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.
Hearing that Peter Karmanos wants to sell ‘the franchise’ at $420 million, the first question from CT would be “Is there a lease with that?”
— Hartford Whalers (@WhalerWatch) September 22, 2014
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.