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Seattle makes a lot of sense for the Coyotes

Jan 3, 2012, 5:44 PM EDT

Boston Bruins v Phoenix Coyotes Getty Images

As of Sunday, the NHL has been permitted to start negotiating with other markets regarding a potential move of the Phoenix Coyotes. The good news for fans in Phoenix is that the league has repeatedly stated that they’re preference is to keep the team in Phoenix Glendale. The league hasn’t started contacting other potential owners in other potential markets yet; so things could be worse.

The incomparable Elliotte Friedman wrote a detailed article today breaking down various scenarios for the league and the Coyotes future (you should check out the entire article). He breaks it down to where Seattle and Quebec City make the most sense for the league in the short-term. More importantly, he breaks it down from a financial standpoint for the other 29 owners. Sooner or later, it always comes back to money.

Instead of choosing between Seattle and Quebec City, Friedman explains that the league could be interested in both—and another Toronto area team as well. Why? Is it for better competitive balance? To even the new realigned divisions that go into effect next season? No. Because there’s a lot of money to be made this way.

He explains the Coyotes could fetch around $170 in relocation, etc. fees for the 29 owners. Here’s where it gets interesting. If the Coyotes move to Seattle, that still leaves the starving hockey market in Quebec City available for the league to pursue.

“And you’d have to think that if Quebec City gets an expansion team, the fee will be higher than the purchase price of the Coyotes, especially if the NHL can create some kind of bidding war for the right to own the team there,” Friedman explains in his article. “What does Seattle relocation + Quebec City expansion + Toronto expansion equal? A billion dollars. And that might be conservative.”

A billion dollars can make a pretty convincing argument to the owners who are in the business of making a profit. Of course, the league still insists that they want to keep the team in Arizona for the long-term. Friedman talked to some of the powers-that-be at the Pebble Beach meetings last month and heard that the chances of the Coyotes staying are about 50/50 at this point.

50/50 isn’t that bad when everything else is considered at this point, is it?

  1. capsrockva - Jan 3, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    Seattle has no hockey arena at the moment and last time I checked the taxpayers in Seattle doesn’t want to fund a new arena

  2. mtm1321 - Jan 3, 2012 at 7:15 PM

    Go to Hartford. That city is dying to have another NHL team again.

    • clavette - Jan 3, 2012 at 9:21 PM

      after the last whale game i went to mid week along with about 150 other people, i dont think that hartford can support another hockey team. connecticut is a tough state, had the patriots built there stadium in hartford i could definitly see a hockey team moving back. if hartford gets another team the same crap will happen again

  3. thomaspratt - Jan 3, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    There were reports in the Seattle media just before Christmas about a hedge fund manager from San Francisco who is trying to bring the various stakeholders together to build a privately funded arena in either Bellevue or in the area just south of Safeco Field. And the Chicago Wolves owner has long wanted to own a hockey team in the Puget Sound area.

    I’m not sure I see the NHL working in Seattle. I live 90 miles north, very close to the Canadian border, and the only hockey in this town is on my TV when I’m watching Center Ice. Seattle will inevitably get an NBA team, and it’s such a basketball town that the NHL team will fall to fourth spot on the local sports pecking order. There are WHL teams in suburbs north and south of Seattle, but neither is incredibly well attended.

    It makes sense from a league perspective to move Phoenix somewhere other than Toronto or Quebec City, and Seattle is certainly richer than Kansas City, but unless the owner is willing to finance losses while the team gets established in the market, it could be an unhappy stay.

    • mogulboy - Jan 8, 2012 at 7:12 PM

      Seattle has 7 rinks within 20 minutes of downtown and there are a few in Tacoma. There is one league that has close to 100 teams and another one that has about 20 teams. There are plenty of hockey players (& canadians) in the area. It’s a good spot to broaden NHL’s reach.

      The Arena is the key (no pun intended) which several readers have already called out.

  4. rgledz - Jan 3, 2012 at 7:40 PM

    …….but what about the $170 bucks all of the owners would get? That’s what the story says. That’s a sweet little chunk of change! ; )

  5. buffalomafia - Jan 3, 2012 at 7:59 PM

    Quebec & Portland?

    • t16rich - Jan 3, 2012 at 9:19 PM

      Portland!!!! They got great fan support with the Winterhawks and the Blazers have been a top team in attendance since the Rose Garden opened.

