'If Adelphia defaults and goes into bankruptcy and the Sabres are pledged against collateral for the 150 million dollar loan, then it's a real possibility the Sabres could be sold or be taken over. If there is a bankruptcy and local investors do not step in, the Sabres could be skating in another city.'
'"There's a group of people that have the financial resources and the desire to become involved in the team if there's an opportunity," Giambra said. That, combined with assurances he received from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to keep the team in Buffalo, left Giambra optimistic about the team's future in the city with or without the Rigas family as owners.'
'Speculation about a local ownership group for the National Hockey League team centers on a small group of local business executives, including Mark E. Hamister and Robert E. Rich Jr. Rich was part of the previous Sabres ownership group, and Hamister owns the Buffalo Destroyers Arena League football team that plays in HSBC Arena.'
'Adelphia Communications' financial problems will not prevent Buffalo Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier from signing five prospects before Saturday, the deadline for teams to reach agreements with certain picks from the 2000 NHL entry draft.'
'But you don't have to be a Wharton School grad to suspect that it was Rigas' Ivy-educated children, products of the financially fast-paced 1980s, who nudged the old man to overextend.'
'According to an Adelphia Communications Corp. 10-Q filing, submitted on Sept. 30, 2000, the cable company appeared to provide $76.5 million to help purchase the team from Niagara Frontier Hockey L.P. The notes are due to be paid back in quarterly installments through July 2010.'
'But until Rigas decides to sell and a new owner arrives with some money to spend, the team will exist in an even worse version of its current cash-strapped state. The Sabres lost about $10million this past season, season ticket renewals are believed to be proceeding poorly and the team again will not be a major player in the free agent market this summer.'
'Thus, the best prospects for the Sabres' long-term future in Buffalo may lie with Kailbourne's ability to keep a slimmed-down Adelphia alive and thriving. And that still remains a fairly long shot.'
'Adelphia Communications paid $13 million to build a golf course on land owned by John Rigas, backed $150 million in debts for his Buffalo Sabres and repaid $241 million in loans used to buy stock for members of his family, the company said in a disclosure statement Friday.'
'Even before Adelphia's money woes there was concern within Empire that Timothy Rigas, the former chief financial officer for Adelphia, might consider dropping the network and running the Sabres games on a local Adelphia channel. According to the theory, the elimination of Empire salaries would save millions without the Sabres losing an outlet for the games.'
'The Sabres are staying in Buffalo next season despite cash-flow disruptions related to problems at Adelphia Communications, team officials said.'
'One day after reliquishing control of their cable empire, the Rigas family is putting the finishing touches on a deal that will transfer ownership and control of the Buffalo Sabres to Adelphia.'
'…a new owner or owners would inherit more immediate problems. Like, all those luxury boxes that would suddenly be empty because of a lack of Adelphia connections. Some insiders say as much as 40 percent of the sold out suites might need to be replaced, and companies with programming tie-ins to Adelphia pull out as their contracts expire.'
'News of the Sabres' returning for their 33rd season – while a foregone conclusion to many people inside and outside the organization – no doubt will ease the concerns of those who wondered whether the team would survive Adelphia's current financial problems. It also may help the team, which reportedly has had a very weak renewal rate of season tickets for next season, because fans have felt uncertain about exactly where their dollars would be going.'
'In any event, the Rigas family will no longer control the fortunes of the NHL team and Adelphia may well sell it to raise capital to aid the company in its fight to avoid bankruptcy and to satisfy part of outstanding debts.'