SBD/June 5, 2012/Franchises

Devils Owe Nearly $80M On Prudential Center, Would Be In Default Without Loan Extension

Devils owe almost $80M on Prudential Center, despite extension from lenders
The Devils "have not paid" nearly $80M owed to the club's banks that was used to build Prudential Center, according to Richard Sandomir of the N.Y. TIMES. The Devils have lost as much as $20M a season during Chair & Managing Partner Jeff Vanderbeek’s tenure, "but that should be whittled this year by 10 playoff sellouts and additional sponsorship money." A source said that the team’s season-ticket renewal is "95 percent, up from 84 percent last season." However, the team and Prudential Center would be in default of $77M in debt "if not for deadline extensions by their lenders." Vanderbeek has also not been able to name the "magic number to persuade the minority owners, Raymond Chambers and Mike Gilfillan, to sell their shares." The NHL "gave the team a financial lift earlier this year by advancing it millions of dollars in future national revenue from television and other sources." The advance from the league means that "down the line, the Devils will simply get less" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/5). Vanderbeek said, "We're involved with very constructive conversations with the banks and equity partners, and that's really all I'm going to say about it while the Stanley Cup's going on." Vanderbeek on Friday "reiterated that he was dedicated to sticking in Newark, noting what he perceives as progress in the area surrounding the arena and the additional season ticket sales, though the team was still just" 24th in attendance in '11-12, up one spot from '10-11 (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 6/2). CNBC’s Darren Rovell said the Devils are the “one team whose owner needs a title more than its fans” (“CNBC Sports Biz: Game On!,” NBC Sports Network, 6/1).
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