Devils Likely To Be Taken Over By NHL? Bettman Denies Report
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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The New Jersey Devils will likely be taken over by the NHL next month unless somebody buys the team, sources told Forbes.
According to the magazine, the organization has $230 million of debt. Owner Jeff Vanderbeek, Forbes reported, recently missed a payment on a bank loan that he took out.
The team’s financial future does not look bright, to say the least. Forbes has reported that the hockey team’s annual debt payment is in the neighborhood of $15 million a year.
The magazine reported that attorney Andrew Barroway was strongly considering buying the Devils, but then opted not to after examining the team’s financial situation more closely.
It’s not just the Devils who are in bad shape. The Prudential Center, where New Jersey plays its home games, has struggled with attendance for non-hockey games, according to Forbes. But that can, in part, be attributed to the Devils’ troubles, as the franchise doesn’t have enough money to book as many acts as it could, according to the magazine.
But don’t expect the Devils’ situation to play out like that of the Phoenix Coyotes. Sources told Forbes that the National Hockey League does not want the franchise to file for bankruptcy, as Phoenix did in 2009.
On the contrary, according to the magazine, the plan is for the league to operate the team while it looks for potential buyers. New Jersey owes the NHL approximately $25 million, Forbes reported, and its payroll for the start of the upcoming season is expected to be about $55 million.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters on Wednesday that Forbes’ report is inaccurate, and the league has no intention of taking over the team.
The Devils made Prudential Center, affectionately known as “The Rock,” their home beginning in 2007. The Nets, now in Brooklyn, played there from 2010–2012. Both teams previously played their home games in East Rutherford.
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