Owners lost $285 million since buying team in '99

ST. LOUIS -- A representative for outgoing St. Louis Blues owners Bill and Nancy Laurie says that his clients have lost more than $285 million since buying the Blues in 1999.

Bob Caporale, chairman of Boston-based Game Plan LLC which represented the Lauries in their search for a buyer, told the St. Louis Business Journal that while the Lauries will received $150 million from the sale of the team to Dave Checketts, they will have to pay $60 million for arena bonds, $50 million for outstanding team debt and another $15 million to $25 million for losses this season.

"People don't realize the Lauries funded this team during the worst economic time in the NHL and they're really not getting the benefit out of the new CBA because they sold the team," Caporale told the St. Louis Business Journal.

Checketts' Sports Capital Partners bought the Blues and the Savvis Center for $150 million and will have no debt on either the team or the arena. However, the group borrowed $120 millin from Citigroup to help finance the acquisition and create a cash reserve of operating capital, the Business Journal reported.

Figures cited by the St. Louis Business Journal say the Blues lost nearly $48 million in the season before the lockout, thanks to low attendance and a high payroll. Attendance lagged again this year as the team missed the playoffs for the first time since 1979.