Gary Bettman never speaks without an underlying motive, and now we see even more clearly the reason for his remarks this week about a potential New York Islanders sale.
As noted Thursday, Bettman's public talk of "multiple" expressions of interest for the Islanders, despite Charles Wang making "no firm decision" to sell, sounded designed to try to pump up demand, interest and value for one of his 30 bosses. In the Newsday story about Bettman's comments, he even said he had talked to Want that morning, no doubt getting an update on what he could and should say to help the sale effort.
Today comes a further sense that Wang has some urgency to use the pending move to Brooklyn -- plus whatever his own financial pressures may be -- to leverage a sale of between a 30 percent to 75 percent stake in the club, with full ownership transfer from the 69-year-old somewhere down the line.
The Sports Business Journal's Chris Botta, citing finance industry sources, reports the Islanders have issued formal memoranda to potential buyers of the team, expanding from what was once a desire to sell a minority stake to the recently reported discussions of something as large as a 75 percent stake. Also of interest, figures outlining just how much the Isles have benefited from the 2013 CBA, which expanded revenue sharing to include big-market clubs like the Islanders for the first time:
In the memo, Islanders owner Charles Wang offers 75 percent ownership of the club, with a five-year option on the other 25 percent. The memo also states that the Islanders sustained an operating loss during the 2013-14 season of $4.8 million, with the loss minimized greatly by $15 million received from NHL revenue sharing and escrow payments.
There's plenty more to chew on in the SBJ post, including details on how the Isles have gone about the "we're for sale, but..." process so far.
Meanwhile, the author Botta added this sense on Twitter:
My take on new Isles sale offering this week: Charles Wang wants Barroway, or another bidder, to do a deal ASAP.— Chris Botta (@ChrisBottaNHL) April 25, 2014
If that take is the right one, Bettman's subtle public hawking makes perfect sense.