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Godfather Dan retains La Familia

By Associated Press, ESPN.com
November 15, 2008

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Steelers chairman Dan Rooney's four brothers have agreed to sell a controlling stake of the team to him and his son, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported.

Patrick and Art Rooney Jr. confirmed the deal in a story posted on the paper's Web site Friday night. They and their other two brothers -- Timothy and John -- could get a total of $750 million after debt is taken out, according to the report.

Art Rooney Jr. said the brothers hope to get the deal wrapped up before a board meeting in December. Both sides want to get a deal done by then because they are worried about possible higher taxes once the Obama administration is in office.

"It's a good deal. I'm happy for Dan. I'm happy for the rest of the family. I think young Art, Dan's son, will do a fine job," Patrick Rooney told the paper. "I think we're doing the right thing."

Art Rooney II, Dan's son, is the team president.

Each brother owns 16 percent of the team, adding up to 80 percent, with another Pittsburgh family, the McGinleys, owning 20 percent. Those shares are not being sold. The Rooneys' father, Hall of Famer Art Rooney Sr., bought the franchise in 1933 for $2,500.

Several brothers wanted to focus their business efforts on racetracks and other non-football interests. The family owns racetracks in New York and Florida and has added forms of gaming that are inconsistent with NFL gambling policy, but Dan Rooney has no interests in the racing industry.

The Rooney family has owned the team since its inception, except for a brief period in 1941 when Art Rooney Sr. sold the team to Alexis Thompson and bought into the Philadelphia Eagles. Rooney regained control of his hometown Steelers in less than a year.


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