Ex-Nets owner Viola to purchase hockey team and operating rights
AFPSUNRISE, Florida -- New York businessman Vincent Viola will purchase the National Hockey League's Florida Panthers and operating rights to their home arena, Forbes magazine and the Sun-Sentinel newspaper reported Thursday.
September 28, 2013, 12:05 am TWN
The Panthers have called a news conference Friday at the arena where they are expected to announce that Viola, a former part-owner of the NBA's Nets before they moved from New Jersey to Brooklyn last year, was taking over the club, which has struggled to attract fans and win games in recent seasons.
The newspaper reported a sale price of US$250 million while Forbes said the deal to purchase the club from Florida businessman Cliff Viner would be valued at US$240 million.
The team's arena would remain owned by Broward County with the new team owners overseeing operations.
“I am very grateful for him bringing me in here and I think Cliff leaves the franchise much better than he found it, on solid ground and heading in the right direction,” Panthers coach Kevin Dineen told the Sun-Sentinel.
Forbes valued the Panthers last year at US$170 million, the same price for which the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes were recently sold.
The deal would not include the 90 acres of land around the arena, at which the Panthers have a lease through 2028, Forbes reported, saying the club had looked into eventually building a casino near the arena.