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Suitors to own the Phoenix Coyotes won a major vote in the city of Glendale, Ariz., that will finally allow Greg Jamison's ownership group to purchase the franchise from the NHL.
The Coyotes' future in the greater Phoenix area is in jeopardy. Unless a long-term agreement can be reached, the franchise could leave for another city.
The NHL and the City of Glendale plan on extending the agreement that sees the league running Jobing.com Arena for 30 more days, as Greg Jamison attempts to purchase the Phoenix Coyotes, the Phoenix Business Journal reported on Monday.
Jamison has been trying to purchase the team from the NHL and keep the team in the Phoenix area. The NHL took over the Phoenix Coyotes after the previous owner Jerry Moyes declared bankruptcy in 2009. The latest 30-day agreement between Glendale and the NHL expired at the end of September.
The Glendale City Council approved a deal in June for a new arena, but the city is holding out and trying to get better terms on a deal. Meanwhile, Jamison has an agreement with the NHL in place, but is still seeking capital to meet the NHL's $170 million asking price for the Coyotes.
The city of Glendale has paid the NHL approximately $25 million for each of the past two seasons to run the Jobing.com Arena.
Once again, the Phoenix Coyotes appear to be close to staying in Arizona. The City of Glendale and potential owner Greg Jamison are close to reaching a renegotiated lease deal, according to a report from The Arizona Republic.
In late August, the NHL gave Jamison more time to work out a lease agreement and finalize the purchase of the team. It appears Jamison has worked out any issues with the lease, as interim Glendale City Manager Horatio Skeete said he will present the "final agreed-upon restructuring terms" to officials on Tuesday. The City Council will still have to vote to approve the deal.
This is just the latest in what has been a long up-and-down process for Jamison. He agreed to a lease agreement in June, and it was approved by city leaders, but the city council directed Skeete to renegotiate the deal two months later. Jamison has also had financing issues as he tries to securing the funds needed to purchase the team from the NHL.
If the newly-agreed upon lease gets approved, it will go into effect as soon as Jamison finalizes the purchase of the team.
Jamison is the former president and CEO of the San Jose Sharks and has pursued the purchase of the team from the NHL despite a potential looming lockout and issues with the city over lease agreements. The NHL has managed the books of the Coyotes since 2009 when the team's finances took a massive turn for the worse.
Scott Burnside's report has more on lease agreement:
Jamison had previously agreed to a deal with the City of Glendale for a 20-year lease that would see the city pay $324 million in management fees over the life of the lease. That agreement only becomes valid when Jamison closes the deal with the NHL although multiple sources said that once the sale is completed the lease agreement will kick in virtually simultaneously. There could be some minor tinkering with the lease agreement before the sale is complete but nothing major, the source said.
Jamison's fellow investors haven't been identified yet, but some are members of the Ice Edge Group, a collection of North American businessmen originally trying to purchase the Coyotes.
Stay tuned to this story steam as this is a developing situation.
Jamison negotiated a 20-year, $324 million deal with the city of Glendale this summer, but now the city is looking to rework the deal. Glendale officials approved a lease on the Jobing.com Arena with Jamison in June, but have been waiting for him to finalize his purchase of the team from the National Hockey League.
Julie Frisoni, a Glendale spokeswoman says the city will not finalize the deal until Jamison purchases the team and some amendments have been made to it.
"Since June, the city and the NHL have been saying the next step is for Mr. Jamison to purchase the team, at which time the city was ready to sign the agreement," she said. "At this time, in light of other issues, the council has asked us to look at options that are feasible in terms of the management agreement."
Concerns over a potential NHL lockout and an unsuccessful effort to get Glendale residents to vote on the deal in a November referendum have further complicated the sale, but Jamison remains optimistic that the deal will be finalized.
"There were a lot of political things that came as a part of this that had to be overcome. It took a long time to put a deal together, but now we're at the point where I'm prepared to go forward and sign the deal with the city."
Stay tuned to this story steam as this is a developing situation.
Officials in the city of Glendale say the deal is on hold until Jamison holds up his end of the agreement by purchasing the Coyotes from the NHL. They already approved the leasing of Jobing.com Arena back in June, though the city was expected to get Jamison an updated draft on the proposal on Wednesday night.
Fox 10 Phoenix reporter Jude LaCava recently caught up with Jamison, asking if all the time and effort to buy the team is worth it. Here is what Jamison had to say:
I think it's been worth the effort. I respect the city of Glendale greatly because they committed to the arena, and commited to keeping the team there....I think there is a tremendous upside there. I believe it's a great community, it's a great place for NHL hockey to do well...I really believe in the long run that it's very much worth the effort. I hope that not only can we get it done, I hope we can continue to grow what's already there, and build on that foundation and take it to the next level.
