Coyote Drama

coyotesBy this point, most people know that the Phoenix Coyotes have declared for bankruptcy and the team will end up being sold to someone.  Beyond that, the story gets interesting depending on who you ask and what perspective you’re looking at the situation from.  Here is a quick run down of the parties involved in this dilemma:

Jim Balsille – The Blackberry billionaire has been trying to buy an NHL franchise for a while now (he previously tried to buy the Predators), and he’s made an offer that the current Coyotes owner wants to accept.  However, Balsille will only buy the team if he can move the franchise to Ontario.

Jerry Boyes – The current Coyotes owner has lost millions on the team (as much as $100M depending on what reports you look at). The team has filed for bankruptcy, and Boyes wants to sell the team to Balsille because it is currently the best offer.  However, the NHL feels that Boyes does not have the authority to accept the offer, because…

Gary Bettman and the NHL – According to sources, the NHL has actually been in control of the team for some period time, possibly dating back to the fall when they loaned the franchise a lot of money. They want to help Moyes sell the team, but not to Balsille.

The City of Glendale – The city wants to keep the team in town and force them to honor the 30 year lease with Jobing.com Arena that was signed.  They are taking the team to court over this – the only way the team could get out of their lease would be through the bankruptcy process.

The Canadian Public – There is an online/grassroots movement to support Balsille’s bid and bring a 7th team to Canada.  They have created the website www.makeitseven.ca, and you can also find them on Twitter and Facebook. It’s too early to tell what type of impact this support could have.

There are lots of moving parts to this situation, and I have no idea how they will all play out.  This is definitely a story to watch closely!

5 thoughts on “Coyote Drama

  • May 8, 2009 at 6:38 am
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    Any idea where in Ontario Balsille is looking to move them to? And how would that play with the ownership of the Leafs and Sens?

  • May 8, 2009 at 8:02 am
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    It would be interesting to see what percentage of major pro teams are operating in the red. The Indiana Pacers owner has said the team lost money every year except one since opening Conseco Fieldhouse. He can’t do it anymore. It appears they will renegoiate their lease at Conseco Fieldhouse which could make the local capital improvement board take on the $15 million/yr of operating expenses the Pacers had paid since moving into the new arena. He said he is giving the Indiana Fever (WNBA) one more year to build revenues. In this case the City of Glendale (like any other city), its about sport tourism dollars and want to hold on. The NHL doesn’t want this to look like a failure of their brand in a market like Phoenix, which is not a traditional hockey market. Now that major sports are seeing a pull back from fans on ticket prices and sponsors are building more metrix to gage sponsorship ROI and cities are becoming taxed out in building and maintaining stadiums, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more instances of teams looking at bankruptcy. It could make for some very interesting labor battles. Teams will ultimately look at cutting expenses. It is going to be hard to see smaller markets continue to take on $80 – $100 million or more in payrolls.

  • May 8, 2009 at 8:38 am
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    Hi Russell,

    I’m most interested in this from the “branding” of this drama (as you put it). The makeitseven.ca campaign is an interesting position to take on this – as is the Keep It Six response… These are ideas that I’ve posted about on my blog as well – from a brand/PR and social media perspective.

  • May 8, 2009 at 1:43 pm
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    Dave: he wants to move them to Hamilton, outside of Toronto. The senators wouldn’t care all that much, but the leafs would not be happy but would survive just fun. They would give the sabres the biggest problems.

  • May 8, 2009 at 2:36 pm
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    Well sounds like a controversy and a long drawn out war between everyone. I am concerned about what happens to the NEW Glendale Arena.

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