Tuesday, May 05, 2009

He's sorry.... so, sorry....

"Plain and simple, it's ugly."-- New York Islanders chief financial officer Art McCarthy, detailing the financial picture of the Islanders for owner Charles Wang

The middle of the Stanley Cup playoffs, normally a period of time where the hockey grabs the headlines is finding off ice distractions starting to take up most of the media time (well that part of the media that even seems to care about hockey south of the border). While much has been made of the financial travails of the Phoenix Coyotes, Atlanta Thrashers and Tampa Bay Lightning, all of which make the Nashville Predators look like a blue chip franchise, there's a new alert on the radar one which should catch some attention in New York.

The New York Islanders owner Charles Wang, currently in the middle of his own battles with the Nassau County government over a potential new arena development known as the Lighthouse project, allowed the New York city newspaper Newsday to examine his books from an auditor to highlight the $208.8 million that he has spent per year to operate the Islanders.

Described as one of Long Island's wealthiest men (total monetary value apparently dropping fast if you factor in the Islanders troubles), Wang has made monthly deposits of 33.5 million dollars to keep his team in operation.

The rink project in Hampstead New York has become bogged down in bureaucratic delays that have left the apparently unintended philanthropic owner at his wits ends, making suggestions that the time may be near for his Islanders to relocate, with Kansas City apparently the leading suitor at the moment.

In addition to his monthly payments for the joy of ownership, Wang has seen the value of his team drop as the economic picture continues to decline, Forbes listed the value today of the Islanders to be 154 million dollars, the purchase back in June of 2000 was 170 million.

Along the way, Wang lost a partner who he bought out in 2004 and has since become the sole provider for the financial troubled Islanders.
The Newsday article provides a fascinating look at all that has gone wrong for the once storied Islander franchise, leaving you to wonder if the Islanders with such losses as these and a dropping asset price, will even find anyone inclined to buy the team even if they come with a road map off of Long Island.

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