Jamison also cited numerous "political situations" to LaCava that have held up the deal. One major issue stems from the Arizona Court of Appeals ruling last week that an initiative to reverse a sales-tax increase, including next year's budgeted $17 million arena-management fee for Jamison's purchase, should appear on the November ballot.
There's also the NHL lockout to take into account, as well. Luckily the NHL extended the lease agreement to keep Gelndale's arena under league management for another month, which hopefully will give both sides time to hammer out an accord.
Potential Phoenix Coyotes buyer Greg Jamison has been given more time to complete his purchase. The NHL extended its lease agreement to manage Glendale, Ariz.'s hockey arena for another month, according to the Arizona Republic.
Jamison already has a deal in place with the city of Glendale, but he is still working to meet the NHL's asking price of about $170 million.
The cloud over the sale of the team has handcuffed front office dealings. Most notably, free agent Shane Doan has said he will wait no longer than Sept. 15, the day the current CBA expires, to find a suitor. Doan would like to stay with Phoenix, but does not want to risk finding out what the new market conditions might look like after a newly negotiated CBA.
The Phoenix Coyotes have been slow to make moves this off-season and, with a lockout looming and team ownership still in question, it doesn't appear that a flurry of activity will be taking place anytime soon, according to AZCentral.com.
Before addressing the free agency of their star and captain Shane Doan, the Coyotes have opted to wait and see if potential buyer Greg Jamison's bid to purchase the team is approved.
Now, with the collective-bargaining agreement's expiration upcoming on Sept. 15th and a lockout seeming more than likely, the Coyotes have two hurdles to cross before solving the Doan issue and becoming active players in free agency.
Phoenix GM Don Maloney has said that the CBA has made the entire league quieter than normal and stated that he "doesn't foresee a lot happening around here right now."
Of course, if Jamison's bid goes through the Coyotes could start making deals, likely starting with Doan, who has already expressed a desire to stay in Phoenix.
The National Hockey League will retain control of the Phoenix Coyotes through the month of August as they extend their agreement with the City of Glendale, Ariz., and continue to work toward a sale with prospective owner Greg Jamison.
The agreement originally expired July 1, 2012, and has been extended for 31 days once already, according to Sportsnet, and will be extended again through Aug. 31. Reports earlier in the week indicated that Jamison was $20 million short of the NHL's $170 million asking price for the Coyotes. Glendale has already agreed to a lease agreement with Jamison on the city-owned arena in which the team plays its home games, but that agreement cannot go into effect until Jamison finalizes his purchase of the club.
This all takes place against the back drop of the Shane Doan free agency situation. The veteran winger wishes to remain in Phoenix, but his agent has noted repeatedly that his patience is running thin with the Coyotes' sale saga. Doan could choose to go elsewhere if this isn't sorted out sooner than later.
Greg Jamison is still trying to purchase the Phoenix Coyotes, but as the club faces a Friday deadline from captain Shane Doan to either finalize or make notable progress in a deal, it appears confidence is waning in Jamison's ability to complete the purchase.
According to the Phoenix Business Journal, folks close to the situation in Arizona are becoming increasingly nervous about Jamison's ability to gather the funds required to purchase the team. The NHL, which has controlled the team since purchasing them out of bankruptcy in 2009, is attempting to sell the club to Jamison for somewhere around $170 million. Jamison has never publicly stated who his partners are in attempting to purchase the Coyotes.
The City of Glendale has approved a lease agreement between Jamison and Jobing.com Arena, the City-owned home of the Coyotes. The deal was challenged by several local residents, but all attempts to push the decision to the fall ballot have failed.
Jamison obviously cannot sign the agreement until he owns the team, and the longer he takes to come up with the necessary money, the worse news gets for both Doan's future in Arizona and the club's future in Arizona.
Relocation for the 2012-13 season seems impossible this late on the NHL offseason calendar, even if the NHL would rather not operate the team for a fourth-straight season in Glendale, but a newly-elected council will take office in January and there's no sign that they'll be supportive of the lease agreement if it's still unsigned by Jamison.
Doan's agent, Terry Bross, has told media in Phoenix that his client will begin looking seriously at other teams after Friday, and that signing with one of those clubs could follow soon after.
Opponents of the $324 million Phoenix Coyotes sale to a group led by Greg Jamison have apparently missed a Monday deadline to gather enough signatures to get the measure pushed to the fall ballot.
City of Glendale, Ariz., officials argue that the deadline came Monday, 30 days after they approved a lease agreement with Jamison, while the opponents of the deal argue that the deadline is July 16, 30 days after they began their campaign to gather signatures. Phoenix Business Journal and The Arizona Republic report that the city likely has election law on its side and that the deadline has indeed passed, but that a court fight could decide.
