Lightning sold (again)
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before.
It appears would-be Lightning owner Oren Koules had a Plan B at the ready for his financing. Palace Sports & Entertainment and OK Hockey just announced they have entered into a “definitive purchase agreement.’’
As always, the price was not announced, but throughout the nearly six months that this saga has been going on, the purchase price was believed to be about $200-million. That includes the team, the leasehold rights to the St. Pete Times Forum and approximately 5½ acres adjacent to the Forum.
For the moment, the most interesting thing from a fan’s perspective is that the deal is expected to close in the next 105 days, which is a much firmer timeline than the parties have ever laid out.
Of course, it also depends on league approval, which shouldn’t be an issue since Commissioner Gary Bettman helped broker the deal.
“We are pleased to move forward with Oren Koules and OK Hockey LLC as the next owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning, “ said Tom Wilson, President and CEO of Palace Sports & Entertainment. “Oren is a passionate hockey man who cares deeply about the franchise and the Tampa Bay community. We look forward to a smooth transition and a terrific future as he assumes control of the Lightning.”
Koules, a Hollywood producer responsible for the wildly successful Saw films, said, “We are happy that we are able to take this next significant step towards ownership of the Lightning. We are very excited about today’s announcement and look forward to the day when we can make a difference for the Lightning and its fans.”
The next question will be who makes the final calls as the trade deadline approaches.