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NHL approves Panthers' sale

The SportsXchange

The National Hockey League's Board of Governors approved the sale of the Florida Panthers to Vincent Viola and Doug Cifu, the league announced Friday.

Multiple media outlets reported Thursday that Sunrise Sports & Entertainment sold the team for between $240 million and $250 million, and includes operation of BB&T Center.

It does not include 90 acres of land surrounding the arena owned by SS&E, according to Forbes. The Panthers' lease with the BB&T Center runs through 2028.

A group headed by general partner Cliff Viner paid $200 million for the Panthers in 2009. Before that, Viner was a minority owner for seven years.

The team was scheduled to have a press conference Friday to announce the sale.

Wayne Huizenga, who bought the expansion team for $50 million in 1992, is still a minority investor. It is not clear if he will continue to own part of the team.

The Panthers are the only major-sport team that uses the arena and competes with the Miami Heat and AmericanAirlines Arena for events, sponsors and customers. The Panthers have been looking to partner with Boyd Gaming to build a casino near the arena.

The Panthers made the playoffs only once in the past five seasons and are losing money. Forbes estimated in November that the team lost $12 million in the 2011-12 season and was worth $170 million.
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