SBD/Issue 96/Franchises

Comcast-Spectacor Sells AHL Phantoms To Brooks Group

Comcast-Spectacor has reached an agreement to sell the AHL Philadelphia Phantoms to Pittsburgh-based Brooks Group. Comcast-Spectacor will continue to operate the Phantoms until the conclusion of the '08-09 season, the team's last at the Wachovia Spectrum. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Brooks Group owns the ECHL Wheeling Nailers and has ownership interests in the Pirates, Penguins, Double-A Eastern League Altoona Curve, Single-A New York-Penn League State College Spikes and Single-A Carolina League Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Comcast-Spectacor). Brooks Group's Jim and Rob Brooks in August confirmed that "their preference is to have an arena built in Allentown to be the new home of the Phantoms as well as community entertainment events" (Allentown MORNING CALL, 2/5). In Pennsylvania, Anthony Sanfilippo reports a deal is in place for Comcast-Spectacor's Global Spectrum to "manage a new facility" for Brooks Group, "guaranteeing at least 170 year-round jobs in the new building, as well as several events aside from minor league hockey." A source said that an announcement "will come one week from today in Allentown," and is "expected to lay out the details of a public-private partnership between" Brooks Group, Lehigh County and the state of Pennsylvania (DELAWARE COUNTY TIMES, 2/5).

SKATING AWAY: Comcast-Spectacor President & COO Peter Luukko said of the sale, "Emotionally, it's disappointing, but we have to make good, viable business decisions. Every business venture has a viable lifespan and (the team) was becoming less and less viable, and over the next 10 years it was going to require millions of dollars to operate." In Philadelphia, Ed Moran notes the move was "prompted by the planned development of the Wachovia Center area into a shopping and entertainment complex." Luukko said that the team "needed a new home and the immediate Philadelphia, Trenton or Atlantic City area just wouldn't work" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 2/5). 

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