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Lightning Round: Jeff Vinik sells minority share of Tampa Bay Lightning

The name of the buyer was officially released on Tuesday

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2021 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images

Roughly a month ago, The Tampa Bay Times reported that Jeff Vinik was in the works to sell a minority share of Vinik Sports Group, the company that owns the Tampa Bay Lightning among other interests. On Tuesday, it was officially announced that the buyer was Arctos Sports Partners a self-described “private equity platform dedicated to the professional sports industry and sports franchise owners”.

Financial terms were not discussed, nor was the size of the stake that Arctos purchased. League rules prevent private equality firms from owning more than 20% of a NHL team. The Lightning are far from the first organization that Arctos has invested in as they have stakes in Fenway Sports Group, Liverpool FC, the Golden State Warriors, and Sacremento Kings among others. Back in October, it was estimated that the firm has roughly $2.9 billion in assets.

For Arctos, the Lightning most likely present an excellent investment opportunity. Despite recent financial hiccups caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, sports franchises are still increasing in value. The Pittsburgh Penguins were just sold to the aforementioned Fenway Sports Group for an estimated $900 million. While the Lightning might not be in that stratosphere just yet, they have definitely increased dramatically in value from the reported $110 million he paid for the franchise back in 2010.

Forbes recently valued the team at about $650 million (a figure Mr. Vinik considers “undervalued”), which is a nice little return on investment for the best owner in sports.

Don’t expect anything to change in regards to the Lightning. Mr. Vinik will continue as the majority owner and have final say in regards to any major decisions. Nor does he plan on selling the rest of his shares in the organization anytime soon. He still seems to really, really enjoy owning the team.

It sounds like this won’t change the organization structure with the Lightning, though, right?

Absolutely correct. This is where I’m at. I remain the majority owner. I retain full control over everything that goes on with respect to the Lightning and VSG in general. Steve Griggs is still the CEO. I still don’t interfere with trades. Nothing at all changes on a day-to-day basis or long-term.

So what’s in it for the Lightning and Mr. Vinik? Well, money of course. He was cagey about what the influx of capital will be used for, but he recommitted to the idea that the organization will continue to spend to the cap and invest in everything necessary to keep the team competitive.

In the interview with The Athletic he also mentioned the collaboration and ability to share best practices with an organization that has its fingers in the pies of several successful organizations.

Lightning / NHL News

Lightning beat Blue Jackets, 7-2 [Raw Charge]

After a rough weekend health and hockey-wise the Lightning picked up a therapeutic win as they thrashed the Blue Jackets in Columbus. The goals came early and often as they cruised to one of their few easy victories of the season. Hopefully it carries over to their next game.

Lightning strike for 7 in rout of Blue Jackets [Jackets Canon]

“Learn from it and burn the tape.” With a depleted roster, there wasn’t much hope for Jackets fans heading into this game. Unfortunately, Columbus met and exceeded those expectations.

Ross Colton enters COVID protocol [Twitter]

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Rick Peckham talks about stint with Lightning [Tampa Bay Times]

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Speaking of the Crunch:

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Oh my, my Mr. Makar

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Logistical sense? Sure, but something seems wrong about playing hockey in the summer, right?