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Wanna buy a hockey league?

25 posts in this topic

Mar. 3, 2005. 01:00 AM

Wanna buy a hockey league?

Partners would take entire NHL

Owners cool to all-or-nothing deal

http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentSe...tacodalogin=yes

RICK WESTHEAD

BUSINESS REPORTER

A powerful Wall Street buyout firm and an upstart sports advisory company have made a dramatic joint proposal to buy all of the NHL's 30 teams for as much as $3.5 billion (U.S.).

Bain Capital Partners LLC and Game Plan International, both based in Boston, tabled the offer in a 30-minute presentation to NHL owners on Tuesday in New York, three sources told the Toronto Star.

The companies were invited to make their pitch by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

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 hockey's Ottawa Senators, are betting that many NHL owners would welcome the chance to get out of the hockey business.

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 (U.S.) over the past two seasons.

It's unclear whether many of the league's owners, especially those with teams in large markets like Toronto, Boston and New York, would accept the offer.

Maple Leaf officials declined to comment, as did a Game Plan spokesman. Representatives for Bain and the NHL couldn't be reached.

A person familiar with the matter said no subsequent discussions between the league and the two companies were scheduled.

Response to the Bain/Game Plan proposal from more than 100 people at the meeting was muted.

Several in attendance said just one of the owners there asked a question of Bain and Game Plan

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I was just listening to this idea on my way to work on 1050 E$PN Radio with Mike and Mike...and they both mentioned how this is an intriguing idea...of course Mike Greenberg went into the baseball end of it and said "Well if the Yankees make 1B dollars from the YE$ Network, the the Pirates and Royals will get equal money", which kind of showed me that Greenberg was thinking like a true Mets fan and Yankee hater, but thats another subject :P

Im not so sure about this idea. I believe that in sports since the beginning, some teams are just going to generate more revenue then others, and to me, if they want to invest more into their product on the ice, then they should have that luxury. The keys in the world of the NHL is to ensure the salaries do not get out of control and the players and owners all get what should be coming to them, plus ensure the payroll gaps between the haves and the have-nots are not out of control (to me in baseball, more teams are just flat out cheap, they CAN spend more $ but they do not choose to IMO, hockey is a little different)

I just do not believe it would be fair if the Buffalo Sabres, to use my team as an example, would get the same exact revenues that teams like New York and Toronto would get, teams like the Leafs were built to what they were over time and generate much more revenue and they earned that.

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Doesn't matter what they say about it operating like divisions of a large corporation that have their own budget and operate autonmously on personnel decisions (which, btw, is true...J&J doesn't tell its divisions who to hire for their open jobs). I can tell you exactly what the NHLPA would see this as...collusion. In theory, it should be able to work. But it would wind up in court so fast it would make your head spin.

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I agree SueNJ...and another point....if there was 1 owner for the entire league....you do not think that owner wouldnt want to see certian players in certian cities? If a place like Buffalo or Calgary have the best players, or those players are in New York or Chicago, what combo do you think will rake the most money in for the 1 sole owner?

It would be like old time baseball all over again.

No way I see this happening, nor do I agree with it.

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we all know some owners were duped into the imaginary pot of gold by Bettman, but all 30 sell? impossible. They did this for some other reason.

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It's a pathetic attempt at some socialist uptopia that's supposed to solve all of the NHL's ills...

...save for the fact that there's no way to fairly assign marketing budgets to different teams around the league, when you have St. Louis competing against two other teams for ticket dollars and the Devils competing against (roughly) 12...

...and the fact that a certain amount of that "revenue pot" would have to be committed to new arena construction, and then who makes that decision...

...and that fact that while increased revenue sharing is vital to the continued vitality of the league, I will ask the same questions for the hundredth thousandth time: WHAT REVENUE?!

<JESTER>

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When I read this first thing I thought was that they are really scraping the bottom of the barrel to come up with hockey stories. The longer this drags on what'll be next? A reality tv show? Oh wait, didn't they try something like that in Canada? :P

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This is a very interesting scenario in which the players will be nothing but employees in a professional sport. This would solve many of the NHL's ill and improve the marketablity of the game.

I would invest in this.

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This is a very interesting scenario in which the players will be nothing but employees in a professional sport.  This would solve many of the NHL's ill and improve the marketablity of the game. 

