The fourth part of the “Who Owns Who? Zoom on NHL owners and their portfolios” series is here. Last time, I focused on the least valuable team in the league, Coyotes. This time, I will zoom in on the team with one of the biggest fanbases, the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Pittsburgh Penguins, founded in 1967, are valued at $990 million, making them the 15th most valuable organization in the NHL. The team’s value had increased by 10% from the previous year when it was valued at $900 million, although their rank has decreased from 10th place.
The team is owned by Fenway Sports Group, Ronald Burkle, and Mario Lemieux, with a net worth of $8 billion, $3.2 billion, and $210 million, respectively. Fenway Sports Group purchased the controlling stake in 2021 for $900 million.
Contrary to popular belief, the most recent owners of the team are not the owners of the Kraken. The Penguins’ majority owner changed hands at the end of 2021, with FSG taking over from Lemieux and Burkle. The pair previously saved the team from bankruptcy in 1999 when they purchased it for $107 million.
Burkle was the principal investor in the Sacramento Republic FC, a team that played in the USL Championship and sought membership in the MLS. In February 2021, Burkle withdrew from the Sacramento Republic FC and the National Women’s Soccer League expansion team in Sacramento, which he had hoped to bring to the city. However, he now owns an NWSL expansion team, the San Diego Wave FC, which finished third in their inaugural season. They finished in the semi-finals. They were eliminated by the eventual winner of the playoffs, Portland Thorns FC. The leader and captain of the Wave is Alex Morgan.
Burkle is known for his significant investments and owns Jesse Owens’ (African American athlete starting at Berlin Olympics despite the then regime led by Adolf Hitler) gold medal from the 1936 Berlin Olympics and William Faulkner’s Nobel Prize. In 2020, he purchased the Neverland Ranch, Michael Jackson’s former residence, for $22 million.
As majority owners, Burkle and Lemieux have led the Penguins to win three Stanley Cups.
Fenway Sports Group has an exciting portfolio. There are many engaging shareholders of FSG, including LeBron James. In addition to the Penguins, FSG also owns the Boston Red Sox with their home stadium (Fenway Park), Liverpool F.C. along with Anfield, a 50% stake in a NASCAR team, Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing, as well as the Red Sox farm teams: Salem Red Sox and Worcester Red Sox (10% stake).