St. Pete’s New Lessees
Palace Sports & Entertainment has exited all things hockey in Tampa, Fla., and the St. Pete Times Forum will soon be leased to the new owners of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
PS&E, led by Detroit Pistons owner Bill Davidson, bought the floundering hockey team in 1999 and is credited with bringing it to prominence, including a Stanley Cup championship in 2004 and playoff appearances the last four seasons.
However, Davidson could not make the team profitable (except for the championship season) and sold the team to a group led by former Florida Panthers coach Doug MacLean.
The sale includes the franchise’s lease agreement with Hillsborough County, which owns the Forum and about 5.5 acres of adjacent real estate.
Other team owners include Coral Springs real estate developer Jeff Sherrin and TV and movie producer Oren Koules – the wallet behind the "Saw" movies and CBS sitcom "Two and a Half Men." The three owners plan to move to Tampa and vowed to keep the team in the city. Six or seven more owners are said to be part of the group.
The purchase price was not disclosed, but the Tampa Tribune speculated the price tag was more than $200 million, considering the Nashville Predators recently sold for $193 million.