I would invest in this.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Ya, I wish I could get a piece of this action if all the owners agreed to sell.

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It's very interesting but I don't know what to think.

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On second thought...Derek, this may be the chance for the rangers to finally get it right.

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Honestly, this might be the stupidest idea I've ever heard.

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No.

Thank you.

See: MLS.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

exactly right. the mls is owned by one corporation (that anshultz, the kings owner is head of).

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I just saw this.... really, wtf. Come on now, guys. First off, all 30 teams will not sell. That's a given. Secondly, while I agree this might solve the Rag$ problems :rolleyes: (yah right) I don't think this will be the end all to NHL problems.

What are the advantages to this? It won't solve the problems between the owners (or if it was to sell, "owner") and employees (players).

Recently, Forbes magazine stated that the average NHL club was worth $163 million in 2003-04, but if the owners do decide to go through with the proposal that would lower the value of each team to about $117 million, although the larger-market clubs would be still be worth more.

Is that supposed to be good?

The two businesses feel that this move would add to the league's revenue because the teams would work as a whole, rather than individuals trying to beat each other.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but itsn't that the Board of Governors job to make the league work as a whole? And how are trades done? This is a bad idea in my mind.

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The guy who made the bid was on "Prime Time Sports" (FAN Radio / Sportsnet TV) this evening. He made a really interesting case by discussing the particulars of the bid and why it makes sense. Basically, the league as a single entity would keep the teams from competing with each other for essential services. Each franchise would have a certain budget, a lot of operations would be centralised to save money. Instead of competing with each other for certain revenue streams, the teams would cooperate to maximise them. Executives would be rewarded for bringing in more revenue and making local revenues national, and so on.

Costs would be lower, revenues higher, and the labour situation would be entirely different since the league would be a single entity. You don't have to worry about the Rangers or Avalanche driving up the salary scale for smaller clubs anymore - which would be much less inflationary.

He also gave examples of how all local TV contracts would be consolidated so that if you lived in Boston and the Bruins were not playing that night they could show another game in that market.

In spite of the fact that it is a near impossibility that the league will actually sell (how can they possibly convince all 30 owners?), the system itself made a whole lot of sense. Too bad it's pie in the sky.

What was not discussed and what I wonder is - would it be possible for the current NHL owners to form a new corporation and basically buy itself? The equity of each team's actual value could be equal to their stake in the new single entity, so the owner of the Red Wings would own a higher percentage than that of the Ducks. The current owners and execs could them become (true) franchisees. There is probably a legal reason why it can't happen and they'd still have the challenge of getting all 30 owners to agree to it.

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Can this get any worse. This is messed up.

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Although the NHL is not truly "national" in scope, certainly it is a "major league" entity.

This scenario is outrageous...this isn't the ill-fated roller hockey league of several years back...this is the friggin NHL for crying out loud! This is the NHL, a league with a proud and rich history...not the Arena Football League! This is the NHL...not the XFL, WHA, NASL, MLS...this ain't professional indoor lacrosse, the Professional Rodeo Association, the Women's Professional Fast Pitch Softball League...or any "minor league", and or, irrelevent sporting endeavor on the horizon.

Enough with this nonsense - I cannot believe the NHL board even gave this two seconds of their time.

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Why? What is stupid about it?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

You should be smart enough to see what's stupid about it. I'm not gonna sit here and type 5 pages on what's wrong with it.

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You should be smart enough to see what's stupid about it. I'm not gonna sit here and type 5 pages on what's wrong with it.

Insults are the last refuge of a scoundrel.

Perhaps you should give us a 1 page summary.

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Zero:

Did the guy mention, or was he questioned about, arena construction and the possibility of contraction?

<JESTER>

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The problem is that mediocrity would be prized over championships. If one entity owns every team, why would it let Calgary win a Stanley Cup? Their interest would be maximizing profit for each club, not winning. The two are not completely concordant.

Edited by Triumph

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Honestly I think the fact that the owners even took a meeting is just more PR, to say here if the league was so great why would we even look into the prospect of selling the entire thing? The owners would never consider selling, you couldn't get all thirty to agree on THAT, not when a 'few' do make substantial profits.

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