Peter Karmanos Posts For Sale Sign for the Hurricanes

In an interview with TSN Canada, Peter Karmanos posted a for-sale sign for the Hurricanes.  He expressed an interest in acquiring a partner who would buy an interest in the ‘Canes, but who would also “pay dearly for it.”  Gee, Peter.  Can we get you anything else?  Karmanos sounds like a man who truly believes that he has something of value, wants to divest himself of it over time, while being very well compensated to boot.  It’s not personal, right?  It’s just business.

Peter Karmanos is an astute businessman.  Co-founder and builder of Compuware, a highly successful software company, Karmanos has parlayed his business success in a variety of hockey ventures.  Most notably, he bought the Hartford Whalers in 1994.  Former Hurricanes General Manger Jim Rutherford was a partner in the purchase.  The Whalers were a team beloved by its city and its fans, which was steeped in a rich NHL heritage.  Citing an inability to sell an adequate amount of tickets and negotiate a suitable lease, Karmanos moved the Whalers to North Carolina in 1997.  Whalers fans are still bitter.


Hurricanes fans are hoping that their fate will not result in a similar bitterness.

This morning I received a text from a local fan saying, “Dan Patrick was right.”  You may recall Patrick opining that the talk of NHL expansion would result in the ‘Canes moving to Las Vegas.  I addressed Patrick’s theory here.  Karmanos said today, “The Hurricanes are a valuable franchise despite what some of your folk in Canada say about them.”  I suppose we could take this statement, and the lease that Gale Force Holdings – parent company of the Carolina Hurricanes has with the PNC Arena which prohibits any new owner from moving the franchise until the lease is over in 2024, as a sign that the Hurricanes will be staying in Raleigh for the foreseeable future.  Ask a Whalers fan if that is something to bank on.

Forbes has valued the Carolina Hurricanes at $195 million.  Karmanos says this is way low, and cites the recent sale of the New York Islanders – valued by Forbes at $195 million – for $500 million.  Karmanos said in his interview that, “It’s been frustrating over the years, the different values people throw around for teams.”

Karmanos wants “hundreds of millions of dollars”

He would also like to eventually have a partner-successor assume control of the Hurricanes.  Is this realistic?  Raleigh, NC is a great place to live, but it is not a large hockey market.  The television deals that the Islanders have are worth far more compared to the deals the ‘Canes have in place.  While there certainly was a great local fan response to the Hurricanes winning the Stanley Cup in 2006 – some said at the time the PNC Arena was the loudest in the NHL – ticket sales have dropped and not shown any signs of picking up.  Carolina is in a 5-year playoff drought, with many prognosticators saying this will be year 6.  Karmanos may be thinking a bit too big when he says, “hundreds of millions of dollars.”  Then again, he did not get to where he is in business by thinking small.

Carolina fans how do you feel about Karmanos’ statements – his for-sale sign going up for the Hurricanes?  Do you agree with him that the team is worth hundreds of millions of dollars?  Are you concerned about the team’s future in Raleigh?  Let me hear you.

2 thoughts on “Peter Karmanos Posts For Sale Sign for the Hurricanes”

  1. Please make a correction. Pete K and Thomas Thewes purchased the Hartford Whalers. Not Jim Rutherford. And it remains the same today.

  2. Karmanos may be an astute business man, but he isn’t a good NHL owner, nor do I believe he will land anything close to $400 Million for the Canes. Ticket sales have gone down for 2 reasons: the economic collapse in 2008 and great recession, and the team has only made the playoffs ONCE (2009) since winning the Cup. Before 2006, this team was warmly accepted and taken to by fans from all over the Triangle area. Where else could you find UNC, NC State, and Duke fans filling the building in Raleigh to pull for the same team? Their first few seasons, the Canes were a playoff contender and often a playoffs participant. Remember, they went to the Cup Finals in 2002 and 2006, and that building WAS the LOUDEST in the NHL during both playoff runs. However, Karmanos has not done what it takes to rebuild the team into a contender, and missing the playoffs for 5 straight years has hurt attendance. Say what you will, but the economy is still shaky, at best, and in a non-traditional hockey market, and a small market at that, it’s very difficult to persuade fans to spend big money on NHL tickets for a bad product offering. Even when Karmanos did open his checkbook and allowed JR to try and improve the team, he TOTALLY botched it, and this team is now saddled with most of its payroll and cap space on just a few players, none of whom are super star calibre, and some of whom seem washed up.

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