(photo: KATHY WILLENS/AP)
As announced today by the team, the New York Islanders will have a new majority owner within the next two years. Current majority owner, Charles Wang has been with the team since 2000. In 2004, Wang bought out his business partner, Sanjay Kumar, to become the majority owner of the franchise. Over the past few years, as the Islanders have continued to underperform, many fans have called for a change within the ownership of the team.
The eventual new majority owners of the team are former co-owner of the Washington Capitals, John Ledecky, and London-based investor, Scott Malkin. The structure of the agreement between Wang and the Ledecky/Malkin group allows Charles Wang to stay as governor and majority shareholder of the team with Scott Malkin and John Ledecky transitioning to majority ownership in two years.
This deal has received many positive comments from fans of the long-time struggling New York Islanders. Charles Wang has been very loyal to the team’s fanbase, keeping them based in New York when other owners may have given up. His loyalty, however, does come with a downside, Wang has continued to retain Garth Snow as the team’s General Manager despite many questionable decisions.
One risk for Islanders fans accompanying this new ownership is the fact that the team does have the option of a buyout after 5 years at Barclays Center. Once those 5 years are up, the new owners may not be as loyal to New York as Wang was. However, this is only speculation right now, and hopefully the new owners will speak out soon and tell the fanbase what their goals are as owners.