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Report: Coyotes sale close to being completed

Feb 21, 2012, 9:53 AM EDT Arena Getty Images

Is it really happening? Is it really going to be?

According to Mike Sunnucks of the Phoenix Business Journal, the NHL is close to finishing the sale of the Phoenix Coyotes to former San Jose Sharks CEO Greg Jamison. Before we get too excited, Sunnucks’ report comes from sources close to the Coyotes and like we’ve seen in the past with previous almost-sales of the Coyotes, things can dissolve quickly.

Sunnucks says that the NHL is trying to keep the sale price of the team to around $170 million and that a deal is being planned to help Jamison cover losses for the team through rebates and a fund. He also says the deal is not 100-percent complete but that the league is looking to close it soon.

We saw with Matthew Hulsizer’s attempt to purchase the team last year that his efforts to work a plan were crushed by the Goldwater Institute. They felt his idea to use parking fees to help pay off part of the sale would’ve hurt the city of Glendale financially for years to come.

If the report of rebates and a fund are true, keeping public money out of the mix would help prevent Goldwater from getting involved again. At this point in the ordeal with the Coyotes we’ll believe it when all the paperwork is signed, but after three years of being owned by the NHL, if they can get this done and keep the team in Arizona it will wind up being a fight the league will be happy to have fought.

(Update 11:20 a.m.: As you should be used to by now, Scott Burnside of ESPN says reports of an imminent sale are premature and that the situation is “status quo.” The more things change… )

  1. tmoore4075 - Feb 21, 2012 at 10:08 AM

    I’ll file this under I’ll believe it when I see it. A little skeptical after the last 3 years and the “interested parties” in the Thrashers.

    If this does happen then it’ll be time for Coyotes fans to show up or shut up. This team has been comettive the last 3 years and people haven’t shown up and all I heard from Yotes fans was it was ownership or they didn’t want to get attached to a team that might be leaving. Well prove me (and a lot of other people) wrong by showing up.

    • gbiscottagecheesefatties - Feb 21, 2012 at 4:27 PM

      I am sure it’s hard to sell season tickets there seeing as most of the fans assume the team will be leaving soon. How many season ticket holders does the average team have compared to PHX? That would be an interesting stat if anyone knows how to find that.

      I think more fans would show up if they knew PHX were to stay, but I am in no way saying they would be close to a sell-out.

  2. AlohaMrHand - Feb 21, 2012 at 10:20 AM

    And in 2 years once the new owner realizes being there is a giant money out he’ll high tail it out of Phoenix to Seattle or Quebec.I don’t get how Bettman just allowed the Thrashers to leave Atlanta a MUCH bigger market than Phoenix but fights to keep the Coyotes there.

  3. AlohaMrHand - Feb 21, 2012 at 10:21 AM

    Correction giant money PIT. ^^^^^^

  4. t16rich - Feb 21, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    Well lets hope if this happens it revives fan attendance. The last 3 years Phoenix has averaged 12,000 or less fans ranking either 29th or 30th. The threat of relocation certainly didnt help. But if this does happen, and Phoenix being in the middle of a race for division lead, I would be upset if the Phoenix faithful didnt start putting up bigger numbers than 12,000 fans. Looks like the ball may be in your court Yotes fans. Shut the critics like myself up and start showing up to your home games in bigger numbers!!!! You can talk about growing hockey all you want, but if no one shows up to show an interest, where is the growth? If this pans out, it’s your time to step it up Phoenix fans. Prove me and the haters wrong.

    • miketoasty - Feb 21, 2012 at 10:53 AM

      Looking at the attendance rankings on ESPN, it seems that Phoenix has been in the bottom four in terms of number of attendees for the last 7 years! The Columbus Blue Jackets have never been below them. I agree with you, it’s time for these fans to start showing some support, I love the Yotes and they are by far one of my favorite teams, but it’s kind of hard to attend a game in Phoenix when you live in Pittsburgh.

      • t16rich - Feb 21, 2012 at 11:06 AM

        Hahahaha. Obviously. I am not saying out of town Yotes fans better start flying in and watching their home games. I am saying the 200,000 people in Glendale and the 4 million in the Phoenix area should start showing up and attending games. The arena location isnt ideal, but with 4 million people not far from the area, one would think attendance wouldnt be an issue.

      • miketoasty - Feb 21, 2012 at 11:12 AM

        @t16rich Yea I know it just sucks having to watch them go through all this and not being able to do a whole lot.

      • t16rich - Feb 21, 2012 at 11:18 AM

        I hear what ya mean Mike. Cant directly help. Theyre in Pitt on March 5th in case ya didnt know and maybe wanted to go.

  5. geo91 - Feb 21, 2012 at 10:35 AM

    Do the smart thing; Seattle.

  6. pantherpro - Feb 21, 2012 at 11:11 AM

    Seattle Whales not Whalers? Woohoo

  7. tribesofneurot - Feb 21, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    They will probably end up in Seattle.It sucks but they can not draw the people in.
    They may also end up with the same problem in Seattle too eventually.

    • t16rich - Feb 21, 2012 at 12:38 PM

      I am a supporter of Seattle but the same thing scares me with attendance 10 years from now. I really feel like Portland is the city if they go northwest and Portland Winterhawks playoff attendance from last season proves why NHL would work. If you put 8,000 plus WHL fans in an American arena, than you should have no problem putting in 18,000 for NHL. I will take Seattle, but I think Portland is a better option. Like I mentioned last years Winterhawk attendance was awesome especially playoffs. Not to mention the Trailblazers being atop NBA attendance average yearly. That should be all the proof we need that NHL and Portland would be succesful. But it seems Seattle is more of a possibility than Portland.

