Phoenix Coyotes howling both on and off the ice
May 11, 2012
The Phoenix Coyotes are not only in the final four in the Stanley Cup derby, they appear poised to be bought from the NHL by an ownership group led by former San Jose Sharks CEO Greg Jamison.
The proposed Jamison purchase and sale has been in the works for months but was only formally acknowledged by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in a hastily-convened media availability Monday night at Jobing.com Arena. Bettman and Jamison spoke just a couple of hours before the Coyotes closed out their western conference semifinal by eliminating the Nashville Predators.
“Basically the status of things is we have an understanding with Mr. Jamison that we are going to proceed with him and his group to reach a formal agreement with the purchase and sale of the Coyotes,” said Bettman Monday.
A wild card in the proposed sale is the requisite lease agreement with the City of Glendale, one that apparently includes an arena management contract valued at $15 million per year or about $300 million over 20 years.
“Whether that creates an obstacle with the Goldwater Institute in the same way a different form of public subsidies were seen as the Achilles’ heel of a previous deal with Chicago businessman Matt Hulsizer remains to be seen,” said sport business commentator Tom Mayenknecht, host of The Sport Market on TSN Radio 1050 and TEAM 1040. “Yet no one can deny that public monies are an important part of the deal and that’s too bad, given how much taxpayer money has already been factored into this over the past three years.”
The NHL is seeking $170 million on the sale to cover its own purchase cost in 2009 ($140 million) and its share of losses not covered by Glendale subsidies the past three seasons.
Mayenknecht remains skeptical on the long-term prospects for the Coyotes in Glendale but admits the NHL is doing everything in its power to transact the franchise and keep it in Arizona.
“There will be a lot more to this story in the coming weeks and months, if not years, but the one sure outcome of this, unless the deal completely collapses in the next couple of weeks, is that Quebec City’s hopes of acquiring the Coyotes in a relocation are on hold,” said Mayenknecht. “I’ve said the past few months that the only two viable options were the NHL keeping the Coyotes in Phoenix another year or relocating them to Quebec City. That second option is gone because of the timelines involved.”
For more, go to Cam Cole of The Vancouver Sun: