Hurricanes close to sale; team would stay in Raleigh

Posted July 13

The “for sale” sign may no longer be needed. Sources say Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos Jr. has found a buyer and signed a letter of intent to sell.

The details of the sale have not been made public, and the deal has to be approved by the NHL. According to sources, the purchasing group is led by Chuck Greenberg, who is former CEO of the Texas Rangers and has links to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

In a statement, the team made the deal seem like less than a certainty.

"Since an offer has been made to purchase the team, Mr. Karmanos intends to evaluate that offer and also will continue to evaluate his other options, including retaining his ownership of the team," that statement read.

According to the sources on the sale, Karmanos' partners, a group of local investors who have a minority stake in the team, would have the option to participate in any new ownership.

As part of the agreement, the Hurricanes would remain in Raleigh.

In 2014, Karmanos said he thought the Hurricanes were worth $400 million. Forbes estimated the team's value at $230 million in 2016. Reports out of New York have Greenberg et al agreeing to pay almost more than twice that.

If investors wanted to purchase an expansion team, the fee was $500 million, like it was for Las Vegas.

Karmanos purchased the Hurricanes franchise when it was the Hartford Whalers for $48 million in 1994. In 2011, he added some local investors to the ownership team, and he's been open to a sale ever since.

Greenberg a heavy hitter in sports ownership

Greenberg is a man who has scored major points in hockey, even though he never played.

Raised in Pittsburgh, he attended Tufts University and then earned his law degree from the University of Michigan.

His work as an attorney helped save hockey in his hometown.

In 1999, Greenberg put together the deal that led to Mario Lemieux and businessman Ron Burkle assuming ownership of the bankrupt Penguins.

That was his first assist.

In 2007, Greenberg’s representation of Lemieux and Burkle was critical in the city's decision to build a brand-new stadium in downtown Pittsburgh. PPG Paints Arena has been filled with Stanley Cup championship excitement the last two years.

Hurricanes top Penguins in OT, 3-2

There’s hockey assist number two.

Greenberg currently owns parts of three minor league baseball franchises – one in Frisco, Texas, one in Myrtle Beach and one in State College, Pennsylvania.

He had a short but successful stint in Major League Baseball ownership as well.

Greenberg and Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan were among the managing partners in the group that purchased the Texas Rangers in 2010.

That same year marked the franchise's first of back-to-back trips to the World Series, but Greenberg’s role as CEO lasted only one year.

In a news release from the Rangers, Greenberg said he, Nolan Ryan and the other partners had “somewhat different styles” and they “did not work through our differences.”

He did leave a positive impression on then-Rangers general manager Jon Daniels.

"He's just a normal guy," Daniels says. "Jeans and T-shirts. He's really in tune with fans and knows how to have his finger on the pulse of what they want. He wants revenue, make no mistake about that, but above and beyond that comes winning."

Another Greenberg backer is Pittsburgh native and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. He and Greenberg grew up about three miles apart.

"Yeah, in a lot of ways he does remind me of me," Cuban told the Dallas Observer. "He puts the fan first, and he likes to make sure they have fun.”

"Mark's certainly someone I look up to," Greenberg says. "If I have a question or an idea, I'm not afraid to shoot him an email. I value his advice."

It wouldn’t be surprising at all if Greenberg connected with Cuban before completing his purchase of the Hurricanes. Cuban has done business in the Triangle and knows how financially fruitful the area can be.

Now the challenge for Greenberg is to make sure hockey flourishes for the Carolina Hurricanes. Step one: Return to the the playoffs.


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  • Frank Curcio Jul 14, 1:56 p.m.
    user avatar

    "They are by every measure the worst team in the NHL." Hear hear! Hopefully this will change under new ownership; the present group is either unwilling or unable to spend the money required to field a competitive team.

  • Andrew Stephenson Jul 14, 7:27 a.m.
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    "I want to be a fan but it is hard when you miss the playoffs 8 straight years"

    Pshh. PSHHHHHHH I'm from Buffalo. Don't talk to me about disappointment in team performance lol

  • Reuben Davis Jul 13, 10:14 p.m.
    user avatar

    It wouldn't surprise me or bother me too much if the team moved to Sasketchewan ...

  • Henry Cooper Jul 13, 9:19 p.m.
    user avatar

    The Penguins did not file bankruptcy in 2007 that was the final part for the Lemieux equity deal from the 1998 bankruptcy. The cane would have been bankrupt long ago without revenue sharing (which Pittsburgh did not have in 1998). The Canes were dead last in attendance last year. Forbes puts their value at dead last in the NHL. They are by every measure the worst team in the NHL.

    The Revenue sharing in the last CBA is why the Canes are in the black. People are not buying the Canes per say they are buying part of the league to get the revenue sharing. There are 12 teams from last year in the NHL in the black without revenue sharing.

    Karmonos made his money and needed out due to the on going court battle with his sons about where the money came from to buy the team to start with.

  • Rod Runner Jul 13, 7:12 p.m.
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    I think it says a lot that the Penguins were bankrupt in 2007 in an obvious hockey town with one of the most well known NHL teams and the Carolina Hurricanes are not bankrupt and are supposedly being bought for double their valuation.

  • Angus Young Jul 13, 4:55 p.m.
    user avatar

    A team that is a consistant loser and insanely high ticket prices will keep the seats empty. It won't be long till the bags are packed.

  • Henry Cooper Jul 13, 4:47 p.m.
    user avatar

    I have been to several games, I got cheap tix from season holders nearly giving them away in the 2nd 1/2 of the season;-)

    I all seriousness:
    I want to be a fan but it is hard when you miss the playoffs 8 straight years. It is hard to stomach when with the signing of Slavin they are still 12 million under the cap. We have gone thru more than one of these losing seasons 10+ million under the cap and only 1 over the cap by a less than 1 million.

    Hopefully if the Canes are here long term the new folks will spend a little on players. Slavin is a good start on defense but he cannot fix all the issues. We have been horrible defensively most years since the Cup.

  • Pam Price Jul 13, 4:15 p.m.
    user avatar

    Although I haven't been to a game in over a decade...I moved over an hour away...the games were quite an experience. I enjoyed them tremendously, and the only other sport I enjoy is NASCAR. I don't understand the negativity from some of the people here. Go to a game, you might actually enjoy it. I am not a sports fan by any means, but I had a great time at the 4 or 5 games I went to.

  • Leigh LeClair Jul 13, 3:21 p.m.
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Have you ever been to a game, Mr. Frei.. if not.. I would be happy to escort you sometime.. Hockey is fun.

  • Leigh LeClair Jul 13, 3:20 p.m.
    user avatar

    As a 15 year Season Ticket Member of the Carolina Hurricanes, I am quite excited about adding Mr. Greenberg as our owner. Pete K. did a good thing bringing hockey to North Carolina but it is time for new blood. Mr. Greenberg was instrumental in helping Mario Lemeuix buy the Pittsburgh Penguins when they were in bankruptcy and he has done great things with the Double A and Single A baseball teams he owns. Mark Cuban, another good sports owner, sees a lot of himself in Chuck Greenberg. As for all those nay-sayers, if you don't like hockey, no one is forcing you to spend your money at the arena, but if you want to come to a game, please do.. sit near me.. and I can explain it to you if you want to understand why I've been a hockey fan since college. I have no problems explaining the game in easy to understand terms. It is a good thing the Canes are staying.. now let's get the NCFC to the MLS.. and make this a TWO SPORT Major League Town.




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