The math for the Coyotes making the playoffs for the fourth straight year is daunting. The teams above them in the standings continue to either win or be involved in “three point games”, overtime where even the losing team gets a point. The Coyotes have lately been winning games and doing their job, their ultimate success may depend on getting some help from outside.
The likelihood of the continued residence of the Coyotes in Arizona parallels their playoff hopes.
Competition Improves The Breed
Based on information provided by Darin Pastor’s PR firm, KCD Public Relations, that Mr. Pastor filed “paperwork” with the NHL yesterday (April 5). Pastor also met with Glendale mayor Jerry Weires this past week, characterizing him in subsequent interviews as “refreshing”. Pastor also unequivocally stated Beacon Sports Capital (the hitter designated by Glendale to work arena deals) was not involved.
Greg Jamison has also been working since his prior agreement with Glendale expired. His group is also planning to submit a bid to the NHL this coming week. They have also not been working with Beacon and have not, to the best of my knowledge, officially been in contact with any member of Glendale government.
The George Gosbee and Anthony LeBlanc group, considered by some to be the frontrunner in the bid for the Coyotes, has also submitted a bid to the NHL according to the excellent reporting of Craig Morgan. Click here to read Craig’s latest on the Coyotes fiasco. You should check for his updates frequently. I am also under the impression that the Gosbee group has also ignored Beacon.
We’ve also heard that Matt Hulsizer is very much still in the running for the team and is even considered by some to be the most serious competition for the Gosbee group.
So that makes three solid contenders, one that’s probably solid and there’s a chance the Reinsdorf/Kaites group is also still alive. Most, if not all, of these people (save Pastor) have been involved with each other as partners in a prospective Coyotes deal in the past. Some of them more than once. So, there are few financial secrets between all of the groups, you could assume there is leverage being applied to perceived weaknesses by one group against another.
Personal impressions of people from all three groups varies, but generally has a positive bent. Impressions of the groups on Coyotes brass also varies. Suffice it to say that nobody is perfect, but the overall impression is that any one of the groups in the running is capable of running the Coyotes hockey club successfully without repeating the mistakes of past owners, including the NHL.
Coyotes fans have one big question for these groups. Are they fully committed to keeping the team in Arizona?
Setting The Table For Glendale
Jaime Eisner yesterday tweeted:
I was told by a source that the plan is a 15-yr deal W/ no out clause and an arena purchase option for Gosbee
Jaime writes for Five For Howling and is a journalism major, he knows what he’s doing and cares about it. I don’t know who his source is but since Jaime lives here and is familiar with the Coyotes fiasco, I think his trust in his source is vetted and trustworthy. A few things are important about his information.
First, the Gosbee group is looking for a long term agreement with Glendale instead of planning to move the team after some short undetermined grace period. That removes a well earned objection nagging the Ice Edge based group of guys from the beginning of this thing.
Secondly, the “no out clause” thing also obviates a quick move out of Glendale.
Thirdly, there is no mention of any financial commitment from Glendale required to make a deal. No clarification of that missing point has been available to me via any avenue I tried. It’s an important omission and will likely be the factor deciding the eventual landing spot for the Coyotes within Arizona or even outside Arizona.
NHL Gunslinger Eyes
Let’s all agree the NHL has finally stepped in and pushed the urgency button. Any other conclusion is delusional. It should also be obvious that the NHL has decided to reverse their philosophy of having an agreement in place with Glendale prior to selling the team. This is brand new and may have been in place prior to the expiration of the Glendale/Jamison agreement. We should also agree that any hard deadline in effect is only for “first pass” bids and the like, there are too many variables for anything more than a flexible deadline to be suggested by the NHL. That said, we can all hear the clock ticking like the opening of “60 Minutes”.
Speculation abounds that any deadline would have to consider the eventual disposition of the Sacramento Kings. While Bettman has solid connections with the NBA, his tentacles and influence aren’t likely to extend TOO far into the end result of the Kings mess. Yet, Bettman DID call local hoops mogul Jerry Colangelo this week about something.
It now seems certain the NHL and their new team owner will approach the City of Glendale as a united front with a fairly firm framework for staying in Glendale. I doubt it would be an aggressively open “take it or leave it” thing, but the handwriting is clearly already on the wall for Glendale. The fact that Beacon is being completely ignored in the process by the buyers side despite being fingered by Glendale as “their guy” is a sure sign who the NHL feels is holding the hammer in this transaction. And, they certainly do.
The NHL owns the anchor tenant for the city owned arena.
The NHL is the arena manager hired by the city to run the city owned arena.
The NHL MAY even have a deal that can be renewed at their discretion for another six or seven years.
It’s possible the NHL could run the arena under the current agreement with the Coyotes as the anchor tenant owned by another entity. Very possible.
Realism Or Politics?
Like the Coyotes making the playoffs, even if they win them all (are sold), they still need some help from somewhere else (Glendale) to make it happen.
Jerry Weiers has ceased his frequent coy updates of suitors calling him about the Coyotes, perhaps wising up to the potential damage he was doing to his city and their bargaining position regarding their expensive asset. He met with Darin Pastor this week, how many of the other groups he has met with isn’t clear. Once a public records request for information related to such scheduled meetings is satisfied we may be enlightened.
One serious error made by EVERY current and former suitor for the Coyotes continues to be made. Matt Hulsizer is the ONLY one that realized the value of speaking face to face, one on one with every Glendale council member. Some have had conversations with JUST the mayor and some have expanded it to include the council members supporting their bid. This error in social and political protocol is obvious to many people in city hall. Something is certain to require a public or private vote by the current council, anyone that wises up and does some “visiting” will gain more support than they would have otherwise.
Will Weiers and the new council, if confronted with a “take it or leave it” offer, rely on judgment and facts or will they revert to politics to make their decision? One of the councilmembers has said she’s never voting in the affirmative for anything Coyotes related, an amazing stance for an elected official to state they wouldn’t consider each presentation on it’s own merit.
The hiring of Beacon to vet offers will probably be moot if the NHL and the new owner have a united front on the offer they agreed to present to Glendale. Surely the 15 year, no “out clause”, option to purchase arena deal SHOULD be acceptable to Glendale depending on one thing.
How much, if any, money will Glendale be asked to pay to manage the arena?
Some say if the number is anything over zero, it won’t happen. Research has shown that a legitimate number is in the $10M-$13M range yet a $6M number seems to always crop up in these discussions with the city.
I suspect that, if a new owner was willing to commit to a 15 year deal, $10M would be the number to get the four votes necessary to make it happen. Much more and the team would be headed to another venue in Arizona or out of state.
Buckle up and hope the Glendale council buckles down to work cooperatively.