Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Lightning finances may be near key juncture

The next shoe to drop in the Lightning's ownership saga might be around the corner, and it could provide some urgency in the search for a new majority shareholder.

Operationally, the team has been stable this season, with co-owner Oren Koules and general manager Brian Lawton running things, and co-owner Len Barrie, as per commissioner Gary Bettman, involved only in transactions worth more than $2 million.

The question is what happens when the $15 million the organization received in league revenue sharing runs out and it has to start paying more of its bills on its own?

Though the team has made progress bringing in new corporate sponsors — it announced last week a deal with FrankCrum, a Clearwater human resources firm — ticket sales, the life blood of NHL franchises, have lagged. An announced average attendance of 14,605 is 25th in the league among 30 teams and 1,892 below last season. Prices, too, were greatly reduced.

Wouldn't a prospective owner wait for a financial crunch to use as leverage to cut the best deal?

Not that people are lining up to buy the team. St. Louis real estate developer Anthony Sansone Jr. has said he still is interested. The owners of the Canadian Football League's Toronto Argonauts, long thought in the market for a franchise, probably were encouraged by the league to take a look at the Lightning, though there is no indication anything came of that.

Bettman also said, though "theoretically" possible, he did not envision the team returning to former owner Palace Sports & Entertainment, the majority debt holder on OK Hockey's $200 million purchase.

The most interesting aspect of Bettman's update last week is there doesn't seem to be a rush to get the situation resolved, and with his confirmation that the exclusive buyout windows given Koules and Barrie are moot, things seem open ended, for now. He did throw fans a bone, though.

"You have some pretty good players on this team," Bettman said. "This team is going to be fine."

Tampa Bay Lightning finances may be near key juncture 11/21/09 [Last modified: Saturday, November 21, 2009 8:28pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. College World Series: Gators, LSU face off in all-SEC finals

    College

    OMAHA, Neb. — The matchup for the College World Series finals bolsters the case for those who say the best baseball in the land is played in the SEC.

    Florida’s Brady Singer, delivering during a CWS win over Louisville last week, is scheduled to start tonight against LSU.
  2. Jones: Fox Sports Sun shows depth in Rays coverage

    TV and Radio

    tom jones' two cents

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) makes a run home for a score in the in the final game of a three-game series between the Tampa Bay Rays and AL East rival the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, June 25, 2017.
  3. Brian Boyle says returning to Lightning a 'huge option'

    Blogs

    As former Lightning forward Brian Boyle approaches free agency this week, he said he's trying to stay busy.

    Former Tampa Bay Lightning player center Brian Boyle (24), on the ice during first period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa on March 16, 2017.
  4. Rays journal: Blake Snell to rejoin rotation, Erasmo Ramirez heads to bullpen

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — LHP Blake Snell is rejoining the Rays' rotation, but the move has as much to do with helping the bullpen as it does with Snell's improvement during his time at Triple-A Durham.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Erasmo Ramirez (30) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday, June 21, 2017 in St. Petersburg.
  5. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.