Should the referendum hit the ballot, it will drag the Coyotes sale process into the 2012-13 hockey season. It's also expected that voters would turn down the sale, pushing the NHL back to square one. Should the referendum stop in its tracks, however, the sale to Jamison could be finalized rapidly, a source of optimism for Coyotes fans.
Relocation of the team less than 100 days before the scheduled start of the season could be impossible, and should the league decide against owning and operating the team for a third-straight season, there's been speculation the Coyotes could fold completely should this referendum be approved.
A 20-year arena leasing deal that would keep the Phoenix Coyotes in Arizona could be in jeopardy thanks to a voter referendum that could put the team's future up to the voting public in November and scuttle a potential sale. But as Mike Sunnucks of the Phoenix Business Journal reports, it's unclear whether the group behind the referendum is on track to get the referendum on the ballot — or even how many signatures that would require.
A Glendale law requires citizens to get signatures from 10 percent of the voting public to get a referendum on a general election ballot. Sunnucks wrote on July 6 that Joe Cobb and Ken Jones, organizers from the Phoenix-based Goldwater Institute that is behind the referendum, were told that the 2010 turnout of 11,309 voters meant that they would need to get only 1,131 signatures, down from the 1,800 the city is holding as the correct number. But Jones told Sunnucks on Monday that the magic number may be closer to 1,600.
In any case, it's unclear how many signatures are still left to collect, and if Cobb and Jones will end up getting them in time. Summer temperatures in Glendale have made the process arduous, and the interpretation of another rule about how soon signatures must be collected after a city council measure passes — it was approved at a meeting on June 8, but may have taken several more days to be legally passed — may close the initiative's window.
The Pheonix Coyotes were in the need of a new arena deal to remain in Glendale, AZ, and it hinged on a city council vote. On Friday, the Glendale city council voted 4-2 in favor of the arena management fee that will allow the Coyotes to remain in Arizona for around another 20 years.
There are still some obstacles that remain with the deal however, as Jess Root of SB Nation Arizona points out:
It was not without its obstacles. The Goldwater Institute, which has been fighting through the entire process, lost a petition in court to keep the vote from happening, but it vows to challenge the vote, claiming that the city had a backroom deal.
"We absolutely will challenge this vote," said Carrie Ann Sitren, an attorney representing Goldwater. They claim that the city has not been been producing public records according to law.
The NHL still has the matter of officially announcing the approval of Greg Jamison as the new owner as well, since the team is currently run by the league.
City Council members in Glendale, Ariz. are set to vote on a proposed lease agreement with prospective Phoenix Coyotes owner Greg Jamison thanks to a decision in Maricopa County Court Friday morning that cleared a roadblock from watchdog group Goldwater Institute.
Goldwater had hoped to block the vote on the grounds that the City had not provided proper documentation to the public regarding the sale, a contention the City denied. The Court agreed and after a day of deliberations and public questions, the Council will vote on the proposed $325 million lease agreement Friday afternoon.
The agreement is not a deal for the team, rather an agreement between the City and prospective team owner Greg Jamison to operate the City-owned Jobing.com Arena, home of the Coyotes. According to the Arizona Republic, the 20-year lease agreement will pay Jamison's group $325 million to operate and make improvements on the arena.
It's expected the deal will pass the Council vote. Jamison has a tentative agreement with the NHL to buy the Coyotes, currently owned by the league, once a lease agreement is reached with the City.
While the Phoenix Coyotes sale to Greg Jamison is still a work in progress, and while the NHL expects the situation to play out positively for hockey fans in Arizona, no guarantees are being made about their future in the desert. Gary Bettman discussed the situation with reporters in Newark on Wednesday.
"I spoke to Greg Jamison early [Wednesday]," Bettman said. "He continues to do the two things he needs to do to secure the future of the Coyotes where they are in Arizona: One, working to conclude a set of documents with the City of Glendale on the building management situation. And he continues to put his equity together.
"The City of Glendale I believe next week is supposed to vote on the management agreement. Once that's in place, I think Greg will be able to conclude hopefully the finalization of his equity raise."
There are still a lot of moving parts here. That's perhaps why Bettman couldn't guarantee that the Coyotes would be in Glendale, Ariz., next season when pressed on the question by a reporter.
"I can't say anything with 100 percent certainty," he said. "I think the likelihood is, based on everything we know today, the process should conclude successfully, but it's not something I'm in a position to guarantee. We haven't worked on a Plan B for Phoenix. Our hope and expectation, going back to the earlier question, is this will get done. If it doesn't, we'll have to deal with it at the time. But it's not anything we're focused on at this time."
The Phoenix Coyotes have been on the market for a while now, looking for a new owner. On the ice, the team streaked through the second half of the regular season to clinch the Pacific Division title and are now on the verge of advancing to the Western Conference finals. Off the ice, a buyer has finally been approved for the franchise.
