15 June 2009

Balsillie's Coyotes Bid Rejected

Ugh. Looks like the judge rejected Balsillie's bid for the Phoenix Coyotes.

I just don't understand the business sense of the NHL not wanting to move a team from the American desert to Canada, where hockey is the sport and not the 3rd or even 4th wheel as in the USA. Well, not strictly true. I can see why Toronto and Buffalo wouldn't want another team in the area, but at the same time I think that's a selfish POV and short-sighted in terms of what's beneficial for the NHL.

In this economy you'd think the NHL would shore up its fan base rather than alienate it. Though, as I posted before, that's probably part of the problem. Canadians are hockey fanatics, at least relative to the U.S., so the NHL feels free to support an American bankrupt team over relocation to Canada. It's funny... funny in a sad and depressing way... I don't remember the NHL kicking up such a battle to prevent the Winnipeg Jets or Quebec Nordiques relocating to the USA.

But who knows, if the NHL can come up with a group willing to buy the Phoenix Coyotes, and to keep them in Glendale, Arizona, for $212 million or more, I'll admit I'm wrong.

So... I wonder what happens next? I guess the bankruptcy case and auction goes on as scheduled. I wonder if Balsillie will still bid, perhaps if he could move the team in two years rather than the next.

I want to see some dollar figures on these offers Bettman says he's lined up. Will any of them really do as much for creditors as Balsillie's $212 million? If so, great, I guess. I just can't get over the fact that the NHL is in a conflict of interest -- it's both a creditor and NHL ruler. As creditor the NHL should be trying to get the most possible of its money back from a new owner. But as NHL ruler it wants to keep a bankrupt team in Glendale, Arizona, perhaps taking a lower offer to do so. Fine for the NHL, but not so fine for all the other creditors. All this would be solved, of course, if Bettman can cough up a group to offer $212 million or more and still keep the team in Glendale.

What happened to Balsillie's $17 million bridge financing to the Coyotes? I hope Balsillie hasn't already paid it.

The amount of the relocation fee is another issue. Can the NHL stick an owner with an astronomical relocation fee -- essentially preventing a move?

Right now, a part of me wants the NHL to keep the Coyotes in Phoenix, just to see how much money the NHL will sink into the desert sands.

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