This is a very long read, but it goes really in depth into the Senators debt situation, Melnyk's personal finances from when he took over the team to this day, and how he's been spiraling downward for some time now. I'm trying to keep the quoted section small but their is a lot of stuff I'm leaving out. I highly recommend checking out the full article.
The proprietor of the Ottawa Senators since 2003, Melnyk had seen his once-staggering wealth — more than $1.5 billion when he bought the team and arena — shrink significantly. But his diminished fortune — estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars — is tied up in a variety of assets and commitments unrelated to the hockey team. Melnyk has sufficient cash to cover his Senators’ cash losses — which have been averaging close to $10 million per year.
Prior to the expiry of the players’ collective agreement, he had been negotiating a new loan to cover the team’s $130-million debt — held by a syndicate of eight banks including Scotiabank and CIT Group of New York. The loan had expired at year-end 2011 and had been operating under a series of extensions, with appropriate financial penalties applied. Melnyk was being forced to cover millions of dollars in extra debt interest payments until he could line up a new set of lenders.
Ordinarily, Melnyk might have been able to convince the original group of eight to agree to new terms on a fresh loan. But some members of the syndicate had decided to get out of the business of lending to sports teams and others were concerned by the extent of the Senators’ debt load, which is approaching 50 per cent of the estimated $300-million value of the team and the arena. This is high, even by the standards of the NHL. The Senators consider it manageable.
It was only after the league returned to action, allowing the Senators to generate revenues from ticket sales, that Melnyk finally arranged $150 million in fresh financing — this, according to Davies, the law firm that helped to negotiate the deal. He signed a four-year deal in April 2013 with a pair of U.S. specialty funds.
On Melnyk’s decade-long watch, they say, the team has generated a grand total of just $6 million on operations — that is, total revenues minus the costs associated with paying and moving the players, advertising and managing the arena. After subtracting items unrelated to operations — such as interest on the team’s debt and capital expenditures to keep the arena up-to-date — Melnyk has had to absorb cumulative cash losses of $94 million. In short, he is losing an average of $9 million to $10 million a year. And this excludes the additional interest and fees related to the debt extensions.