Rumblings about the proposed sale of the New York Islanders have increased over the past week, with reported bidder Andrew Barroway getting closer to arranging the financing and partners needed to meet Islanders owner Charles Wang's roughly $400 million asking price.
According to the Sports Business Journal's Chris Botta, that financing is now in place.
That doesn't mean a sale is imminent, nor even that Wang has decided to sell. But it adds another chapter as the team nears a major transition point with its move to Brooklyn in 2015. According to Botta, who has reported several developments on Barroway's bid over the past few months:
An NHL source said Barroway does not have exclusivity on negotiating to buy the Islanders; Wang can listen to other offers. But Barroway’s acquisition of financing and partners moves the possibility of a deal one step closer.
"It’s still going to be awhile before we know if Wang completes the deal," the league source said. "Charles has been focused on the Barroway offer because it meets his price, but Charles can be a tough negotiator. And as [NHL Commissioner] Gary Bettman has said, Charles still has to decide if he’s ready to completely walk away from the team. He loves the Islanders."
It's not new to hear that Wang "loves" his team and is invested in his success. So that (re)raises the question of why he's been listening to offers for all or part of the team to the point of getting Barroway to arrange financing?
Simply a matter of succession planning for the 69-year-old? A symptom of his financial situation and debts accumulated with the Isles? Or simply striking at an opportune time, generating bids when the team is poised for an increase in guaranteed revenue (and thus franchise value) with its move to the Barclays Center?
Tomorrow, or next month, or next year, we might find out.