has been doing this from Day One.

Uh, no they haven't. Each AFL team is individually owned and operated, which is why they have so much franchise turnover. You're thinking of MLS or the XFL, maybe?

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Yeah, it was reported on the Detroit Free Press web site this morning that the Ilitches have absolutely no interest in selling the Red Wings.

Obviously the concept works.  The Arena Football League has been doing this from Day One.

Uh, no they haven't. Each AFL team is individually owned and operated, which is why they have so much franchise turnover. You're thinking of MLS or the XFL, maybe?

Well yeah, MLS does that. But the AFL used to have that set up. I remember reading about that back in the mid-late 80's.

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