Kevin SchultzLast night a TSN Insider – the one without strong connections to a Toronto-based team and not in the business of getting people riled up about the Islanders for no good reason – broke a story that Islanders owner Charles Wang is in talks to sell his majority stake in the franchise.
Bob McKenzie, if you remember, is also the same person who broke that the Islanders would be moving permanently to the Barclays Center after the team had, one October morning, unexpectedly announced a press conference at the venue.
When the Islanders announced the move to the Barclays Center, it came out of nowhere. The press conference’s aim was spoiled before it started but other than that it was a well-kept state secret. There were no leaks leading up to the course of action, no breaks in the press that the move was imminent or to be announced in the coming days. That’s how I always imagined a sale of the team, if Wang chose (chooses?) to sell, would work. One day we would all wake up and ta-da, that’s it. No advanced warning. Well, that sort of happened today.
After nearly 15 years of owning the Islanders – and coincidentally the amount of time an owner has to depreciate the purchase price of a team under IRS tax law – Charles Wang may be looking to move on from the Islanders, according to McKenzie.
With a new era already set to begin as the team moves to Brooklyn, this would make for a doubly new era in Islanders history.
The obvious idea here is that some part of the Barclays Braintrust is buying the team. With how things have moved so fluidly between the two sides — from moving the hockey team there to installing Ratner as the developer for the Coliseum — you would have to think that would be the most likely option. But, of course, we don’t know.
Another scenario is a little darker; the Islanders have a 25-year “iron-clad” lease to play at the Barclays Center. Hopefully, if a sale does happen, it’s not to someone who is going to test the strength of the irons cladding that lease. The franchise has been down that road before. The counter to this thought is that there’s a lucrative cable deal that any buyer would be silly to be running away from, assuming they tried to leave the New York area.
Of course, business deals can fall apart after initial talks. Of course, media reports even from the best in the business are occasionally wrong. The last 10-games of a meaningless season did just get a lot more interesting and from someone who isn’t in the business of getting people riled up for no good reason.