Fenway Sports Group Skates into Pittsburgh as a New Ownership Group of the Penguins

Opinion posted December 2, 2021 in CommRadio, Sports by Emma Holtz

PITTSBURGH - The Fenway Sports Group inked an ownership agreement with the Penguins on Nov. 29, but the repercussions of the acquisition are multi-faceted.

Fenway Sports Group (FSG), a media, marketing, sports and real estate company added the NHL hockey team to its family of organizations including Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox, the Premier League’s prestigious Liverpool Football Club and Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing.

The Group has an extended resume of franchises finding success under its tenure. The Red Sox collected four World Series Championships while the Liverpool Football Club climbed it’s way back into national headlines with a recent FIFA Club World Cup in 2019 and a European Cup victory during the 2018-19 season.

While the agreement lies in the hands of the NHL Board of Governors, former Penguins center and renowned star Mario Lemieux and businessman Ron Burkle rescued the Penguins on the verge of bankruptcy in 1999 and will remain part of the ownership in close consultation with FSG.

It is hard to find a Pittsburgh native or Penguins fan not aware of the close relationship that Lemieux and Burkle have with a passionate hockey town. Lemieux’s storied career with the team he owns certainly adds to his connection with the Penguins and its fanbase.

With three Stanley Cup Championships and 15 consecutive playoff appearances, according to CBC Sports,  under Lemieux and Burkle, the franchise is lucrative and attracted the FSG conglomerate.

A major part of the deal is that no management structure will be altered immediately in the midst of the 2021 regular season. A transition in power mid-season could jostle team and front office dynamics.

With the majority of controlling interest going to FSG, an emphasis should be placed on maintaining the team’s core values as Pittsburgh’s hometown team and not another notch in the sports franchise industry.

According to its website, FSG is committed to taking the organizations it acquires to the next level in prestige and success.

The deal is expected to be finalized by the end of the year. Lemieux and Burkle still in the ownership equation brings experience and rapport with a franchise and fanbase hungry for another title with a star-studded roster.

Emma Holtz is a second-year majoring in public relations. To contact her, email exh5337@psu.edu