NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Will Charles Wang own the Islanders by the time next season starts?
No one can say for sure.
Though rumors have persisted of Philadelphia attorney and hedge fund manager Andrew Barroway’s serious interest to buy the club, Wang, according to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, is still deciding if he even wants to sell.
“He hasn’t come to the conclusion yet on whether he wants to sell — sell all, sell a piece,” Bettman said at a news conference prior to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
Wang, who has owned the team since 2000, has reportedly set the price for the Islanders at $400 million, saying all along he’d listen to what any interested parties have to say but never once declaring his intention to sell. Bettman told WFAN’s Mike Francesa last month that despite all the problems the Islanders have had during his tenure, Wang still enjoys owning the team.
“He’s very attached to the Islanders. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that,” Bettman said in late April. “He’s looking forward to the move to Barclays.”
Barroway remains the only potential buyer to be named. According to a mid-May report in the Sports Business Journal, Barroway had secured the partners and financial backing needed to meet Wang’s asking price.
Barroway’s partners were not named, but it had become clear that he would not be able to raise the money needed to buy the Islanders without some help.
Wang’s possible reluctance to sell could be hitched to the Islanders’ move to Barclays Center in Brooklyn following the 2014-15 season. The language in the 25-year lease seems to suggest that whomever owns the team will stand to benefit greatly from an impressive amount of guaranteed revenue. Bettman’s assertion that Wang truly enjoys owning the Islanders could be supported by the fact that he would be able to begin recouping his tens of millions of dollars in losses with the guaranteed revenue, which, according to a report in the N.Y. Post, would be around $50 million for regular season games.
The Islanders are coming off a 34-37-11 season in which they missed the playoffs one year after ending a long postseason drought.
It appears they intend to do what’s necessary to insure that the final season at Nassau Coliseum is competitive, as they have already signed a No. 1 goaltender in Jaroslav Halak and seem intent on addressing several other glaring needs, namely acquiring a veteran forward and defenseman.
The Islanders also have the No. 5 overall pick in the upcoming NHL Draft.
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