PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The same group that owns the Boston Red Sox is one step closer to acquiring the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Fenway Sports Group and Pittsburgh Penguins boards both unanimously approved the purchase of the franchise, a source close to the team confirmed to KDKA.READ MORE: Pittsburgh Penguins In 'Active' Negotiations To Be Acquired By Fenway Sports Group
The NHL needs to approve the deal before it’s final.
A source close to the Penguins confirms to @KDKA the Fenway Sports Group board has approved the purchase of the hockey team. The Penguin board approved Tuesday. Sale needs league approval. Per source: "Still work to be done" pic.twitter.com/DX7Ek2Sgb4
— Andy Sheehan (@AndySheehankdka) November 19, 2021
With a sale price reportedly topping $900 million, Mario Lemieux and billionaire investor Ron Burkle stand to make a bundle off their $107 million investment. Since buying the team out of bankruptcy, the Lemieux Group has thrived with three Stanley Cups, a new arena and initial development of the adjoining Civic Arena site.
If the deal goes through, Lemieux would stay in a management role but with a reduced ownership stake, a source told KDKA. CEO David Morehouse, COO Kevin Acklin, GM Ron Hextall and Coach Mike Sullivan also are expected to stay.
Under the group headed by John Henry, the Penguins’ progress is expected to continue. FSG is known for its deep pockets and willingness to spend, according to Dan Roche, a sportscaster at our Boston affiliate WBZ.READ MORE: Who Is Fenway Sports Group?
“The one thing is they’re not cheap. That’s the one thing you should know is they’re not cheap. They will spend money on the fans, the product and the area around the arena. They’re in the business of making money but they’ll spend money to make money,” Roche said.
In addition to having one of the highest payrolls in baseball, Henry has lavished millions renovating Fenway Park and developing the surrounding area as a center for Boston nightlife.
Roche would expect him to do the same for the adjoining Civic Arena site next to PPG Paints Arena. The development rights to the site are part of the deal.
“They’ll build around that to make some money. They’ll build restaurants, hotels. That’s kind of been the model for what these owners do. So it wouldn’t surprise me to see them do any and all of that,” Roche said.
Henry and FSG approached the Penguins about selling, not vice versa. They’re impressed with the fan base and the operations.MORE NEWS: Penguins Fans Shouldn’t Worry About Losing Big Players Right Away If Sale Goes Through, Duquesne Professor Says
FSG also owns Liverpool FC in the English Premier League, as well as a portion of Roush Racing in NASCAR circles. The FSG championship pedigree includes four World Series titles since it bought the Boston Red Sox 20 years ago, as well as a Champions League crown in 2019 with Liverpool, which then won the Premier League the following year.