According to a former NHL prospective stakeholder/owner:
“The NHL is not sure that Charles Wang even wants to sell.”
The Red Herring VS The Mountain?
Right now it is a perfect storm after a NY Islanders dismal season for fans to hear what they want to hear. The fan frustration and negativity is at an all-time high, along with a hated rival in the Stanley Finals.
Most fans will point to Garth Snow’s mistakes this season and last summer for the current issues. They’d all be right. However, almost all of them point to owner Charles Wang as the overall culprit of a great many gaffes over the years from Milbury’s elongated path of destruction, Rick DiPietro’s mind-numbingly long contract, and currently leaving Garth and the status quo in power despite this seasons step back.
There is an overall sense of a grass is greener, mentality. This, with the advent of Brooklyn after next season, many Islanders fans seem to want a clean slate. They wish to hold a massive hose to wash off the dirt, grime and drama over the last 20 years.
In the middle of all this dissatisfaction is a leaky faucet of information that is getting amplified thanks to this atmosphere. Philadelphia lawyer Andrew Barroway represents a group that is seeking at least a stake in the NY Islanders. It is believed that most of the cacophony of rumors is coming out of his group.
Beyond this fact, everything gets murky. This is where reality warps and either becomes a WWE promo about how Garth Snow will be fired, how all the things will suddenly change for the better, and all is solved.
Some message boards and social media outlets, usually a necessary bastion for coping fans over the trials and travails of the Isles hockey seasons, have become shining examples of vocal minorities using it for self-affirmation and biased processing of any and all information to fit personal narratives.
Besides these emotional runaway trains… Someone has been pumping Barroway rhetoric onto the boards for weeks now. As a by-product, any shred of information is leapt on, expanded on, and used to push the sentiment/desires … And thanks to the volatile atmosphere… Have become narratives themselves, with or without reality following it.
Thanks to this public relations coup to core fans: a large contingent believes a deal is done with Barroway, and is only waiting to be announced after the Cup Finals.
It would surprise me greatly. As I have said before and now again, if there is any deal with Barroway, it is for a minority stake that will create no change for Garth Snow and Charles plans. In talking to those in NHL, Isles and independent of both, the belief is NO deal is in place at all. That whatever Barroway’s offer is stuck in limbo waiting for Charles to act upon. If he acts at all.
Still fascinating is another mystery person who is also in the mix who has more fiscal recourse than Barroway. Despite all the Barroway cheerleading, not one peep has come from this other potential owner despite that it seems they have met with all necessary principals.
Then there is the contradictory elements to the Barroway narrative coming out which I shared on twitter:
- One came from someone approached by Barroway’s group in the scramble to accrue funds that cited the business plan ALSO called for a cap floor budget at least for the near future. This goes against the green grass/all-is-solved narrative. So this tidbit seems to have caused a bit of an apoplexy or at least confusion because so many think change equals improvement automatically.
- The other is that Barroway wasn’t at the full amount, and needed to add more to reach the amount that Charles was looking for, or to have as many climb aboard to create more stake.
Meanwhile, other writers who once said Charles Wang is trying to unload the team quickly have back pedaled and dialed down grandiose statements very quickly. This is helped by statements by the NHL who say Charles is considering, unsure if he is selling, and other statements that really hiccup this runaway train narrative.
So Instead of speaking with Isles and the NHL, who are both clamped down on any items right now in any official capacity… I reached out to speak to an NHL prospective stakeholder for their independent take on the NY Islanders situation, possible sale, atmosphere, and current Barroway narrative.
The following is their objective view of the Islanders situation:
- In their opinion: The NY Islanders is NOT considered a successful franchise. Furthermore, they are not an “attractive” buy. This is despite the fact Brooklyn is around the corner. So those who are so convinced the Isles are selling like hot cakes, well, there is some cold water on that.
- Furthermore: There are economic realities and lack of upside to owning the team. For example, Brooklyn’s deal, despite the influx of guaranteed cash to can help break even, also has limited revenue streams due to the Barclays deal and group setup. No owner will be able to share in those revenues. Those are severe limitations that affect any potential buyer coming in to put up a sum.
- The NY Islanders crazy TV deal will end. What happens then? This is a BIG question mark to them.
- According to their own conversation with the NHL, the NHL is not sure that Charles Wang even wants to sell.
- Charles Wang has “a highly-inflated valuation”.
- They personally are hard-pressed to believe that Barroway has enough money to make a majority stake buy. It is far more likely, in their opinion, that it is more about a small stake like a 10% equity. This allows Barroway to promote and get a minority stake without having to “write the big check”.
So, what does all this mean? Well, it might mean that the writers following this story are just out of synch with the real story here… Which has been given to a group of jaded and frustrated message boarders. Seems farfetched, but IF TRUE, well, good for them to get this amazing gem and pipeline… and let us hope that it is everything it purports to be.
Well, not so fast.
About the Author: B.D. Gallof is a published writer and hockey blogger. He writes about Hockey, NY Islanders & the NY Islanders venue situation for CBS New York. BD has been written up in Sports Illustrated, TSN.ca, the NY Times Slapshots blog, Yahoo's Sports and SportsBusiness Journal. He has been a featured blogger for The Huffington Post, as well as owner, lead writer, and managing editor at HockeyIndependent.com.