It wouldn’t be summer until we’ve had a buyer approved for the Phoenix Coyotes.
TSN’s Darren Dreger reports the NHL has confirmed they have an agreement with George Gosbee’s Renaissance Sports & Entertainment group to purchase the ownerless franchise.
Does that mean the now four-year old struggle to sell the formerly bankrupt franchise is at an end? No.
There are still many issues left to be figured out yet including a lease agreement for Jobing.com Arena with the City of Glendale. That part of the arrangement has been the major sticking point for previous buyers including Jerry Reinsdorf, Ice Edge Holdings, and Matthew Hulsizer. Greg Jamison had a deal worked out with the city only to fall short of coming up with the money to purchase the team.
We told you here last night the NHL was sharing an ownership plan with the city on Tuesday and Gosbee’s group will be the ones to likely take part in that. The cost of what it takes to run the arena figures to be a huge issue as the city is strapped for cash and cannot afford to pay out in a big way to do that. If there’s traction there, the sale may actually happen.
According to Mike Sunnucks of the Phoenix Business Journal, the City of Glendale is looking into a new way to figure out what to do about finding a new owner and/or someone to run Jobing.com Arena.
The Glendale City Council will vote whether or not to offer a contract to Beacon Sports Capital Partners LLC worth $25,000 and another $400 an hour for them to advise the city on how to proceed in finding a new owner for the Coyotes. According to city documents the total cost of the contract is worth $100,000.
All told, if that kind of investment can unearth an owner and someone to operate the arena, it’s worth the money. If it fails, it’s just more money the city is throwing down a hole in hopes of keeping the team.
The city was ready to pay former Sharks vice president Greg Jamison $300 million to take over the team and operate the arena, but he failed to buy the team by the January 31 deadline despite working hard to find others to invest in the team. The Coyotes have been without an owner since 2009.
Considering the arduous journey to get there, it’s understandable that some view a completed Phoenix Coyotes sale as a “finish line” of sorts. In reality, that would be just the beginning for the new owner.
Michael Sunnucks’ latest update explores the possibility that potential owner Greg Jamison might have trouble running the team even if he manages to complete the purchase.
Operating capital could be the newest obstacle facing the Jamison purchase and the Coyotes tenuous situation in Glendale, Ariz.
Essentially, the prospective Coyotes owner needs the money, financing or favorable sales terms so he can pay the bills, meet payroll and keep the lights on after a sale.
Sunnucks discusses a few other elements that could make affording the team more difficult.
There are indications that even if Jamison is able to bring together the cash and investors needed to buy the Coyotes, he still needs to raise extra capital to then operate the hockey team.
That may include dealing with a possible work stoppage if NHL players and owners can’t reach a new collective bargaining agreement and games are lost. There’s also the chance the Coyotes situation could come up as owners and players craft a new CBA.
Sunnucks circles back to the possibility that the NHL might lower its asking price or find a way to finance the deal creatively – such as putting aside some reserve money to help the Coyotes “pay vendors and meet payroll” – but that would require NHL approval.
The NHL is reportedly asking for $170 million in the sale after purchasing the team for $140 million in 2009.
The last time the Goldwater Institute attempted to railroad the City of Glendale and Phoenix Coyotes’ attempts to sell the team, things ended very badly. Really, the mere threat of Goldwater’s involvement crushed the hopes of that deal. With news of Goldwater stepping in once again, you’d think Glendale reps would be nothing but beaten down, yet Dan Bickley shares this surprising quote.
Glendale city council member Joyce Clark to the Goldwater Institute: “Bring it on, baby.”
That’s totally not a quote that could come back to haunt Clark & Co., right? Perhaps that bit of moxie might display a “unified front” or an increased amount of confidence in the situation, though.
In honor of Clark’s hubris, I plan on baiting Freddie Kruger by taking Ambien during the off-season.
There were already some rumblings that the Goldwater Institute won’t be so quiet in the latest round of Phoenix Coyotes sales pitches, but that seems just about official now. Brahm Resnik reports that the Goldwater Institue intends to attempt to block the Glendale vote for a new Coyotes lease on Friday morning.
Here’s the verbatim Tweet:
BREAKING @GoldwaterInst says it will be in court at 830am Friday to try to block #Glendale vote on #Coyotes lease at 10am.
Goldwater also claims that Glendale “violated an Open Meetings Law by not disclosing the entire lease agreement in a timely fashion,” according to Resnik’s reports.
The last thing that the newest edition of the Coyotes’ hopeful sale needed was the Goldwater Institute blocking the path again, although it’s not fair to cast them in the role of “villains.” It’s a watchdog group designed to help protect taxpayers and it’s likely that even the most ardent Coyotes supporter would admit that it’s a far-from-ideal situation. The latest proposal seemed to be designed to survive Goldwater’s gaze, but if this development is any indication, it obviously didn’t do enough to calm those fears.
We’ll keep an eye out for developments on what could be a tumultuous Friday morning in a story that seemingly never ends.
(H/T to Bruce Arthur.)