      • tribesofneurot - Feb 21, 2012 at 2:24 PM

        If they do move,I think it would be great if they went to Seattle or even Portland.
        Just sucks that they would have to move.
        My brother and nephew would be happy if they went to Seattle.

  8. pavelfitzgerald - Feb 21, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    I’ve said this before (& got a lot of thumbs down) & will say it again, losing money every year since they left Winnipeg is not a successful business recipe. Phoenix fans can complain all they want to but this team needs to be moved & the league (& its players) have had enough. I can only imagine how frustrated the other owners are

  9. mrskunitzdrippinlips - Feb 21, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    sell this team to the franchises lord mario lemieux. he will make this team into an all star team just like the franchise that is already existing in the city of champions

    • t16rich - Feb 21, 2012 at 12:54 PM

      Of course it’s all Mario. Pens success has nothing to do with drafting in the top 2 for 4 years straight and acquiring Fleury, Malkin, Crosby and Staal. Dont get me wrong, Mario does a great job running the Pens, but without those 4 straight years of drafting 1st or 2nd overall, the Pens or Mario wouldnt be where they are at today as a franchise.

      • florida76 - Feb 21, 2012 at 3:02 PM

        It’s all relative, t16rich. The old Penguins ownership set up the difficulty of the early 00’s, with poor financial planning, lack of player development and an older arena. Pens simply drafted well, and developed those high draft picks, when other teams have missed badly on high draft picks over the years. There are different ways to build a champion, and the Pens have completely remade their organization under the current ownership. The way the club has responded without the best player in the world speaks volumes about the organization. As I recall, James Neal wasn’t a Pens draft choice. Max Talbot was a fifth rounder, and he killed Detroit in Game 7 in ’09.

        Under current ownership, Pens are in great shape even after Malkin and company retire.

      • t16rich - Feb 21, 2012 at 4:35 PM

        I wouldnt disagree with you. If they were unable to draft those players I still feel the ship would be heading the right way for long term success because of ownership. My point was that having the convenience of drafting that high 4 years in a row planted excitement quickly into the fanbase. It’s hard not to draft well when your picking either 1st or 2nd 4 years in a row. And the history of 1st and 2nd picks this decade is very sloid, not many misses. Anyway it made marketing, PR and everyone elses job in the franchises business alot easier. Drafting the likes of Malkin, Fleury and Crosby catapaulted them to success alot quicker. Somthing a 5 year rebuild cant do. 100% agree that when they all retire the team will be set up for long term success.

  10. atwatercrushesokoye - Feb 21, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    Good to hear, it’s way better to keep them in Phoenix losing $30 million a year than having them end up somewhere they’ll make money….

    After Bettman showed up at the press conference in Winnipeg and basically threatened the fan base, they’ve sold out every game (for the next 5 years) and are in the top 10 in profits. Why not move the team to Quebec City or Southern Ontario? They’re not going to end up in worse shape then they’re in now.

  11. ribs108 - Feb 21, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    Hey Joe (Hendrix reference), Is your first line a reference to Is It Really Happening? by Transatlantic? On another note, readers should stop wishing for a hockey return to Quebec since they have no fan or corporate base there. The only “business” in town is the government. There’s a reason why teams leave cities and the NHL are merely asking for a repeat if they locate there. It makes Winnipeg look like NYC. A larger metropolitan area is needed – such as Seattle or the GTA (Greater Toronto Area).

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Feb 21, 2012 at 5:46 PM

      Good point, we’ve all heard the stories about the rabid hockey fans in Seattle! Moving a team to Seattle is basically throwing up a prayer, no one knows if it’s a viable market but you’d be hoping it is. Oh and lets not forget that both the guy building the arena and Paul Allen have both said they have no interest in owning an NHL team. Oh and the arena they would be playing in for the next couple years can only hold 10,000 for hockey, with about half of those being obstructed.

      Meanwhile let’s look at the Quebec City case…first off your rationale that there’s no fans up there is completely off base, it’s Canada there’s plenty of hockey fans up here. They’ve got a potential billionaire owner who has his own sports channel and is looking for content for it. They’ve got a new arena in the works, with pretty much everything being apporved, they’re doing the environmental assessment now (not an easy task in Quebec) and they’ve got a 15,000 seat arena that can be upgraded for $1 million by Sept 1 to be ready for an NHL team. Am I missing something here? This is an open and shut case.

      Meanwhile for your assertions that the NHL needs a more “metropolitan” are to make the NHL work, one just needs to look at the current success in drawing fans of the Islanders, Devils, Stars, Ducks, Panthers…oh and the Coyotes, to figure out that “metropolitan” areas might not be the answer to all of the NHL problems.

  12. jasonthered - Feb 21, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    The problem with Phoenix is that it has a lazy and fair weather fan base. Speaking as a resident of this city and problems presented, solutions are easily met, they just have not been offered. Phoenicians need to be coaxed out of their living rooms for a winner and a team with buzz. It is very much a fault of this town that I will not defend, that they lack a certain loyalty. However, there is loyalty. Whenever a franchise in this city carries a winning atmosphere with charismatic players, this top 15 North American market jumps all on board. The Phoenix Coyotes are a few players and proper marketing campaigns away from being very viable. Especially, with the beloved Suns going into a rebuild mode. Question will be whether or not ownership is willing to successfully tackle the quirks of the Phoenix fan base. If poorly addressed, they probably do end up with Paul Allen in the Pac NW, or moving on to somewhere else.

  13. southyank7 - Feb 21, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    is it groundhog day
    Yotes close to being sold really
    i also hear pigs are about to fly & cars will be flying soon

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