Reading, PA – The Berks County Convention Center Authority (BCCCA) has announced that it has agreed to purchase the assets of the Reading Royals from team owner Jack Gulati.
The purchase is contingent upon the approval by the ECHL’s Board of Governors. The acquisition of assets will take place on or before June 30, 2019 and ensures the Royals will remain in Reading and play at the Santander Arena.
The Royals are the ECHL’s affiliate of the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers and the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
“The Royals organization is a vital economic component to the interests of Reading, Berks County and our arena,” said Michael J. Gombar, Jr., Vice Chairman of the BCCCA. “Thus, it is imperative that BCCCA takes this step as a sign of its commitment to maintaining a long-term relationship with this team and the community. Our goals will be to build upon the existing loyal fan base, to develop new relationships to ensure the stability of the Reading Royals organization for years to come and, of course, to bring the Kelly Cup back to Reading.”
The BCCCA previously co-owned the Royals with SMG from 2011-14. The team won the ECHL’s Kelly Cup in 2013.
“My sole purpose in purchasing the team in 2014 was to keep it in Reading,” said Mr. Gulati. “With this sale, it completes my purpose and my dream to keep the hockey team in Reading. I would like to thank the entire Reading Royals fan base for their passion and support of the team during my time as owner. I know the team will be able to continue to function and operate as a strong part of Berks County at Santander Arena. I would also like to thank the Berks County Convention Center Authority for their strong commitment to keep the Royals in Reading.”
ECHL Commissioner Ryan Crelin: “The ECHL is pleased to see that the Royals will continue to play hockey in Reading and want to wish Royals fans the best.”
Shawn Hackman, Royals President and General Manager: “BCCCA will continue to enhance the experience of fans attending games at Santander Arena. All Royals fans should be excited about this relationship and the future of the team in Reading. We would like to thank BCCCA and Mr. Gulati for their hard work to keep the Royals at Santander Arena.”
“We are excited about BCCCA’s acquisition of the assets of the Reading Royals professional hockey team and we believe with the BCCCA’s experience and resources behind us, we can look forward to expanding our business and creating an exceptional experience for our fans,” said John Long, Chief Financial Officer for the Reading Royals. “The acquisition will allow the Reading Royals to remain in Reading and continue to build upon their legacy both on the ice and in the community.”
The BCCCA, with SMG as the management company, oversees the operation of Santander Arena and the Santander Arena Performing Arts Center in Reading. Combined the two buildings have seen over 7.6 million fans enjoy shows, sporting events, conventions and public gatherings since 2001. Last year over 435,000 people attended events between the two venues, with 20% of those crowds attending Reading Royals games.