      • t16rich - Jan 4, 2012 at 11:41 AM

        How do thumbs down my comment there? You can’t even argue that. It’s a fact. Thumbs down this comment for being a whiner but the first comment is truth. Phoenix fan support sucks lets face it. The fans are like bears, hibernating in regular season but they will come out for playoffs. Portland would be great for the league especially since it seems Bettman wants teams in the U.S.A. over capable Canadian markets. Portland was selling out the lower bowl of the Rose Garden for the Winterhawks playoff run last year. That’s awesome for a WHL game. Look at that new Soccer team. The Portland fans are nut cases at those games. The teams Portland has they show up and support. Phoenix is a great sports city but ice hockey? I dont think so. Even the Coyote faithful has to bite the bullet and face it soon. If the Phoenix area truly wanted to help with hockeys growth they would do it through continuing to develop their youth hockey players, not by desperatly wanting to own an unstable NHL team. Please give us Seattle or Portland, not Kansas City. Quebec City?? Where are they? Habs vs Nourdiques is worth moving them back for. Cmon BettMan!!!!!

      • greynraney - Jan 4, 2012 at 3:25 PM

        First of all, calm down if people “thumb down” your comment. Secondly, I live outside of Portland and would LOVE to see the NHL here in the Rose City. However, Paul Allen has made it quite clear that he doesn’t want the NHL in Portland and with the Winterhawks already established I don’t see this happening at all.

  6. mrbill4260 - Jan 3, 2012 at 10:38 PM

    Atlanta is hungry and ready to go we just need new owners the arena is in place and the team name and logo. Lets give the Thrashers a second chance.

    • gbiscottagecheesefatties - Jan 3, 2012 at 10:56 PM

      HAHA. 2nd or 3rd

  7. blomfeld - Jan 4, 2012 at 12:30 AM

    a couple of years ago, while I was down in Tucson on a little winter”get-away” playing golf at a local muni-course there, I asked my Phoenix-born playing partners during the round … “so are you guys big Phoenix Coyote fans ?” … all three of them just looked at me and simply smiled and we then proceeded on to the next hole … the bottom line is that you can’t force a round peg into a square hole … no different than you can’t force “auto-racing” upon a city like Vancouver, as they tried to do here back in the 90’s… Seattle or Portland would serve as far better locations for this franchise, as would Saskatoon, Quebec City, Toronto, Hamilton or Halifax … Gary Bettman knows that and hopefully his “pride” will soon give way to “reason” … hockey is a terrific sport which “we” as North Americans love … however, it has to be played in the “right” places …

    ps: I’d like to offer Bettman the following “poignant” piece by Elvis, as he now weighs “that” which needs to be done …

  8. nflinla - Jan 4, 2012 at 12:47 AM

    Why doesn’t the NHL consider Kansas City?

    • comeonnowguys - Jan 4, 2012 at 9:30 AM

      Because the Missouri Mavericks can’t even outdraw teams in Fort Wayne or Wichita?

  9. yettyskills - Jan 4, 2012 at 2:42 AM

    Portland & KC are more likely than Seattle.

  10. rainyday56 - Jan 4, 2012 at 4:05 AM

    Why do people assume the Canadian dollar will remain at par? The Canadian dollar could fall back you 60 cents
    or lower virtually overnight. If it happens, then Winnipeg and the other two flatland franchises will be in jeopardy again, so forget about more franchises in Canada. Besides, Glendale gives the league $20 M per year every time they declare a loss. Until Glendale council wises up, the league will stay in Arizona and collect cheques.

    • elvispocomo - Jan 4, 2012 at 5:17 PM

      ‘Virtually overnight” eh? Even if the Cdn $ does fall somewhat, it’s the Canadian teams that make the most money in the NHL and provide that money back to the unprofitable teams in non-hockey markets through revenue sharing.

      If Buttman wasn’t so interested in trying to sell hockey in places that won’t buy it, the only choice would be a Canadian city. Even with Winnipeg finally getting hockey back, there’s still Hamilton and Quebec City as major options for relocation/expansion if a suitable arena is ready.

  11. hague507 - Jan 4, 2012 at 10:11 AM

    If they go to Quebec City is there enough french speaking coaches in the league for them AND the Canadians to have one???

  12. pavelfitzgerald - Jan 4, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    @Raindyday56

    You realize that “collecting” a $20 million cheque every time the Coyotes lose money is irrelevant when they’re losing 25 million PLUS a year. Where did you go to learn math from? Bernie Madoff school of business ??

  13. buffalomafia - Jan 4, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    Portland & quebec will get teams not Seattle?

  14. buffalomafia - Jan 4, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    If you could get real owners in Atlanta then they should have a team? Just saying?

    • comeonnowguys - Jan 4, 2012 at 5:11 PM

      Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice….

  15. buffalomafia - Jan 5, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    Hamilton will never get a team because it is to close to Toronto & Buffalo.

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