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Insider Only What the Penguins Pending Sale Means for the Short and Long-term

Penguins on Track to be Sold for Around $870 Million

The Pittsburgh Penguins are being sold to the Fenway Sports Group in a sale that is expected to come in around a staggering $870 million dollars. Whether it was now or 3-4 years down the road, majority owners Ron Burkle and Mario Lemieux have been eyeing the opportunity to cash in on the franchise that the Lemieux group bought in 1999, saving the franchise out of bankruptcy. This day was always coming.

Lemieux and Co aggressively tried to sale the club back in 2015, but interference of the NHL seeking a price tag of $750-$775 million hamstrung ownerships desire to initially sale the club in the $600 million range six years ago as the group was prepared to take a deal around $640 million at the time where Mario Lemieux would have been out as owner. A couple of back-to-back Stanley Cup saw the group temper down the aggressiveness to sale the team but it’s something they’ve always been exploring for several years now.

Selling the franchise for nearly $900 million in a pandemic where there’s become serious attendance worries league wide, a trend the league expects to continue for years, is just the perfect storm for Mario Lemieux & Co who not too many months ago accepted a Payroll Protection Loan of $4.8 million.

The pending sale is just a fantastic deal, better than anyone expected at this time and Lemieux/Burkle are not handing the keys to some fan boy owner who stretched every dollar and line of credit to come up with the money just to say they own an NHL team.

They’re handing the franchise to a group with big pockets who will surely keep things interesting in the years to come.

The Fenway Sports Group, estimated worth around $7 billion, buying the Penguins is all about extending their portfolio that already prominently includes the Boston Red Sox, Liverpool of England’s Premier League and Roush Fenway Racing of Nascar. They’ve been on the hunt to buy the right NHL team and along with an NBA team as they certainly have eyes on starting their own streaming service for games.

— What we Know about the Pending Sale and some Key Burning Questions —

In the Short-Term………….

— Co-Owner Ron Burkle is going to be completely out of the picture, while franchise icon Mario Lemieux is retaining a small percentage in the team and as of now Lemieux expects to still be involved with the franchise, though, Lemieux obviously won’t have the influence he did as majority owner. Team President David Morehouse will stay on for at least the rest of the season, sources say, while there will obviously be no changes to the hockey ops with General Manager Ron Hextall and President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke.

The Present is Status Quo. It will likely be like there wasn’t an ownership change at all when the deal gets approved.

As for the Future:

The Fenway Sports Group is going at some point runs things their way. The likes of David Morehouse and others will be phased out with influence in the organization. That’s just the way these things go. The question is how long do they take to bring their own hockey people in. Some believe it could be a couple years at least that’s the sense team insiders have been given, sources say, while others with knowledge of how the group operates believe it will be much sooner than some think.


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About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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