The Associated Press via SI.com reports that the sale is unlikely to be bogged down in red tape and should be completed sooner, rather than later.
Bettman said the league and the group will work toward reaching a formal sales agreement while Jamison negotiates with the city of the Glendale on a new lease for Jobing.com Arena. Bettman said he hopes to have the sale completed in a matter of weeks, not months.
Diehard Coyotes fans are sure to be thrilled at new ownership taking over soon and keeping the team in Arizona. The only thing that would make it better would be hoisting a Stanley Cup to go along with it.
An ownership group led by former San Jose Sharks CEO Greg Jamison has reportedly reached a tentative agreement with the NHL to purchase Phoenix Coyotes. The NHL is expected to formally announce the news during a press conference before the Coyotes' playoff game Monday evening. From NHL.com:
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman will meet with the media Monday at 9 p.m. ET to discuss the ownership situation of the Phoenix Coyotes.
The availability, at Jobing.com Arena, will be carried live on NHL Network and streamed on NHL.com.
The Phoenix Coyotes have gone through years of drama and speculation about a move that, at one point, seemed nearly inevitable. When the team was knocked out of the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2011, their home fans stayed in the arena long after buzzer to show appreciation for a team they thought they might never see again. Now, it looks like the Coyotes will be staying in Phoenix.
Nothing has been finalized yet, but the NHL has reached a tentative deal to sell the Coyotes to a group led by Greg Jamison. The Coyotes are currently losing money in Arizona, but Jamison plans to keep them in their current home and find a way to make them profitable. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is holding a press conference on Monday, during which he is expected to announce that the league is in final negotiations with Jamison for the team's sale.
The Phoenix Coyotes may yet stay in the desert. The Glendale City Council met on Tuesday to discuss potential bids for the team and will proceed with its preferred bid, from an ownership group led by former San Jose Sharks CEO Greg Jamison on Tuesday. The parties are nearing a deal that would sell the Coyotes and keep them in Glendale, according to the Phoenix Business Journal.
Glendale owns Phoenix's home arena, Jobing.com Arena, and has been heavily involved with the Coyotes since the NHL bought the team out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009. The NHL is seeking $170 million for the Coyotes, though a lower price could be negotiated.
Jamison's group has been close to finalizing a deal to purchase the Coyotes before, only to lose some investment money prior to the purchase. Local groups helped throw a monkey wrench in the sale of the Coyotes to a Chicago investment executive.
This time, though, the NHL is poised to seal a deal with Jamison as soon as an arena lease is worked. Perhaps this could occur as soon as during the NHL playoffs, which begin for the Coyotes on Thursday night when they host the Chicago Blackhawks.
For more on the Coyotes, visit Five For Howling.
The Phoenix Coyotes are fresh off winning their first-ever Pacific Division title and are preparing for the Stanley Cup playoffs to kick off this week. Throughout the year, the Coyotes front office insisted that the years-long attempts to find a new owner for the struggling franchise would not be a distraction on the ice and, to a certain extent, the 'Yotes have proven that with their blistering second-half play. Now, with the team set to embark on a quest to hoist the franchise's first Stanley Cup, it appears some hope for a new owner is on the horizon, as well.
According to Lisa Halverstadt of The Republic, there will be at least one deal up for public review in April. Any potential sale must come soon if the team hopes to remain in Arizona.
[Glendale City Manager Ed] Beasley said he's spent at least the past week working closely with a group led by former San Jose Sharks executive Greg Jamison, as well as another group he would not name.
"The good thing for us is we've got a few choices here," he said. "We're all working very diligently."
Beasley said all groups have expressed interest in purchasing the city-owned arena as part of a deal. There's been talk the Jamison group would also be interested in buying Westgate City Center, the restaurant and shopping complex that opened six years ago as part of the original arena deal.
According to the NHL, at least two other buyers are interested, although no details are currently available. All interested buyers are reportedly interested in keeping the team in Glendale.
Here's what we know about the Phoenix Coyotes sale situation right now:
So, has there been any progress in sale negotiations? It doesn't appear that way, but according to a report in the Arizona Republic, there are at least three groups in the running to purchase the team and keep them in Glendale. Who are they?
[Coyotes President Mike] Nealy said that more than three groups are working to buy the team and keep it in Glendale, although he would not elaborate on their identities.
Former San Jose Sharks chief executive Greg Jamison's group has been working to pull together funds to buy the team. A spokesman for a second group led by ex-Arizona lawmaker John Kaites and Chicago sports magnate Jerry Reinsdorf recently said they remain interested.
The identities of the other groups are unknown.
It was reported by multiple sources in February that Jamison's group was close to a deal, but there's been nothing but curious radio silence on that front since. The recent report in the Republic states that Jamison's group is also interested in purchasing Jobing.com Arena from the City of Glendale, which likely complicates the deal quite a bit.
