Philadelphia lawyer Andrew Barroway has been identified as the lead investor in a bid to purchase a majority stake in the New York Islanders from Charles Wang, according to multiple reports.
Sunday night the Post reported that the previously leaked $300 million valuation breaks down as a base of $225 million, "plus another $75 million if the Islanders hit certain revenue targets."
The Post explained that the revenue guarantee involved in the franchise's move to Brooklyn helps the proposed deal:
The arena’s owners guaranteed the Islanders about $50 million in annual revenue for regular season games. Barclays would keep anything it collects in sponsorship, suite and ticket sales over that amount.
CBC's Elliotte Friedman, who had discussed the rumors of a 75% stake on CBC's Hot Stove but said he could not confirm the lead investor's name, said Barroway is indeed the name he was hearing.
You might remember Barroway's name from talks to buy the New Jersey Devils. Two years ago he was the investor negotiating to front troubled then-Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek with $30 million, in part as an entry to buying the team.
Barroway ended up not landing the Devils -- and previously he missed out on a bid for the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers after not being able to come up with the purchase price. (Ironically, and in an oh-so-typical turn in the club of elite rich folks and their sports team, the Devils ended up falling into the hands of the same guy who bought the 76ers. Something feels very Stan Kroenke/Bill Laurie/Avalanche/Blues/Grizzlies/Nuggets about the whole thing.)
So what now? Now Barroway is a few years down the road and he's again trying to by a major stake in a sports team. Is he better poised to come up with the cash and financing to get it done? And if he does, will there be enough left over to invest the way fans are expecting a new owner in a new venue to do?
That's ultimately the concern for Islanders fans. Ever since their post-2015 venue was nailed down and the fears of relocating outside of New York were erased, the next question in the hierarchy of fan needs is whether an owner with deep enough pockets -- whether Wang or a successor -- would increase the team's notoriously frugal budget (and avoid spending it in a Pegulanesque drunken sailor kind of way, because MOAR money does not necessarily equal MOAR wins).
If it's been a while since one of your sports teams has been involved in an ownership change or even sale talk/drama, just remember this:
- These things tend to drag on.
- Even after they drag on, they can end up amounting to nothing and you're back where you started.
- Even if an ownership change takes place, it's not always the dream answer you're looking for.
Regardless, North American sports history is filled with people like this who have tried to buy teams, sometimes jumping from one attempt to the next until they can close a deal.
Pro sports ownership is obviously an exclusive club (that doesn't keep hucksters and frauds from entering, alas): A limited number of teams exist, and only a handful change hands in a given year. So sometimes they don't ever land one because the opportunity never lines up right. And sometimes it's because they never really had the resources to get it done.
Barroway, for his part, can be viewed as a guy who helped the NHL out with the Devils, or as a guy who couldn't close the deal for the Devils. One way or another, we'll eventually find out where he fits. Stay tuned, but don't wait up. This usually takes a while.