It's an off day, so why not talk about Charles Wang? He's always worth a few words.
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Two weeks ago the NY Post came out with a story regarding Charles Wang and his interest in selling the Islanders.
It’s been no secret for the past few seasons that Wang was entertaining the thought of selling the storied franchise, but it’s also been no secret that he’s asking for the moon in return.
The rumored price tag he has placed on the New York Islanders is in the ballpark of $300M, much too rich for a team that has consistently lost money the last several years. The market is looking up with a move to one of the 5 boroughs of New York and if a buyer would inject some money into the team rather than penny pinch it would increase the revenue of the team. It doesn't take rocket science to figure out that with an owner that would spend money to put a contender on the ice that this franchise would double in value very quickly and that's how Wang appears to be pitching his sale.
Forbes has the Islanders worth $155M in their most recent valuations of NHL franchises so with an asking price of almost double the teams projected worth seems a bit ridiculous. The Coyotes are worth $134, according to Forbes, and they are on the market for $170M via sale by the NHL.
So, would Charles Wang actually sell the Islanders? Absolutely, but it will be on his terms and close to his asking price. No one likes to lose money year after year, but Wang also has no intentions on spending over the salary cap floor so this team will continue to lose in the dollar column as long as Wang is in control.
The $300M price tag hasn’t steered everyone away, though, as the NY Post reported the Raine Group in Manhattan have been talking to Wang to get a feel for what the actual sale price may be. The Islanders organization denied any truth to the rumors and the Raine Group couldn’t be reached for comment.
For the time being, however, I can’t see Wang’s stance changing which means the Islanders will remain under the tyranny of a penny-pinching owner for the foreseeable future. Another factor in the sale is that the Islanders have a $75M loan that is due for repayment at the end of the 2013-2014 season. Wang would love to get some money back for this team before he has to pay the $75M, otherwise 2014 will be a bad year for Chucky.
I’m positive that if Wang sold the Islanders there would be a parade on Long Island in which thousands of fans would show up and celebrate their freedom. A new owner means that the Islanders can start to acquire players to fill in the blanks, and there are a lot of them, via the trade market or free agency. This is a team that is set up for success with several good, young, players to build around. John Tavares’ contract is one of the best contracts in the NHL. He’s signed long-term at below market value, making $5.5M per year on the cap through 2017-2018. After breaking out last season with 81 points in 82 games, Tavares has 25 points in 20 games this season. We have every reason to believe that JT is a point-per-game or better player now, on a consistent basis, as he strides toward his prime years.
All in all, there seems to be a buzz in New York right now about Wang shopping his team around and if it were to happen in the near future, my guess would be before the end of the 2013-2014 season. If a sale isn’t made before the loan repayment happens and the Islanders attendance improves at the Barclay’s Center, with the rumor being the current lease will be bought out and the team moves for next year, the Islanders could be stuck with Charles Wang for a long time.
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