FSG reach agreement for Pittsburgh Penguins

FSG reach agreement for Pittsburgh Penguins

After weeks of speculation, on Monday it was confirmed that the Fenway Sports Group (FSG) have reached an agreement to purchase the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League. The Penguins will be the group’s third professional sports franchise, as they already own the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball, as well as Liverpool Football Club of the English Premier League.

The group, which is controlled by American businessman John Henry, also owns the New England Sports Network and half of Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing of Nascar.

“The Pittsburgh Penguins are a premier National Hockey League franchise with a very strong organization, a terrific history and a vibrant, passionate fan base,” FSG chairman Tom Werner said in a statement, via ctvnews.ca.

“We will work diligently to continue building on the remarkable Penguins’ tradition of championships and exciting play.”

As part of Monday’s announcement, the Fenway Sports Group made clear that they plan on continuing to work with the old owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle, who will remain as part of the ownership group. Along with Lemieux retaining an ownership stake, he will also keep a leadership role with the franchise. Senior management will be kept in place as the group looks to make the transition as smooth as possible.

“We are particularly excited to welcome Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle to FSG and have the utmost respect for all they have done to build the Penguins into the perennially successful franchise we know today.

“We look forward to working with Mario, Ron and the entire Penguins front office team.”

Lemieux and Burkle purchased the Penguins back in 1999 when they were really struggling financially. The two of them helped save the team and brought them out of bankruptcy. They have also delivered three Stanley Cups during their time as owners of the team.

“As the Penguins enter a new chapter, I will continue to be as active and engaged with the team as I always have been and look forward to continuing to build on our success with our incoming partners at FSG,” Lemieux said in a statement.

“They have an organizational philosophy that mirrors the approach that worked so well for Ron and me over the past 22 years.”

Burkle added: “Mario and I came in together, and we are excited to become a part of the new ownership group. The Pittsburgh Penguins will be in good hands with FSG, and Mario and I are here to support them, committed as much as we’ve always been to the success of the franchise.”

The sale still needs to be approved by the NHL, but it is hard to see it being rejected at this point. The Fenway Sports Group are very credible and will help inject renewed enthusiasm into the Penguins organization.

Details of the deal have still not been disclosed, but the average franchise value of an NHL team is currently $930 million and the Penguins were listed as the 15th most valuable franchise in the NHL, which has a total of 32 teams.