The Pittsburgh Steelers will soon be owned by only two Rooneys, and among those selling their interest is Yonkers Raceway president Timothy J. Rooney, the National Football League announced on Wednesday. Tim Rooney's sale of his 16 percent interest was prompted by the NFL's requirement that the football team be separated from the Rooney family's gambling businesses, which also includes the Palm Beach Kennel Club in Florida.
By a vote of 31-0, the owners approved a proposal that consolidates ownership of the Steelers in the hands of Dan Rooney and Art II, his oldest son, while separating ownership of the family's gambling interests from the football team.
According to reports, the Steelers will be borrowing about $250 million as Dan and Art II buy out all or part of the shares held by the four younger sons of franchise patriarch Art Rooney. The Rooney family agreement calls for a closing to take place before March 31, 2009. The debt amount exceeds NFL limits and required a waiver from commissioner Roger Goodell.
Each of the five Rooney brothers inherited a 16 percent stake in the Steelers when their father, who founded the franchise in 1933 for $2,500, died in 1988. The remaining 20 percent is owned by the McGinley family.
Brothers Timothy and Patrick Rooney will each sell their 16 percent ownership in the Steelers while staying in control of Empire City Gaming at Yonkers Raceway and the Palm Beach Kennel Club. Art Jr. and John Rooney will sell parts of their stakes in the Steelers. After the sale price was set at $800 million a month ago, a 16 percent share works out to $128 million.
Click here to read about the sale on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette news site.