The Coyotes play their final regular season game on Tuesday, and with the playoff less than a certainty, the ownership situation much less than a certainty, and with interests in Seattle, Quebec City and elsewhere breathing down everybody's neck, the fear that it could be the last NHL game in Arizona is a real one.
Meanwhile, the local government leaders that put the City of Glendale into this entire mess? They're stepping down, although it does appear as though soon-to-retire Mayor Elaine Scruggs still has the support of at least some local residents.
For more on the Coyotes, including actual on-ice hockey stuff, check in with Five For Howling.
Quebec City is planning on building an "NHL-style" arena with a ground breaking planned for September, but there aren't any current indications that the arena will house an NHL franchise.
Saskatoon gets in line as one of the many cities interested in an NHL team. Groups there are interested in purchasing and relocating an NHL franchise to play at Credit Union Centre.
Where there's smoke, there's fire, and we now have a second report confirming news that the NHL and the City of Glendale, Ariz., are close to a deal on a Phoenix Coyotes sale to an ownership group led by former San Jose Sharks CEO Greg Jamison.
Via Phoenix Business Journal, reporting essentially the same details that were reported by Dave Zorn of Metro Networks Arizona late last week, the NHL is looking to sell the team to Jamison for somewhere in the ballpark of $170 million, "in part to help the value of other franchises." The NHL purchased the team out of bankruptcy three years ago for $140 million.
A sale to Jamison's group, which reportedly includes former Coyotes star Jeremy Roenick, would keep the team in Glendale for the foreseeable future, essentially ending Coyotes relocation talks. Those talks have been loud lately thanks to the proposed arena in Seattle, which would require NHL relocation or expansion before becoming a reality.
As it stands without a sale, the City of Glendale could be on the hook for a third $25 million payment to the NHL to both cover the Coyotes' operating losses and operate the City-owned Jobing.com Arena. Or, the NHL could sell the team to one of the many interested buyers that would love to relocate them to another market.
The NHL has denied a report that the Phoenix Coyotes are ready to be sold to a group led by Greg Jamison, the former CEO of the San Jose Sharks who's been rumored to be in the ownership mix for the team since August.
Dave Zorn, a reporter for Metro Networks Arizona who's covered the Coyotes for years, shared the initial report Friday evening on Twitter.
Just to clarify..Jamison has been approved to by the NHL as an owner, and his money..still a little work to finish on it. #Coyotes— Dave Zorn (@dave_zorn) February 18, 2012
Via KING5 in Seattle, where fans are suddenly watching the Coyotes' ownership saga with an interested eye following a new arena proposal there that's contingent on relocation of an NHL and NBA teams, the NHL says that report is false. Zorn expected as much, however, and you'll recall that the league also denied first reports that True North Sports had purchased the Atlanta Thrashers. It's safe to say they shouldn't necessarily be trusted when it comes to this stuff.
A sale of the Coyotes to Jamison would be fantastic news for Coyotes fans, who could realistically lose their team at the end of this NHL season if a new ownership situation isn't figured out. The NHL still operates the club, and that's a situation that's expected to come to a head before next season.
Jamison's group reportedly includes former Coyotes star Jeremy Roenick, who said in his Coyotes' Ring of Honor induction speech last weekend that he'd do his part to keep the hockey team in Arizona.
For Seattle fans, it's not the best news. The new arena proposal requires both an NHL team and an NBA team to be on board -- whether through relocation or expansion -- and the Coyotes certainly seem like the most likely option. If they're sold, Seattle fans will have to look elsewhere, or hope Gary Bettman's interest in the city is real and that expansion is a possibility.
It's been a few months since we've had another prospective buyer for the Phoenix Coyotes, but now, in the middle of August, it looks like another rich guy is positioning himself and a group of other investors to buy the struggling hockey club, which has been owned by the NHL since October 2009.
Unlike many of the other suitors, though, this time it's somebody who's been involved rather heavily with the NHL in the past. According to Phoenix Business Journal, former San Jose Sharks CEO Greg Jamison sits atop a new ownership group that's putting together an offer for the club.
Jamison is expected to work out a sales agreement with the National Hockey League, which owns the Coyotes, next week. That includes putting down earnest money giving his group exclusive negotiating rights with the league and city of Glendale, which owns Jobing.com Arena.
Jamison is no longer the CEO of the Sharks parent company, Silicon Valley Sports and Entertainment, but he still holds ownership stake in the team, which he'd have to get rid of if he became the owner of the Coyotes. He also still sits on the Sharks' board, as well as the NHL's executive board.
Coyotes fans probably shouldn't get their hopes up just yet, especially the way this process has been over the last two-plus years, but this certainly isn't bad news for them. For more on the team, check in with SB Nation's Five For Howling.
