Mostly quiet on Coyotes ownership front
Ever since word broke that the NHL had rejected Darin Pastor’s bid to buy the Coyotes on Monday, it’s been a quiet week on the ownership front.
We’re not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. While the City of Glendale extended its Request for Proposals deadline until May 31, that is for non-hockey parties and not something the NHL considers all that important.
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The good news for Coyotes fans is that relocation options fell by one when the NBA’s Board of Governors rejected a bid to move the Sacramento Kings to Seattle, likely closing the door on the Coyotes joining an NBA team in the Pacific Northwest.
The good news for all parties involved is that everyone agrees June, at long last, will bring an end to this 4-year-old saga. With Glendale’s fiscal year beginning on July 1, the contracts for Coyotes general manager Don Maloney, coach Dave Tippett and goalie Mike Smith set to expire on June 30 and the various market moves required for a successful season, whether the team remains or leaves, this deal appears set for its conclusion next month.
Here’s a look at some of the developments this week with the groups confirmed or believed to be in the mix to purchase the team, as well as an update on the City of Glendale’s machinations.
RENAISSANCE SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
This is the group headed by George Gosbee and Anthony LeBlanc, which has been viewed as the leading group for several weeks.
RSE’s lawyers (Shearman & Sterling) and the NHL’s lawyers (Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom) are currently in discussion, and those discussions are expected to continue over the weekend in New York. Given the sheer amount of paperwork there is to review, the legal process will apparently drag into next week.
Glendale’s decision to extend its RFP deadline has also given the league and ownership groups a little more wiggle room. While the NHL has generally not acknowledged that deadline, the goal is still to have a bid in front of the city by then for the simple reason that time is running out on a number of fronts, as spelled out above.
After its initial deal was rejected in part because it financed the sale over 15 years, Pastor’s group finished reworking its bid on Wednesday night to reflect a shorter timeline (although not within the three-to-five-year window that the NHL is believed to want).
Pastor’s group has yet to submit the bid while it waits to see what other groups submit – and whether those other bids fall within the guidelines the NHL reportedly wants.
Jamison’s group is still working on a bid and hopes to have it to the NHL by Glendale’s May 31 RFP deadline.
Hulsizer did not return messages left for him on Friday. Multiple sources have confirmed that he is still in the mix to buy the team, but his camp has been largely silent in terms of media presence.
Glendale councilmember Gary Sherwood considers Kaites’ group the least likely of the named groups to purchase the team, but Kaites has deep Glendale ties and a longstanding relationship with Mayor Jerry Weiers.
On Friday, Kaites spokeperson David Leibowitz emailed the following: “John has never stopped being interested in buying the team under the right circumstances. That remains the case today.”
It is believed that Kaites is still in contact with both the NHL and the City of Glendale, but Leibowitz would not comment on the nature or depth of that contact.
CITY OF GLENDALE
As noted above, the city extended its RFP deadline by one week to allow bidders more time.
Glendale councilmember Gary Sherwood said Friday that he is working with a few staff members to compile “realistic numbers” on the cost of managing Jobing.com Arena while also examining multiple new potential revenues streams. The hope is to have the analysis complete by Monday, hand it off to a task force of experts to analyze it and whittle it down, then present it to the other council members on either May 24 or May 27.
“We’re going to try to do it with two slides — with and without the Coyotes,” Sherwood said. “It’s very clear that it will cost the city more not to have the team than it will to keep them, by about $1.5 million annually.”
Sherwood’s decision to compile the numbers came in response to a report in The Arizona Republic that the real cost of managing Jobing.com Arena is between $5 million and $6 million.
“No realistic numbers are being used since that report (came out), which ignored or left out so much important information,” Sherwood said. “This really should have been done four to six weeks ago, but we are trying to present realistic numbers.
“From my conversations with Anthony (LeBlanc) and others, he’s looking for something in the $14 million to $15 million range. So how can we bridge that gap when we can’t go much more than the $6 million that is on the books?
“Where you start is looking at various revenue streams,” Sherwood added, citing several examples such as parking, a stadium taxing district, suite sales and naming rights, which will be up for bid soon since Jobing.com paid $25M in 2006 for 10 years of rights. “I believe we have some talking points, where we can begin with LeBlanc, that could lead to a deal.”
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