BUFFALO NEWS HAS SABRES FACING "A HOST OF SERIOUS PROBLEMS"
When Adelphia Chair John Rigas becomes owner of the
Sabres, he will be "taking over a franchise facing a host of
serious problems," according to Robinson & Warner of the
BUFFALO NEWS. Because the Sabres have lost $15M during each
of the last three years, the deal "requires" Rigas to pay
"only" $5M cash to the existing owners. Rigas "also has
pledged to pay another" $10.5M, plus interest, over the
"next few years." Robinson & Warner wrote that despite the
opening of Marine Midland Arena, the team has lost about
$46M in the last three years "largely because of the
franchise's ballooning debt load" that stands at "nearly"
$81M. Another $6M was lost "in the first four months" of
the current FY. The team's season-ticket base "shrank" by
1,600 this season to 8,634, almost 16% less than last year.
But the Sabres purchase "gives Rigas a valuable source of
programming for Adelphia's Empire Sports Network," which
already pays the team "a minimum" of $1.6M per season to air
70 games. A source said that the deal "also gives Rigas and
Adelphia the chance to use some of the Sabres' losses to
offset other income and reduce taxes" (BUFFALO NEWS, 3/26).