H/T: James Mirtle
Weary fans of the beleaguered Phoenix Coyotes franchise took yet another hit Monday morning in the organization's seemingly endless ownership saga. To the dismay of Glendale residents, longtime potential buyer Matthew Hulsizer has ended his bid to buy the struggling NHL team.
The Chicago businessman once seemed to be a virtual lock to purchase the Coyotes before the desert-based Goldwater Institute interfered with any plans, sinking the talks with a counterclaim regarding city funding. With the issue of relocation drawing nearer, Glendale poured in another $25 million to the NHL in an effort to ward off leering Winnipeg financiers. Surprisingly, the move worked -- at the expense of the Atlanta Thrashers -- and the city reemerged at the bargaining table with a newfound upper-hand.
An upper-hand that apparently became too much for Hulsizer to handle. According to a report in the Phoenix Business Journal, an unnamed official claimed that the Hulsizer group did not wish to sludge through another round of discussions that held no foreseeable end.
The frustration is visibly mounting in Phoenix. Despite a multi-year struggle to regain legitimacy, the franchise remains no better off than it was in the beginning of the ordeal. SB Nation Arizona explains:
We said when the $25 million extension happened and the Thrashers moved to Winnipeg that the leverage had shifted to Glendale. One can imagine that they overplayed their hands and Hulsizer has simply moved on to other targets. Or, this latest news could just be part of the process of calling Glendale's bluff. The city claims to be negotiating again with Jerry Reinsdorf and some other mysterious owner.
Somehow, it's hard to imagine we are anywhere close to resolution and that only hurts the efforts of the Coyotes to rebuild their relationship with local sports fans.
Regardless of whether the Reinsdorf connection exists as mere speculation or actual fact, it is increasingly clear that no one wins from the stagnant nature of the current situation. For further coverage on the Phoenix Coyotes' ongoing ownership saga visit SB Nation's Five For Howling.
Of course, you didn't think this would go away all that easily, did you?
Just as it seemed that the Phoenix Coyotes were out of the dark when it comes to playing in Glendale, Ariz. for the 2011-12 season, that pesky thorn in their side, the Goldwater Institute, says that a lawsuit over the $25 million payment from the City to NHL isn't out of the question.
GWI's Nick Dranias said that his organization still needs to do their homework on the issue, but he certainly didn't rule out the possibility of a lawsuit, questioning whether or not the payment is a subsidy to the NHL.
"The Arizona constitution clearly bans subsidies to private businesses," Dranias said on Phoenix's 12 News Tuesday afternoon. "The founding fathers saw that bailouts are a bad idea and they are illegal in this state"
Glendale mayor Elaine Scruggs argued at Tuesday night's city meeting, at which Council members voted 5-2 to fork over that $25 million to the NHL, that it's not a subsidy. Her argument was that it's an investment in the arena in and the area, because without the team, Glendale is stuck with a vacant, city-owned arena that will cost them much more than the $25 million.
"If that's true, they ought to be able to break down where those expenses are going. Are they going to preserve the team's operations -- for the Zamboni, for the ice rink, for the jumbotron? Or are those things for the lights and the heat and the air? The bottom line here is that if that payment is going to expenses that exist only because the team is there, it's a subsidy."
Dranias went on to say that his group is "absolutely" looking at the possibility of a lawsuit if they determine that the $25 million payment (and a separate payment of equal value to cover last season's losses) is a subsidy to the Coyotes and the NHL.
With news that the Phoenix Coyotes will be sticking around in Arizona for at least one more season, the relocation talk in the NHL has shifted, at least temporarily, to the Atlanta Thrashers.
Atlanta Spirit, the group that owns the Thrashers, the NBA's Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena, has been trying to sell their hockey team for several years, and as the investment loses money year-after-year, their patience is understandably wearing thin. (Fans would tell you it's the fault of the horrible ownership group that's led to that circumstance, but that's really another story.)
With the Coyotes off the table for now, a group in Winnipeg could turn their attention to purchasing and relocating the Thrashers. True North Sports and Entertainment is reported to be interested in the Thrashers, and there are also reports that they would pay much more for the team than a local, Atlanta-based group would pay to keep them in town.
That could lead us down a messy path, of course. As we know from the Coyotes saga, the NHL will go to just about all lengths to avoid relocation, especially from vital American television markets like Phoenix and -- yeah, you guessed it -- Atlanta.
It's a top-10 metro area in the U.S. in terms of media market and sheer size, so you understand why they want to have a base in such a place. The only difference between Phoenix and Atlanta, though, is that the local government in Glendale, Ariz. has just as much a stake in the Coyotes' departure as the NHL does. They own the building, which would go dark without the hockey team that currently occupies it. Bad news for the city.
The City of Atlanta, on the other hand, doesn't have any financial stake in the arena or the team, and thus, they're much less likely to shell out millions of dollars to keep the team around at all costs.
