Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Now we don't have all the facts in this situation...yet. But here's what we do know. The Phoenix Coyotes have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, filed under "reorganization to implement a court-approved sale of the team under the federal bankruptcy code." In this bankruptcy filing, there is also a proposed sale of the team to PSE Sports & Entertainment for about 212.5 million dollars. Yes, PSE is headed by none other than Jim Basillie, owner of Blackberry's Research In Motion, and failed opportunistic buyer of the Penguins and Predators. In this provision Basillie would then in fact turn around and move the Coyotes to "Southern Ontario," and with his past proceedings, one would have to assume Hamilton (but apparently Brantford), which is within driving distance of a lot of metro areas, as you can see below.
reporting that current Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf and Gary Bettman are putting together a plan to purchase the Coyotes, all the while keeping the team in Glendale, AZ. Now not much is known about this offer, except we'll be seeing it sooner than later, but one can assume, not unlike the Predator's situtation, that it will be considerably less than what PSE is offering.
However, since David Moss (current Coyotes CEO) filed for Chapter 11, then in Federal Court they must sell to the highest bidder. BUT! Since the NHL has loaned monies to the Coyotes, the NHL believes Moss no longer was within his rights to declare bankruptcy and that in fact, the NHL has removed Moss as an official of the club and will represent the franchise in Bankruptcy Court. Ok.
So those are the facts and back to the debate at hand. Right now let's talk about the two high level options we have.
- Keep the Coyotes in Arizona: I'm not a lawyer, so I don't know all the ways that the NHL could succeed on keeping Jim "Mark Cuban" Basillie out of the old boy's club, but that is Bettman's current mission. The NHL loaned monies to this club, played at 85% attendance, and amazingly enough, the Coyotes have lost upwards of $45 million.
- Let Basillie Buy the Coyotes, move to Ontario: Jim Basillie already has the data for season ticket sales in Hamilton, he already tried that when he made his move for the Predators. There is obviously demand in that area. The NHL take's a sweet chunk of change home with them and can forget about the mitigated disaster of Bettman's Grand Experiment.