Does Golisano’s Move Spell the Relocation of the Buffalo Sabres?


Buffalo Sabres owner Tom Golisano announced during his speech at the 2009 Financial Executive of the Year Awards luncheon on May 14 that he would move to Florida due to rising NY state taxes.

Golisano said the move is not expected to affect his ownership of the Buffalo Sabres, which probably means he’ll maintain the same role he had this season: Let co-owner Larry Quinn do everything, which is not necessarily great news for a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in two seasons.

The self-made millionaire and founder of Paychex, has made a $77m profit on the $92m he paid for the team in 2002. However, Golisano’s involvement has decreased immensely in the past two years.

The value of the team has slowed to four percent growth from previous year, as opposed to a 45 percent increase over two years prior to ’06. The team was 17th in ’06, and now 21st in franchise value.

Needless to say, this move to Florida ensures Golisano will have less and less involvement, allowing Quinn to be the primary decision maker.

You can’t blame the guy for moving as Golisano says he’ll save more than $13,000 per day in taxes by moving to Florida.

That’s a staggering five million per year!

Obviously, New York has been brutally disastrous to Mr. Golisano, given that his income is such that he has to pay so much per day in taxes.

The question now becomes: How can Golisano run the Sabres from Florida?

Maybe with saving all that money he can bring some better talent to the Sabres, like some better defensemen.

Does this mean Sabres fans should be concerned about a possible relocation?

Could Golisano’s move to Florida be just a precursor for the selling of the team?

There have already been others interested in the team as Billionaire, and twice former NHL franchise owner, Jim Balsillie contacted the owner of the Buffalo Sabres about buying them earlier in the ‘08-‘09 season. Balsillie phoned Sabres owner Tom Golisano in December of ’08, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Still Golisano seems adamant and assures that the Sabres will not be moving anytime soon.

The city loves the team, and it’s a wonder that a team in a region in the top third of the NHL’s market is in the bottom third for franchise value.

Maybe fans are starting to get fed up that Buffalo has becoming a team that develops stars, only to trade them away to the competition (Drury – Rangers, Briere – Flyers, Campbell – Sharks).

Let’s hope these greedy NY government officials don’t send away fans as well with their taxing.

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