LA Kings: Should the Owners Have Sold the Team Before NHL the Lockout?

Steve SilvermanFeatured ColumnistDecember 13, 2012

Scott Parse #21 of the Los Angeles Kings celebrates with the Stanley Cup following a Game Six victory over the New Jersey Devils during the 2012 Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center on June 11, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz is the man behind the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) that owns the Los Angeles Kings.

Anschutz reportedly wants to sell AEG and divest himself of the Stanley Cup champions and the Los Angeles Staples Center that is the home to the Kings and the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers (source: Newsday).

The Kings were recently valued at $276 million by Forbes Magazine in late November.

Timing is everything in life and perhaps Aschutz thought that his investment would be worth a lot more after the Kings won the Stanley Cup in June by beating the Devils in six games.

However, the NHL lockout is in its fourth month and it threatens the 2012-13 season. The NHL has not yet announced a "drop-dead" date before it will cancel the season, but it is a topic that commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly have surely broached with owners.

That's not the kind of thing you want to hear about when you want to sell your Stanley Cup champion hockey franchise.

But, in some ways, this lockout could be the best thing for AEG if it wants to maximize its sale price.

It will certainly take longer to sell the team, but once the NHL and the NHLPA come to an agreement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), the NHL may have something it has not had for a long time: stability.

In its latest package, the NHL is asking the NHLPA to sign a CBA that runs for 10 years (source:

If that's what the NHLPA finally accepts, it could make the team much more attractive than it is at the moment.

A new CBA also appears to be something that would be much more favorable to the NHL owners than the previous contract. In that deal, NHL players received 57 percent of Hockey Related Revenues (HRR). In the new deal, both sides have already agreed that players will receive 50 percent of HRR (source: New York Daily News)

That will give the new owner a much more favorable environment to conduct business and run the team.

So, AEG will almost certainly have to wait longer for a new deal so it can sell the team. But once a new CBA is signed and the lockout is over, Anschutz may just have a line of suitors who want to buy his championship franchise.