Charles Wang Confirms He’s Open To Selling The Islanders
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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The New York Islanders could have a new owner to go with their new home in Brooklyn.
Charles Wang confirmed Friday that he is open to selling his majority share of the team.
To whom and for how much was not immediately known.
“In recent months, there have been numerous expressions of interest in the purchase of the New York Islanders. As I have consistently stated, I have been and remain willing to listen. However, potential buyers expressions of interest in the team or even my listening to them does not mean that any deal will be reached,” Wang said in a statement.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie first broke the story, tweeting the bombshell shortly after midnight Friday, cautioning there’s no guarantee a deal will be completed.
NYI owner Charles Wang in talks to sell majority stake in NHL franchise. Nothing done yet, no telling if it gets done, but talks underway.—
Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) March 28, 2014
Wang had been rumored to be interested in selling for some time. The New York Post reported in February 2013 that he was negotiating with a Manhattan investment bank regarding the sale of the team.
The Islanders lose $10 million per year, according to TSN, and are reportedly due to repay a $75 million loan at season’s end. The team made the playoffs last season for the first time since 2006-07.
Wang agreed to move the Islanders to Brooklyn on a 25-year lease with Barclays Center after a number of proposals to stay in Nassau County failed. The franchise will officially call the borough its home during the 2015-16 season.
“It just couldn’t be done there,” Wang told WFAN’s Mike Francesa after announcing the team’s defection from Nassau in October 2012. “We had to make a decision.”
The 69-year-old became an Islanders minority stakeholder in 2000. He purchased a controlling share of the team in 2004.
Wang twice failed to get a new arena in Nassau. First, his $3.8 billion privately financed Lighthouse Project, which was designed to transform the 77-acre site the current Nassau Coliseum sits on into a multi-use destination, was shot down by the Town of Hempstead because it was too involved, according to Newsday.
Then, in 2011, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano proposed a referendum that would have freed up $400 million to renovate the existing arena, but that idea was voted down by the public.
The Islanders are in last place in the Metropolitan Division at 28-35-10.
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