In fact, they definitely won't, according to the mayor. Via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Reese McCranie, spokesman for [Atlanta Mayor Kasim] Reed, said Atlanta has not been approached by the NHL about making a financial deal such as Glendale's. Even if approached, the city - in the midst of pension reform and possible layoffs in 2012 - would not consider it, McCranie said.
"We are aware that the ownership of the Thrashers is having difficulty and they may leave," McCranie said. "The mayor has had robust discussions with business leaders in the metro region [who might] potentially buy or join a team of buyers to keep the Thrashers here.
"He has gone through extraordinary lengths to ensure that the Thrashers can stay in Atlanta, but at this moment there is not a deal on the table that we can present."
To be clear, there has been no sale of the Thrashers or anything like that just yet, but it's something that's a very real possibility, especially with the way things are playing out in Arizona. The owners want out, and there's a group in Winnipeg willing to pay top dollar to jump right in and relocate the team.
If another solution can't be found, the NHL might be on their own in this fight without any help from the City of Atlanta.
The City Council in Glendale, Ariz. voted 5-2 on Tuesday night to fork over $25 million dollars to the National Hockey League to cover operating losses of the Phoenix Coyotes for the upcoming season, assuring that, barring any unforeseen circumstances, the team will stay in Arizona for at least one more season.
Of course, given the mayhem involved in this two-year long saga, there's no guarantee that things will now go smoothly from here on out.
Mayor Elaine Scruggs passionately defended the vote. The basis of her argument in extending $25 million more dollars to the NHL is that Glendale has a very real financial stake in the Coyotes and City-owned Jobing.com Arena, where the team plays.
Should the team pack up and relocate elsewhere, they're stuck with an empty building that cost them nearly $200 million to build and millions more to operate. By paying the extra $25 million, which is in addition to a similar payment given to the league just two weeks ago to cover team losses from last season, they keep people coming to the arena and the Westgate City Center near the arena.
They view it as investment, not subsidy to the league. In fact, they're getting a pretty good deal. The Coyotes lost a reported 36.6 million in 2010-11 and could lose that much or more in 2011-12.
There are legitimate gripes with the logic Scruggs and the five affirmative voters are using here, and several residents voiced their displeasure with it during the public comment portion of Tuesday's meeting. One such resident, George Sprankle, wore a pretty incredible USA flag shirt while holding a sign that said "NO NHL OR HULSIZER." Another compared the vote to socialism.
But the news is that for now, the majority of the council agrees with it, and as a result, the Coyotes are sticking around for one more season. If they can't be sold to a local buyer like Matthew Hulsizer in the next year, we'll be back here again, only relocation will be almost guaranteed in that instance.
Should that happen, the Glendale Council will have egg on their face, and that $25 million they voted to hand over tonight will be a complete waste. For now, though, they must hope that stable ownership can swoop in and keep them around to the point where they can turn a profit.
On Tuesday in Glendale, Ariz., the City Council will vote to dole out more money to keep the NHL-owned Phoenix Coyotes in their town for at least one more season. It would be a $25 million payment to the league to cover operating losses for the upcoming season, which would come in addition to the $25 million paid by the City a week ago to cover operating losses for the 2010-11 season.
By all local accounts, the vote is expected to pass, which will give the NHL the comfort it needs to keep operating the team beyond this summer, which it previously said it would not do. The thinking is that if they hold on to the team another year, it will buy the time to come to terms with Matthew Hulsizer, a businessman that would keep them at Jobing.com Arena for the long-term.
And thus, out of Winnipeg or any other locale -- at least for another year.
If the money isn't handed over from Glendale to the NHL, all bets are off and the team could very easily find itself in a new home sooner rather than later. But with all that the City has wrapped up in the team and the arena, which would go vacant should the Coyotes leave, it seems like a lock that they'll fork over the dollars.
Should that happen, True North Sports in Winnipeg could turn their attention elsewhere, according to a report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. You see where this is going. Could they look to purchase and relocate the Thrashers?
The Atlanta Spirit, owner of the Thrashers, Hawks and the operating rights to Philips Arena, have been looking for a buyer and/or investors and have said relocation is a possibility. Co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in February and again last week that there is a "sense of urgency" to find a solution to the financial losses suffered by the team. The Thrashers could fetch upwards of $170 million from True North with the NHL getting around $60 million as a relocation fee.
The Thrashers are not expected to be sold for that much to a buyer that would keep the team in Atlanta.
And that's really what it seems to come down to, right? Are the current owners more interested in getting top dollar for the Thrashers, or are they willing to take a bit less to keep them in town?
It's a little bit more complex than that, considering the group also owns the arena and it's written into their deal that should the Thrashers move, they'll lose money on the naming rights from Philips.
