Fenway Sports Group, Liverpool’s owners, have agreed a deal to purchase NHL franchise Pittsburgh Penguins as they expand their portfolio.
Liverpool’s owners Fenway Sports Group have purchased the Pittsburgh Penguins as they expand their portfolio by moving into the National Hockey League.
The group acquired the Boston Red Sox in 2002 and they have subsequently become one of the most valuable baseball teams in the world. The Penguins were valued at $650million – around £488m – in December last year.
As part of the agreement, NHL Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle will remain part of the ownership group and will work with FSG. Lemieux will continue his role leading hockey operations for the franchise, who are currently fourth in the Metropolitan Division.
In addition, continuity of leadership will be maintained among the club’s senior management team.
FSG Chairman Tom Werner said, “The Pittsburgh Penguins are a premier National Hockey League franchise with a very strong organization, a terrific history and a vibrant, passionate fan base. We will work diligently to continue building on the remarkable Penguins’ tradition of championships and exciting play.
“We are particularly excited to welcome Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle to FSG and have the utmost respect for all they have done to build the Penguins into the perennially successful franchise we know today. We look forward to working with Mario, Ron and the entire Penguins front office team.”
It is another addition to the growing portfolio of FSG, as the Red Sox are valued at £2.5billion and are joined by half of NASCAR team Roush Fenway Racing and Liverpool.
Lemieux and Burkle bought the Penguins in 1999 while Lemieux was a player for the team, and the two enjoyed a 22-year partnership that delivered three Stanley Cup wins and the building of PPG Paints Arena, a multi-purpose venue which opened in 2010.
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Throughout their tenure, the Penguins have consistently led the NHL in local TV ratings, social media, sponsorships, and both community and youth hockey investments while selling out more than 600 straight games.
“As the Penguins enter a new chapter, I will continue to be as active and engaged with the team as I always have been and look forward to continuing to build on our success with our incoming partners at FSG,” Lemieux said.
“They have an organisational philosophy that mirrors the approach that worked so well for Ron and me over the past 22 years.”