Bid would buy entire NHL
BY ALAN HAHN
March 4, 2005
An investment group has made a $3.5-billion bid to buy the NHL and
its 30 franchises, adding a new twist to the league's lockout drama.
The NHL yesterday released only a statement that confirmed the
purchase bid. It called it an "internal league matter" and would not
comment further. Spokesmen from the Rangers and Islanders referred
only to the league's statement.
The bid was made during Tuesday's Board of Governors meeting by Bain
Capital, which has offices in Manhattan and Boston, and Game Plan,
LLC, which is based in Boston. Boston Celtics co-owner Stephen
Pagliuca is a managing director of Bain Capital. Game Plan has
assisted the NHL with the sale of the Ottawa Senators and brokered
the sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers last year.
"In the real estate world, it's a 'fixer-upper,'" David Carter, a
strategist for The Sports Business Group, said of the NHL. "The
property it sits on is very strong. Just maybe you need to knock the
house down and rebuild it."
Carter said this bid might be the first of several alternative
efforts to resuscitate the financially troubled league, which just
lost an entire season because of a collective- bargaining impasse
with the NHL Players Association.
"What it shows is the marketplace is trying to solve the problem," he
A person with knowledge of the situation told Newsday the group
originally made the bid last June. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman
invited the group back to the table this week so the owners could
listen for themselves.
The purchase will most likely never become a reality, considering a
majority of the league's owners - including the Rangers and
Islanders - have no interest in selling their teams for what would be
an average of $117 million; that figure wouldn't even factor in the
value of the league. According to Forbes magazine's team valuations
for 2004, the Rangers were worth $282 million and the Islanders $160
Of course, that was when the league was operating.