The answers seem to be in the math, and Atlanta Spirit looks like they could have a huge decision on their hands in the very near future.
With the shine of the Stanley Cup Playoffs almost gone in Phoenix, the focus will once again be on the Coyotes ownership situation. After two years, it's time for some resolution. Is a happy ending still possible for fans in the desert?
The meddling of conservative watchdog group Goldwater Institute in the Phoenix Coyotes sale has threatened to completely blow up the entire situation, which would almost certainly send the team elsewhere as a result.
According to the group, the City of Glendale, Ariz. will violate the state constitution should they take out $100 million in bonds, as planned, to assist Hulsizer's purchase of the team. The taxpayers would be on the hook for losses the team could incur in that situation.
Hulsizer told Fox Sports Arizona on Sunday, however, that he's sent a letter to GWI with the intent of squashing their concerns. The basic idea here: Hulsizer says he'll accept those bonds, pay $25 million back to the City and that he'll place a guarantee on the other $75 million.
SB Nation's Five For Howling recounted the conversation:
Hulsizer announced on Fox Sports Arizona's first intermission report that he has changed the deal in significant ways, getting the taxpayers of Glendale pretty much completely off the hook for the payments on default of the bond issue. Hulsizer said that he and the investors would guarantee the bond payments so that the city wouldn't be on the hook. Without knowing the specifics I'd say that what he's trying to say is that if there's a shortfall between the parking revenue and the payment on the bond that they'd make up the difference.
There's still the question of whether or not GWI will agree with Hulsizer or if they'll accept his guarantee, and as we all know, this situation is never over when we think it is. Still, it's another step forward in the process. We'll see what happens next.
The NHL, the Phoenix Coyotes, the City of Glendale and prospective owner Matthew Hulsizer were hoping this wouldn't happen, but in anticipation of the final sale agreement between Glendale and Hulsizer, the conservative watch dog group Goldwater Institute has announced they will file a lawsuit once the sale is complete.
From a GWI press release:
After examining more than 1,000 pages of documents provided by the City of Glendale under court order in the past 10 business days, the Goldwater Institute is announcing today that it will file a legal challenge to the agreement between the City of Glendale and Chicago businessman Matthew Hulsizer to subsidize the purchase of the Phoenix Coyotes. The deal has not been signed by the parties yet but is expected to close soon.
Simply put, Goldwater believes that the potential sale is against Arizona's constitution. They say they are looking after the taxpayers in Glendale, who will be on the hook to pay losses should parking revenues generated at the City-owned Jobing.com Arena fail to cover the bonds that the City has taken out to assist Hulsizer's purchase.
GWI's presence in this debate casts a large shadow on the sale and the future of the Coyotes. For more on the issue, check in with SB Nation's Five For Howling.
Remember those days when we all thought the Phoenix Coyotes sale was actually going to go through? Yeah, they're long gone, but now the NHL is intervening in the situation once again.
According to the Phoenix Business Journal, commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly are making their way to Glendale to help along talks between potential owner Matthew Hulsizer and the City of Glendale.
Problems have come up thanks to the right-wing Goldwater Institute, which has threatened a lawsuit against Glendale on the grounds that a sale is against the public interest of the residents of the city. GWI has inserted itself into the issue because they believe that the proposed deal between Glendale and Hulsizer is against the law.
"We recognize that Glendale has dug itself into a financial hole by building the taxpayer-funded Jobing.com Arena for a team that has proven financially unsustainable," Goldwater said in a statement. "However, the City must find a way to improve its financial situation within the boundaries of the law. Likewise, we hope the city can find a way to attract great sports teams like the Coyotes without the unconstitutional use of taxpayer funds."
GWI's biggest concern is the issue of a potential shortfall in revenues. According to reports, Glendale has agreed to pay an potential shortfall, which GWI finds that unconstitutional. They claim that if parking revenue will not be enough to repay bonds on the team, that Hulsizer, not the city, should pay that difference.
"That would prevent serious harm to the taxpayers and place the financial responsibility where it should be: with the owner of the team, rather than on the taxpayers' shoulders," they said.
The NHL is in a tough spot here, as is the city. They could challenge Goldwater in court on the issue and try their luck, but that could drag out forever, a scenario would be unwelcome by anybody. The Coyotes, of course, are still losing money and are still without stable ownership until Hulsizer gets the team -- if he even does at this point.
According to the Business Journal, there are several new changes to the current sale agreement that could get GWI off their backs, including asking Hulsizer to contribute more dollars to the sale. There's also the possibility that the parties -- the NHL, the City, Hulsizer and Goldwater -- get together to sort things out.
There's still a lot to be said on this issue, and just when we thought it was over, the fans in Phoenix are suffering a little bit more. All the while, those in Winnipeg keep on salivating.
For more on the issue, check in with SB Nation's Five For Howling.